PORTLAND – This derby is likely the one where Seattle lost it all.
The match was first. The Sounders had another defensive breakdown that conceded the winning goal for Portland, the Timbers sending the Sounders home with a 2-1 loss at Providence Park.
The Cascadia Cup was second. Friday’s result pushed Portland’s point total to 10 in MLS matchups among Seattle and Vancouver.
The Sounders are second with three and cannot catch up for a fourth consecutive regional title that’s awarded by the Supporters’ Groups for all the clubs.
The last casualty – dropping three points – has the biggest impact. Portland (8-8-12) moved above the playoff line. The Sounders (10-14-3) slipped to 10th in the Western Conference standings.
Seattle (33 points) has six games remaining in its season and is five points back from fifth-place Real Salt Lake (38). If the Sounders don’t advance, it will be the first time in franchise history.
The Derby started in Seattle’s favor. The visiting team has won eight of the past 10 meetings, and Sounders defender Yeimar Gomez Andrade was the first to cut through the curse-filled chants, bodies and gentle breeze for the opening score in the eighth minute.
Sounders midfielder Nico Lodeiro sliced a short corner to wingback Alex Roldan, who lofted a high-arching cross toward goal. Yeimar used a header to convert the goal, his first of the season.
Scoring the opening goal didn’t ease any pressure for the Sounders. If the Timbers didn’t respond, the atmosphere created by 25,218 people at the stadium felt as if they would. Sounders keeper Stefan Frei cupped one direct shot and was in place as Timbers shots went long, high or wide of goal for a 10-minute stretch in the opening half.
The masses of Timbers fans were fed their goal in the 41st minute.
Yeimar appeared to step out of the way of a dribbling Eryk Williamson in the box, but referee Ismail Elfath awarded a penalty on the foul in the 40th minute. The play wasn’t flagged by VAR for review despite the pleading of multiple Sounders players.
Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla slowly shuffled toward the spot to send a right-footed shot to the bottom-left corner. Frei went the opposite direction, unable to prevent the equalizing score.
Yeimar, Lodeiro and center back Xavier Arreaga lagged behind at the break to continue arguing with Elfath about the call.
“Our emotions are what’s killing the game,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said.
The Timbers dug into the wound with the game-winning goal in the 51st minute. A foul by Sounders midfielder Albert Rusnak gave Portland a free kick. Portland midfielder Sebastian Blanco was unmarked as the trailing player in the box, easily tapping in an assist from Asprilla to the top right corner.
Remaining in character, the Sounders continued to push for the equalizer. But defender Jackson Ragen hitting the post in the 85th minute was symbolic of Seattle’s season.
Denied. A stark difference from their last trip to Providence Park where the Sounders unleashed a 6-2 thumping on their rival in 2021.
Portland swept this season’s series by a combined 5-1 total.
Seattle played a second consecutive match without midfielder Cristian Roldan, who underwent groin surgery on Tuesday. Schmetzer retained the same starting lineup and formation that resulted in a 3-3 draw against the LA Galaxy last week.
The Sounders play a midweek match against Orlando City SC in Florida.
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