With his team down a goal and a man, Clint Dempsey came off the bench in the second half and with time running out, conjured up a stunning late equalizer to snatch an unlikely draw for the Sounders.
The veteran US international rose above Amobi Okugo to nod an angled header past Jake Gleeson in the 94th minute, punishing Portland for their inability to extend their lead despite playing with a numerical advantage for more than half the game.
It was hardly the first dramatic twist of the evening. Joevin Jones got the visitors off to a dream start, following up his own rebound to carve out an early 1-0 lead for Seattle.
The game turned on a dime some 15 minutes later when Brad Evans tripped Darlington Nagbe deep in the Sounders penalty box, prompting referee Ricardo Salazar to not only award Portland a penalty kick, but also produce a straight red card for denial of a goalscoring opportunity.
Fanendo Adi rifled home the spot kick – his 50th MLS goal – to draw the Timbers level, and the hosts surged ahead shortly afterwards when Dairon Asprilla elevated to thump home a towering header on a corner kick just before halftime.
But PTFC's strange complacency allowed the Sounders to hang around, and Dempsey took advantage at the death.
- 27' – SEA – Joevin Jones Watch
- 45' – POR – Fanendo Adi Watch
- 45+4' – POR – Dairon Asprilla Watch
- 90+4' – SEA – Clint Dempsey Watch
- WHY ALWAYS HE: The pregame news that Dempsey was not in the Sounders' starting lineup prompted some chatter, given his history of scoring against Portland. But coach Brian Schmetzer's gambit paid off as the Texan burned the Rose City yet again in the most painful way imaginable. Deuce now boasts nine goals in nine career games vs. PTFC.
- SEAL THE DEAL: Dempsey played the hero. But the Timbers really have no one to blame but themselves for dropping two points, and another round of bragging rights, to their hated northern rivals. A lack of urgency combined with slack finishing constitutes a cardinal sin for a team in their position, and coach Caleb Porter – who was reportedly, and understandably, enraged postgame – is unlikely to let them forget about it any time soon.
"The human nature of some guys -- or, I would say, the collective group -- kicked in, and we got punished again." -- Caleb Porter— Richard Farley (@richardfarley) June 26, 2017
- BEAT THE HEAT: This game was rescheduled to an evening start time due to a sizzling heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, though high temperatures still played a role in the match. The Evans red card and Portland's subsequent advantage in possession seemed to sentence Seattle to a slow, painful descent into exhaustion. Yet the shorthanded visitors showed admirable fitness and resolve to keep things close enough to leave room for a late rally.
- POR: Saturday, July 1 at Sporting KC (7 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US, MLS LIVE in Canada)
- SEA: Wednesday, June 28 at San Jose – US Open Cup (10:30 pm ET)