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Sounders spoil Portland's offensive breakthrough

by: COURTESY OF JOHN LARIVIERE - Portland's Diego Chara scores the first of his two goals Saturday against Seattle.For more than a month, Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter had been saying that the Timbers would eventually open the proverbial offensive floodgates and start scoring goals.

In their fifth match of the season, the Timbers finally pried open those floodgates. The problem for Portland was that the Seattle Sounders scored just as much and the sides walked off the pitch with a 4-4 draw Saturday afternoon at Providence Park.

“The game is about both sides of the ball,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “The frustrating part is we actually defended very well the majority of the game. We attacked very well. We controlled the game.”

The draw was especially hard for the Timbers to swallow given that Portland blew a 4-2 lead in the final five minutes, when Sounders striker Clint Dempsey scored his second and third goals of the match.

“The competitor in me is dejected,” Porter said. “We got a point, that’s the positive. But you can’t be satisfied being up 4-2 and giving up two points. We had our foot on their throat at 4-2.”

The match was everything one could hope for from a derby match, with physical play and phenomenal offensive execution.

Dempsey got a hat trick with goals in the 24th, 85th and 87th minute. Dempsey’s goal in the 87th minute came on a PK and tied the match 4-4.

“He got loose a few times and punished us,” Porter said. “He showed why he’s one of the best players in our country.”

The Sounders also got a goal from former Timbers striker Kenny Cooper in the third minute.

Timbers midfielder Diego Chara scored in the ninth and 55th minutes. Portland midfielder Diego Valeri scored in the 14th minute, and striker Maximiliano Urruti scored in the 55th minute.

The Timbers, who usually control most of the possession, were out-possessed by Seattle, .506 to .494.

Portland had 19 shots (six on goal), while Seattle had 22 shots (eight on frame).

The match was very physical, with the Sounders receiving three yellow cards and the Timbers getting four yellows.

The Sounders (2-2-1, 7 points) got on the board before many of the announced sellout crowd of 20,814 had even taken their seats.

Seattle midfielder Gonzalo Pineda took a corner kick from the right side and sent the ball to the left side of the 18-yard box, where it found Jalil Anibaba. The Sounders defender played the ball back to the right, toward the goal. Cooper, from pointblank range, gave Seattle a 1-0 lead.

“It was a corner kick, and the ball got crossed all the way to the other side,” Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber said. “They play it back across to the left and Cooper is unmarked and just tapped it in.”

The Timbers (0-2-3, 3 points) answered quickly. The Sounders had a throw-in on the left side in their defensive third. Chara stole the ball, 40 yards from goal. The Timbers midfielder dribbled down the pitch. Just before he got to the 18-yard box, Chara sent a rocket at goal that Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei had no chance of stopping.

Portland then took a 2-1 lead. Defender Michael Harrington dribbled into the 18-yard box before dishing a pass to Valeri, who got the ball with his back to the goal. Using his body to shield the ball from the Seattle defender marking him, Valeri took a touch, then turned and sent a four-yard shot just under the crossbar and just inside the near post.

The Sounders responded with their own equalizer in the 24th minute. After the Timbers turned over the ball in their own defensive third, Seattle striker Obafemi Martins sent a pass to Dempsey at the top of the box. Dempsey took a touch and, from 15 yards, sent a shot inside the right post, past Weber, the backup goalkeeper who started because Donovan Ricketts was serving the second of his two-match suspension for a red card.

“That was a self-inflicted goal,” Porter said.

In the 55th minute, Chara struck again. He got a pass from Kalif Alhassan, dribbled toward the box and was inexplicably unmarked by the Sounders. From 20 yards, Chara fired and again left Frei with no chance of stopping the ball.

“For him to smack two goals from the top of the 18, that’s a real positive,” Porter said.

Two minutes later, Portland took a commanding 4-2 lead. Urruti sent a bending ball inside the right post.

The Timbers nearly scored again in the 65th minute. Defender Norberto Paparatto sent a header at the goal after a corner kick. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced just outside the goal line. The Timbers protested the shot not being called a goal, but a replay showed that referee Hilario Grajeda appeared to get the call correct.

The match seemingly was over, but Dempsey wasn't done.

He scored with about five minutes left in regulation.

“There’s no excuse for him to be free on that goal,” Porter said.

Two minutes later, Dempsey completed his hat trick. Timbers substitute Ben Zamanski was called for a foul in the box, and the Sounders were awarded a penalty kick.

Dempsey lined up for the PK. He sent the ball to the right post while Weber dove to the left. The ball went into the back of the net, and the Sounders had salvaged a draw.

The Timbers will continue looking for their first win of 2014 in next Saturday’s home match against Chivas USA.

“There’s a lot of things to build on,” Porter said. “A lot of positives.”by: COURTESY OF JOHN LARIVIERE - Maximiliano Urruti of the Timbers scores versus the Sounders.

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