Rodney Wallace scored in the 90th minute to give Portland a 1-1 tie in Seattle and keep the Sounders winless in MLS play.
An amazing week was nearly flawless — until the last minute.
The past several days for Sounders FC included the acquisition of a star forward and the history-making elimination of Tigres UANL in the CONCACAF Champions League. But on Saturday, Seattle allowed a late equalizer to rival Portland and had to settle for a 1-1 tie at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders, who debuted new designated player Obafemi Martins in the second half, are still without an MLS win this season at 0-1-1 and haven’t recorded a shutout in four games overall, including CCL.
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Portland (0-1-2) deflated the crowd of 40,150 when second-half substitute Rodney Wallace headed in a cross from defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste in stoppage time, three minutes before the final whistle.
“It hurts,” said Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani. “It’d have been a much better feeling waking up with three points. When you fight that hard and run that much … you want to close it out.”
Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning gave some credit, though, to the new-look Timbers under first-year coach Caleb Porter. “To be honest … Portland is a way better team than last year,” he said.
The Sounders took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when Zakuani intercepted a Timbers pass and raced down the left flank. Upon reaching the penalty box, he curled a beautiful pass in front of the net to forward Eddie Johnson for the tap-in goal.
“I faked like I was going in and Steve put it to the back post and I was wide open,” Johnson said. “It was one of those goals where we have the relationship and understand how each other plays.”
Johnson, who scored the series winner in Tuesday’s CCL action, has five goals and an assist in seven games against Cascadia Cup rivals Portland and Vancouver. He has three goals in four games against the Timbers.
The early goal appeared to be a good omen for the Sounders, who own the league’s longest active unbeaten streak when scoring first at 25-0-7, a run that dates to the end of the 2010 season.
It wasn’t exactly.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said the Sounders let the visitors back into the game.
“I think our play was a little bit too slow; our movement to the ball was too slow,” he said. “It seemed like they were pressing and were more ambitious in terms of winning 50-50 balls than we were, and that certainly turned the tide of the game.”
Portland, which held a 13-7 shot advantage, earned many of its chances through midfielder Diego Valeri. The team’s new designated player had a pair of shots in the 34th and 41st minutes — the first on a free kick, the second from open play — but each missed high.
Valeri nearly tied the score again in the second half, but a 49th-minute free kick from 25 yards clanged off the corner of the goal frame. The equalizer would come later.
“As a whole, we could have walked away tonight winning 1-0,” Schmid said, “even though it wasn’t a good performance.”
Seattle holds a 41-28-11 edge in a rivalry that dates to 1975 in the North American Soccer League. The Sounders are 4-1-6 in Cascadia Cup games since Portland and Vancouver joined MLS in 2011.
“We’ve only got one point so far, but … nobody here is panicking,” Zakuani said. “We just have to figure out what’s going wrong and how to get ourselves really going.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @joshuamayers
|Portland||0 1 — 1|
|Seattle||1 0 — 1|
First half — 1, Seattle, Johnson 1 (Zakuani), 13th minute. Second half — 2, Portland, Wallace 1 (Jean-Baptiste), 90th+. Goalies — Portland, Donovan Ricketts; Seattle, Michael Gspurning. Shots — Portland 13, Seattle 7. Shots on goal — Portland 2, Seattle 3. Saves — Portland 2, Seattle 1. Fouls — Portland 18, Seattle 19. Corner kicks — Portland 8, Seattle 4. Offsides — Portland 3, Seattle 3. Yellow cards — Jean-Baptiste, Portland, 16th; Alonso, Seattle, 43rd; Johnson, Portland, 50th; Hurtado, Seattle, 73rd. Referee — Kevin Stott. Assistant referees — Frank Anderson. Mike Rottersman. 4th official — Drew Fischer. A — 40,150 (32,400).
Portland — Donovan Ricketts, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington, Mikael Silvestre, Will Johnson, Jack Jewsbury (Frederic Piquionne, 70th), Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, Ben Zemanski, Darlington Nagbe (Rodney Wallace, 80th), Ryan Johnson (Jose Valencia, 90th+).
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Marc Burch, Djimi Traore, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Andy Rose, Mario Martinez (Obafemi Martins, 70th), Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey, 81st), Osvaldo Alonso, Eddie Johnson, Sammy Ochoa (Mauro Rosales, 61st).