Cristian Roldan received a pass from Nohou streaked down the right flank, weaved through several Portland players and laid a short pass into the Timbers box that an onrushing Raul Ruidiaz was able to blast into the back of the Timbers goal from short range for the visitors 1-0 lead after just ten minutes of play.
The Sounders lead was short lived as Portland evened the game with a classic counter-attack goal courtesy of an exquisite Diego Valeri pass that split Seattle defenders Chad Marshall and Kim Kee-hee and created space for the streaking Jeremy Ebobisse who calm lifted the ball past an onrushing Stefan Frei for the equalizer at the 17th-minute mark.
The Timbers took control of the game eleven minutes later when Valeri initiated another break when he dribbled past several Sounder defenders and was goal dangerous until Chad Marshall’s intervention caused Valeri to lose the ball that unfortunately for the Sounders bounced right to the wide open Blanco who cut the ball onto his left foot and one-timed the ball into the back of the Sounders goal for the 2-1 lead in the 29th minute.
The 2-1 scoreline was the halftime score and despite close calls by both sides in the second half the scoreline never changed and the two sides will resume game -two on Thursday night at Centurylink Field.
- Seattle would advance to the Western Conference Championship with a shutout win (due to the away-goals tiebreaker) or a two-goal margin of victory. A draw or loss would see Portland through, while a 2-1 Seattle win on Thursday would force extra time (and penalty kicks if necessary).
- Raúl Ruidíaz scored his first MLS postseason goal with the opening strike, giving him a team-high 11 on the season across all competitions in just 15 appearances since joining the club during the summer transfer window. The Peruvian becomes the 19thplayer to score a goal for Sounders FC all-time in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Cristian Roldan’s assist on Ruidíaz’s goal marked his first career postseason assist. The University of Washington product has 15 career appearances in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Schmetzer was forced to use two subs in the first half due to injury. Waylon Francis came on for Cristian Roldan in the 31stminute due to a groin injury, while Román Torres replaced Chad Marshall in the 40th minute due to a right knee injury.
- Schmetzer’s record in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs is now 7-3-2 since taking over for Sounders FC partway through the 2016 campaign.
- This marks Sounders FC’s 10th appearance in the Western Conference Semifinals, with the club previously advancing four times and being eliminated five times. Seattle’s overall record in the Conference Semifinals is now 5-8-5.
- This playoff matchup marks the second time the rivals have met in MLS postseason play, as Seattle and Portland faced off in 2013, a 5-3 aggregate win for the Timbers. This is the fifth time Seattle and Portland have met in postseason play across all eras (1975, 2004, 2005, 2013), with the two sides each advancing twice previously. Dating back to 1975, Seattle and Portland have met 103 times, with Sounders FC leading the all-time series, 51-38-14.
- Sunday was the fourth matchup between Seattle and Portland during the 2018 campaign across all competitions, with the Timbers currently leading this season’s series 3-1-0.
- Chad Marshall made his 30th career postseason appearance on Sunday, second among active players and behind only Kyle Beckerman. Osvaldo Alonso is tied for sixth on that list with 24 postseason appearances, while Will Bruin is tied for 12th with 19. Stefan Frei’s 18 career postseason games played ranks third among active goalkeepers.