Seattle Sounders starting XI: Gspurning; Gonzalez, Yedlin, Scott, Hurtado; Evans, Alonso, Joseph (Rosales 56′), Neagle (Traore 90′); Dempsey, Johnson (Carrasco 90′)
Subs: Hanhemann, Ianni, Burch, Traore, Zavaleta, Carrasco, Rosales
Portland Timbers starting XI: Ricketts; Harrington, Powell (Zizzo 81′), Jean-Baptiste, Kah; Nagbe, Valeri, Alhassan, Jewsbury (Zemanski 86′), Wallace; Johnson (Valencia 61′)
Subs: Kocic, Evans, McKenzie, Miller, Zizzo, Zemanski, Valencia
This latest installment of the Cascadia cup was a little bigger than the previous ones as new Seattle Sounder designated player Clint Dempsey made his home debut after making two appearances on the road in Toronto and in Dallas. But this match up had a bigger picture in line as the Portland Timbers were ahead of their rivals in the Western Conference standings for the first time ever this late into the season.
The match kicked off in front of over 67,000 fans, which was one of the highest attendances in the world this weekend, and the second largest attendance in Major League Soccer history. It started with a blistering pace as both clubs were going back and forth in what was a pretty open field, surprisingly, as the Timbers are usually pretty sound defensively. Kah was throwing his weight around all night and it started early in the 7th minute as he caught American international Clint Dempsey. Valeri was probably the best player in the first half as he was constantly threading passes to Nagbe, Johnson, and the lot, but the Portland Timbers could not produce the final movement that they so desperately needed.
Both goalkeepers came up huge multiple times throughout the match. Sharlie Joseph had two free headers in the opening twenty minutes but he did not produce the angle required and Ricketts saved both of them easily. The Argentine midfielder, Diego Valeri, released Will Johnson and was clean through, but Gspurning came off of his line quickly to collect the ball off of the feet of Ryan Johnson. The Austrian goalkeeper had little to do in the second half as the Seattle Sounders controlled the tempo of the match and were really in control for the final hour, but especially after the hour mark.
It was a very physical encounter as both teams were really going after one another, and the ref was letting them, despite some dangerous tackles. One of the key players in this was Kah who had plenty of rough challenges and one very dangerous tackle on Eddie Johnson late in the match in which he should have been shown a red card for persistent fouling, but instead was only shown a yellow. The league though should definitely look into some of the challenges Kah had throughout the match and really discipline him like he should have been during the match by the referee, as Alonso should be for his multiple fouls on Nagbe.
Seattle started the second half very narrow and could not break down the defense of Portland, but when Rosales came on around the 60 minute mark, he created a more offensive spark and really changed the whole outcome of the game. He came on for Joseph, who did not have the best of match in a Seattle jersey but Joseph was very sound defensively in the middle of the field for the first hour or so. The only goal of the match came off of a set piece where Rosales whipped in a cross from the left hand side with pace and Eddie Johnson got his head onto the end of the ball and directed it into the back of the net.
With this win, the Seattle Sounders are now in the final playoff spot in a highly contested Western Conference and this is their 10th straight win at home in which there is more than 40,000 people in attendance in the last 10 matches.