Sunday’s Cascadia rivalry match between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers lived up to its billing. Two second-half goals from Raul Ruidiaz and Fredy Montero saw the Sounders pull off a 2-1 win over the Timbers in a game that was full of drama, theatrics, and some brilliant soccer by both sides.
FOCUSED FROM THE START
Both teams were in the mood for putting their foot on the other team’s neck. That’s what rivalry games are all about divide and conquer. As a result, both teams charged out of the gates The Sounders won the early battles by using the right side to exploit the Timber’s delayed press. The Sounder’s ability to move the ball from side to side tipped the scales in their favor. The
TIMBERS CHANGE DEFENSIVE TACTICS
The Timbers snuck back in the game with a slight adjustment to their press. They moved the press deeper into the Sounders half clogging the midfield and stymied the Sounders from moving the ball from side to side.
The result was a dominant last twenty minutes of the first half. For all their dominance the Timbers were unable to cash. The Sounders stayed disciplined on defense with excellent positioning and tight marking the result was a goal-less game at halftime.
FIESTY SECOND HALF
The two sides started out the second half as they did the first front foot on the pedal. The Timbers attacking the Sounders middle while the Rave Green attacked the Timbers flanks.As the saying fortune favors the brave. In the 55th minute, Shane Oneill fouled Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse.
Diego Valerie took the penalty kick, but it was saved by Stefan Frei A VAR decision determined Frei left his goal line too early. Valeri was awarded a second penalty kick which he took and hit the post. The ball ricochet back to Valerie who slotted it home. The goal was disallowed because a PK taker cannot be the first to touch the ball if it hits the post.
“I think mentally you switch it around right away and you think: ‘Well, what’s the kicker going through?'” Frei said of the sequence on his postgame video call after the match. “He just missed one, he’s got to take another one, so the pressure’s really on him. Last PK he took he went to the right, the one before that he went to the left. I kind of wanted to sell him going to the right on the first one and then ended up going left and was able to make the save. It gets called back, I do the exact same kind of pre-play, sell that I’m going to the right, this time I do go to the right.
“Lucky I don’t touch the second one, really, because otherwise it’s a fair ball. So, it worked out, but it’s one where you just need to forget about it, move onto the next one, hope to make it as difficult as possible for him and we were able to get out of that one.”
SOUNDERS ENERGIZED BY PK MISHAPS
Feeling blessed and highly favored the Sounders pushed forward and earned their own penalty kick in the 61st minute when Raul Ruidiaz was fouled by the Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. Ruidiaz was spot on when he rifled the ball to the right side of the Timbers goal for the 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute.
The Sounders continued their push forward and were rewarded for their bravery when Fredy Montero was fouled by the Timbers Dairon Asprilla in the 78th minute. A Joao Paulo cross from the point of the foul found a streaking Montero who headed the ball home for the game winning goal.
The Timbers scored their lone goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Bill Tuiloma curled a set-piece shot over the Sounders wall 25 yards from the goal after a foul was called on Sounder’s midfielder Jordy Delem. The game ended two minutes later as the Sounders continued their unbeaten streak to start the season.