Sundays 1-0 darby win over the Portland Timbers (10-7-7, 37 points). was a far cry from the tintalating soccer the Seattle Sounders ((11-9-5, 38 points) played in it’s 5-0 demolition of the LA Galaxy last week. Sundays win was a gritty, determined effort that favored the brave and fortunate Sounders.
The Sounders may have been outplayed but they were not out hustled in the physical match between the bitter rivals. The Timbers came into the game having lost three games in a row while the Sounders were strutting their six game win streak .
While both teams were looking to impose thier will on the other it was the homeside that started the game on the front foot. Portland’s counter attacking was the difference in the first half. The Timbers ability to advance the ball and find players who had pushed up field resulted in 14 to 2 shot halftime advantage for the homeside.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer made his usual halftime adjustment and as has been the case in the last seven games, the changes were spot on.
Schmetzer inserted Will Bruin into the game for Kelvin Leerdam and switched to a 5-3-2 formation brought five defenders in front of goal keepr Stefan Frei while creating more room in the midfield for Harry Shipp, Nicolas Lodeiro and Cristian Roldan which then allowed for forwards Raul Ruidiaz and Bruin space and time with the ball.
The tactical change resulted in the Sounders gaining more confidence due to the amount of time they had the ball. Rather than bunker down on defense the Sounders moved the ball down field and the result of thier bravey was a fortunate break in the 76th minute.
Center back Kin Kee-hee rambled down the Seattle right side of the field and blasted a right footed cross that richoted off Timbers defender Julio Cascante for an own goal and the only goal that would be scored in the match. While it was not a pretty for Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer the win is all that mattered once the final whistle blew to end the game.
- Sounders FC is now 11-9-5 on the season, and currently sits above the red line at fifth in the Western Conference with 38 points. Seattle is level with LA Galaxy on points (38), but holds the total-wins tiebreaker.
- Sounders FC extends its club record with seven consecutive wins, matching the single-season league record in the post-shootout era. The only other club to win seven in a row is Sporting Kansas City, who did it to start the 2012 campaign.
- The result extends Seattle’s unbeaten streak to 10 games (8-0-2), dating back to July 4 at Colorado. The run is the longest spell without a loss this season, and sits alone as the club’s second-longest unbeaten streak in club history. The longest unbeaten streak in club history is 13 games (6-0-7) from June 21-September 23 of last season.
- The win vaults the Rave Green into the lead for the 2018 Cascadia Cup with six points from three matches (2-1-0), three points ahead of Portland and Vancouver. Sounders FC has one Cascadia match remaining in 2018 – a September 15 clash at Whitecaps FC – while both Portland and Vancouver have two fixtures remaining for the regional trophy.
- Sounders FC is now 10-7-6 all-time against the Timbers in MLS regular season play, with Sunday’s win marking the first for Seattle in Portland since August 24, 2014.
- Sunday marked the 102nd all-time meeting between the two sides dating back to 1975, with Seattle holding a 51-37-14 advantage.
- On the season, Sounders FC is now 5-5-3 on the road, earning 18 of its 38 points away from CenturyLink Field. The club has four regular-season road matches remaining in 2018.
- Stefan Frei made three saves and recorded his sixth shutout of the season on Saturday. His goals against average of 0.96 leads MLS and is currently a career high for seasons in which Frei makes at least 20 appearances.
- Seattle has allowed one goal or fewer in each of the club’s 10 matches during the current unbeaten run, and its 26 goals allowed is the second-fewest in MLS this season.