Cristian Roldan's fourth-minute header via a corner-kick flick from Chad Marshall was all the the Seattle Sounders needed to seal a 1-0 Cascadia Cup victory against the Portland Timbers before 47,362 fans at CenturyLink Field.
It was an unusually tight encounter in what historically has been one of MLS's highest scoring rivalries, in addition to arguably its most emotional. Goalkeepers Stefan Frei and Jake Gleeson needed to make only six combined stops, and Timbers fans pointed to two contentious handball no-calls as potential turning points in the national-TV encounter.
Frei's four saves helped him complete a 50th career MLS shutout, while the Sounders won two straight for the first time this season. The Timbers are now winless in their last five games.
- 4' - SEA - Cristian Roldan WATCH
- HELPING HANDS: After failing to convert a first-half advantage in shots and possession into an equalizer, the Timbers were aggrieved at two potential penalty handballs that went uncalled by referee Mark Geiger. First, Darlington Nagbe's 55th-minute shot struck Marshall's arm. Then Osvaldo Alsonso's arm appeared to intervene as Fanendo Adi pushed his way into the box.
- WHO THEY ARE?: The Sounders’ second consecutive victory provided reason to believe this won’t be a repeat of the first half of 2016. The offense is still a work in progress, though. Seattle has found the net just three times in its last five matches after scoring 14 goals in its first 8.
- KNOW THY ENEMY: A week shy of his 22nd birthday, Roldan is developing a reputation as a bit of a Timbers killer. Two of his five MLS goals have now come against Seattle’s most-hated rival. He scored and also assisted the second goal in Clint Dempsey’s brace in the Sounders’ 3-1 home victory on Aug. 21 last season.
They said it
Caleb Porter: "It's undeniable we were the better team on the day. You look at every category, every metric, we were the better team."— Ari Liljenwall (@AriLiljenwall) May 27, 2017