Cristian Roldan scored early and the Sounders slugged their way to victory over the arch-rival Portland Timbers on Saturday at CenturyLink Field

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By the time this Saturday afternoon slugfest was over, Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan had seen his nose bloodied, forearm bruised and his jaw kicked by an opposing player.

And none of that was even intentional.

On a day Roldan’s fourth minute goal proved decisive in a 1-0 win over the hated Portland Timbers, the feisty Roldan gladly took a few blows – and delivered his share as well – so his team could come out ahead. The Sounders needed all that and more on a hot afternoon in which every inch of pitch had to be earned against an intense derby rival.

“It wasn’t malicious, or dirty or anything, but It was very intentional,’’ Roldan said of some of the physical blows delivered. “We tried to get the ball. I think the fight was there from the team.’’

Both teams showed fight in a contest far more physical than dynamic. The crowd of 47,362 at CenturyLink Field showed up expecting intensity between the two most recent MLS Cup champions and certainly got it in a game featuring 26 fouls.

Some added emotion had been thrown in when the Emerald City Supporters unfurled a giant tifo of Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer alongside the 2016 MLS Cup proclaiming “The Rightful King Reclaims The Throne’’ as players entered the pitch pregame. Schmetzer was moved nearly to tears postgame in describing how he felt about the gesture, while his players wasted little time from the opening kickoff trying to show they truly were the most recent champions of the day’s pairing.

Roldan was in the right place, right time in the box when Chad Marshall put a header on a fourth-minute cornerkick. The deflected ball came straight for Roldan, who re-directed it with a second header past Portland keeper Jake Gleeson for the only goal his team needed.

The Timbers had chances in close in the 19th minute, but Marshall and Gustav Svensson blocked successive shots on one sequence. The Sounders finished with seven blocked shots on the day, keeping things less hectic than usual for keeper Stefan Frei.

But Frei did come up big when he had to in the early going, diving to his right to knock away a blistering drive from about 25 yards out by Argentine designated player Sebastian Blanco.

The game then degenerated into chippy affair, ignited when Clint Dempsey elbowed Timbers midfielder David Guzman in the face. Guzman would eventually leave the game at halftime and the remainder of the opening half featured plenty of shoving – with Roldan and midfield partner Osvaldo Alonso in the midst of it – after every stoppage of play.

“Portland is our rival,’’ Alonso said. “You want to beat them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s here or there. You have to play hard to get the three points.’’

Roldan had gotten his nose bloodied trying to play a loose ball with his head. Then, defender Marshall accidentally stepped on his forearm, leaving it bruised. In the game’s final minutes, Dairon Aspirilla kicked Roldan in his jaw while trying to play the ball and sent the former Huskies star to the turf for several moments.

But Roldan also gave as good as he got, getting up in the face of Timbers sniper Blanco and others on multiple skirmishes. Prior to his goal, Roldan had wrestled for position with bigger Timbers defender Zarek Valentin.

“You can’t get carried away and get a yellow card or red card,’’ Roldan said. “But that’s what rivalry games are about. I try to show my emotions and get the fans behind the game.’’

Sounders coach Schmetzer appreciated the physical price his players appeared ready to pay without crossing the line. For all the fouls committed, there were only three yellow cards issued.

“They really had to put the effort in to persevere,’’ Schmetzer said.

The Timbers out-possessed the Sounders 52 percent to 48 percent and out-dueled them on 55 percent of loose balls. And yet, the Timbers rarely threatened at all in the second half, while the Sounders nearly doubled their advantage several times.

Marshall just missed a header and then a chip-in attempt from deep in the box minutes apart. Jordan Morris also broke free twice and nearly scored, getting stopped by keeper Gleeson and then grabbed in the face from behind by defender Vytas Andriuskevicius on another attempt.

“It wasn’t the fact it was a physical game because there were 26 fouls,’’ Schmetzer said. “It was a physical game in the sense there were two teams where in years past there has been some bad blood. I think everybody on the field today did keep their composure…and that group in there really put it in.’’

Roldan admitted the last two 1-0 wins at home haven’t been the prettiest. But ultimately, he added, “we found ways to win.’’

And that eased the pain big time as he and his teammates iced off a hard day’s work.