The Seattle Sounders once again downed Cascadian rivals, the Portland Timbers, though the needed an extra 30 minutes to put them away. The Sounders advanced to the US Open Cup Semifinals for the seventh time in eight years with their 3-1 extra-time win.
Portland’s Darlington Nagbe notched a goal at the death of full time, neutralizing a Sounders lead forged by Osvaldo Alonso’s acrobatic goal 21 minutes earlier. Diego Chara then put the Timbers on the disadvantage in extra time by earning a straight red card, and Seattle made them pay thanks to goals by Kenny Cooper and Marco Pappa. Seattle has run its Open Cup winning streak over its archrivals to four straight (3-1-1, 1-0 in PKs), with its only loss coming in 2005.
Through coincidence, this is the first of two matches between these sides in Seattle within five days. Playing in front of more than 4,200 fans in Tukwila’s Starfire Soccer Complex, the sides will return to CenturyLink Field for Sunday’s MLS competition. Boosting the Sounders was the return of DeAndre Yedlin from his duty with the US Men’s National Team, on the defender’s 21st birthday.
While Yedlin was in excellent form, the main story of this game, as it is any time Portland and Seattle tangle on the pitch, was the chippiness from both sides. Timbers midfielder (and 2014 USOC scoring co-leader) Gaston Fernandez earned his way into the ref’s book for a rough tackle 16 minutes in, to be followed only eight minutes later by longtime thorn in Portland’s side Zach Scott. While Seattle held possession in the early moments of the game, it was unable to generate any serious chances before Portland settled in and were able to force Sounders’ keeper Stefan Frei into a couple of excellent saves.
The chippiness continued strong in the second half, as Jack Jewsbury faced off with multiple Sounders as he flirted with getting carded. Seattle enjoyed retaking the run of action, and looked for the payoff. It would come in the 69th minute as Brad Evans set up Lamar Neagle to cross towards the goal. Osvaldo Alonso made an acrobatic move to heel a redirect past Timbers’ keeper Donovan Ricketts into the net.
Running out of time, Portland stepped up their possession, but while it couldn’t crack the host’s defense, it did apparently beat their lights. Half of the lights in Starfire went out with about ten minutes to go in regular time, leaving the rest of the game to be played in dim conditions.
The darkness didn’t faze former Sounder Steve Zakuani, as he took the ball in the last minute of stoppage time and slotted through the crowd to Darlington Nagbe, who shot true past Frei and sent the game into extra time.
With about nine minutes gone in the extra session, the game took a turn for the worse for the Timbers.
Diego Chara was beaten badly off the ball by Marco Pappa, and lashed out with a studs-up scissor kick to Pappa. Referee Chris Penso did not hesitate to show Chara a red card, putting the Timbers a man down. Penso did not hesitate to show Portland coach Cameron Knowles red either for arguing the call in between extra-time periods. Knowles was also shown red in 2007’s Open Cup matchup with the Sounders.
The Sounders pressed hard in the second extra period, taking the lead in the 110th minute.
Gonzalo Pinedo crossed a ball in that sub Kenny Cooper was able to head right behind Ricketts and in. The goal was Cooper’s fourth of the 2014 Open Cup, tying him with Fernandez and Blake Smith of the Indy Eleven.
The Timbers, needing a goal to keep their Cup hopes alive, sent players forward in a scramble for the equalizer. What they got instead, just six minutes later, was Pappa hitting a low rocket from outside of the box to clinch the game.
Seattle will once again take to Starfire in the quest for their fourth Open Cup, hosting the Chicago Fire at 7:30 on August 13. This game will also be a rematch, this time of the 2011 Final that the Sounders won 2-0, deny Chicago their fifth title while giving Seattle their third.
HIGHLIGHTS: PORTLAND TIMBERS AT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
MATCH REPLAY: PORTLAND TIMBERS AT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
SEA: Alonso (Neagle), 69
POR: Nagbe (Zakuani), 90+3
SEA: Cooper (Pineda), 110
SEA: Pappa (unassisted), 115
POR: Fernández (Caution), 16
SEA: Scott (Caution), 23
SEA: Pineda (Caution), 67
SEA: Alonso (Caution), 94
POR: Chara (Ejection), 99
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Harrington, D O’Rourke, D McKenzie, D Villafaña (Zakuani, 77), M Chara, M Fernández, M Jewsbury © (Johnson, 81), F Valeri, F Adi, F Wallace (Nagbe, 60)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Weber, D Peay, M Alhassan, M Nanchoff
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Fernández, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Fernández, 6); FOULS: 17 (Adi, 6); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 6
SEA: GK Frei, D Yedlin (Azira, 90), D Marshall, D Scott, D Anibaba, M Evans ©, M Alonso, M Pineda, M Neagle, F Barrett (Pappa, 64), F Weaver (Cooper, 79)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Ford, M Kovar, F Bowen, F Okoli
TOTAL SHOTS: 22 (Neagle, 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Alonso, 3); FOULS: 14 (Marshall, Neagle, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 8
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Paul Scott, Chris Strickland
4th Official: Allan Chapman
Time of Game: 2:33
Weather: Sunny, 77 degrees