For most of their 100th meeting, the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders poked and probed in a cagey affair that looked all too likely to end scoreless on an unseasonably hot afternoon at Providence Park.
Sebastian Blanco had other ideas, however.
Just four minutes before full time, Portland's Argentinean No. 10 seized on a clear chance carved out by a throughball from substitute Samuel Armenteros, lifting a cool finish over the advancing Stefan Frei to earn the Timbers a 1-0 win over their bitter rivals to the north.
The goal lit up an otherwise workmanlike occasion that could easily have ended with 10 men on each side, as Jordy Delem and Liam Ridgewell were fortunate to receive only yellow cards for ugly challenges in the first half. Seattle's defensive-minded 5-4-1 formation stymied the home side for long periods, only for the Sounders' efforts to be undone by Blanco's late heroics.
- 86' – POR – Sebastian Blanco | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: In the proud annals of this rivalry, Sunday's clash wasn't one to write home about. The three points will be sweet for Portland just the same, of course, as will the bragging rights for their fans.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: No surprise here; Blanco's strike was the pivotal moment for obvious reasons.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Diego Valeri was his usual excellent self and Diego Chara put in yeoman's work as always, but this honor must go to Sebastian Blanco, who added to the drama by donning a "Chucky" mask in his goal celebration.