Seattle strikes early, often in 4-2 MLS win at Portland

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Clint Dempsey (right) of the Seattle Sounders gets congratulations from teammate Obafemi Martins after scoring the second goal in their team's 4-2 victory Sunday on the road against the Portland Timbers.The Portland Timbers inched their way closer to being out of the MLS playoffs on Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Sounders.

And Portland completely lost the ability to claim a consolation prize.

After a 4-2 loss to the Sounders at Providence Park, the Cascadia Cup — a fan created competition — already is out of reach for the Timbers. Portland is 0-3 against

Seattle and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Seattle (2-1-2, 8 points) could still take the Cascadia Cup from the Whitecaps (2-0-1, 7 points).

The Timbers and the Whitecaps will play each other next Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. match at BC Place that will mean far more for the Whitecaps in terms of Cascadia Cup.

The final Cascadia Cup match, which could determine who wins the Cup, is between the Sounders and the Whitecaps on Oct. 10.

But the Timbers (7-8-10, 31 points) can get themselves back in MLS playoff position with a victory at Vancouver.

Portland is sixth in the MLS Western Conference with just nine matches remaining in the regular season.

The Whitecaps are 7-5-12 (33 points), with 10 games to go.

Portland took 21 shots and put six shots on goal in Sunday's game, while Seattle took 16 shots and put six on frame. But the only thing that mattered was the score.

“Seattle deserved to win,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “But I know it was a lot closer game than the score indicated. It would be easy for me spin that, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is the score. We didn’t do well enough to get the result.”

The announced crowd of 20,814 showed up early. The atmosphere was hostile. It was exactly what you would expect from a derby match. But there seemed to be no tenacity, nor enthusiasm from the Timbers.

Portland allowed Seattle (14-7-3, 45 points) to have its way.

The Sounders' first goal came in the 14th minute. Striker Clint Dempsey sent a pass to fellow striker Obafemi Martins, who put the shot away.

Martins then sent Dempsey a pass in the 35th minute, allowing Dempsey to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.

In the 70th minute, Dempsey earned his second assist when he delivered a pass to Chad Barrett, and the former Southridge High player-turned-substitute Seattle midfielder beat Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

The Timbers made the score 3-1 on a goal by Fanendo Adi in the 70th minute.

But the Sounders extended their lead to 4-1 in the 76th minute, as Dempsey passed to Martins, who scored his second goal of the match.

The Timbers were able to make the score more respectable in stoppage time, when Adi scored his second goal of the match.

Despite the Timbers controlling possession (.572) in the first half and taking 13 shots (two on goal, the Sounders were dominant as far as scoring opportunities went.

“It was hard to believe that at halftime we were down 2-0 the way we played,” Porter said.

The Timbers closed the gap thanks in part to Rodney Wallace. He dribbled down the left side before sending a cross to Adi. The Timbers' sub striker reached out with his foot for the ball at the top of the 6-yard box and sent a brilliant shot down the middle that Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei had no chance of contesting.

Moments later, however, Martins delivered the death blow. He received a pass after making a run down the middle. Martinis dodged two Timbers defenders and knocked in an off-balance shot.

Porter quickly turned his thoughts to Vancouver.

“It’s a massive game,” he said. “It’s looking like it’s going to come down to us, Vancouver, Colorado … maybe San Jose creeps in for that fifth spot. Right now four teams – Salt Lake, L.A., Seattle and Dallas – that pack is sort of running away. You never know, one of those four may stumble, but we need points. Right now, Vancouver is two points ahead of us, so it’s a chance to get above them with a result.”

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