SEATTLE – Cristian Roldan scored his sixth goal of the season on a wild scramble to give Seattle an early advantage, and Diego Valeri scored on a penalty kick just before halftime to help the Portland Timbers escape with a 1-1 draw with the rival Sounders on Sunday night.
The 99th meeting between the Sounders and Timbers featured the top two teams in the MLS Western Conference standings with two months left in the regular season. Seattle had the better of the chances and extended its unbeaten streak to 11, but for the second time in the past week was forced to accept a 1-1 draw. The Sounders tied Vancouver 1-1 on Wednesday despite playing the majority of the second half with a one-man advantage.
Roldan scored in the 18th minute to ignite the crowd of 51,796, but Darren Mattocks drew a penalty during first-half stoppage time, and Valeri beat goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Valeri has 16 goals this season, scoring in six straight games.
Seattle has a one-point lead over Portland in the West. It was the final regular-season meeting between the Cascadia rivals.
Seattle had the better of the chances in the second half and only because of Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella the score stayed even. Jordan Morris was stuffed on a pair of breakaway attempts inside the first 15 minutes of the second half as Attinella kept the Timbers in the game. A left-footed shot from Morris in the 47th minute didn’t have enough power to get past Attinella and a right-footed attempt by Morris nine minutes later was smothered. Both represented the clearest scoring chances for Seattle since Roldan’s goal.
It was a banner day for Roldan who was named to the U.S. squad for upcoming World Cup qualifying earlier on Sunday, just the second national team selection for the 22-year-old. His goal was the result of some fortunate deflections and eventually the ball sneaked past Attinella.
But Portland controlled the latter stages of the first half and Mattocks earned the penalty when he tumbled over Frei while also appearing to be shoved by defender Kelvin Leerdam.