For an athlete in any sport, nothing feels better than beating your rival. Although the Timbers and Sounders have only met three times as members of the MLS, their bitter feud goes back 35 years, including almost 80 matches, most of which were played in the North American Soccer League. For the Timbers & Sounders, their next meeting was more than just another installment in the rivalry. Sounders have not had a win in 6 MLS matches dating back to May 9th, and if the Timbers 2012 is to be salvaged winning at home is the best way to start.
Portland was on a serious scoring drought, having been shut out three of its last five games, so it was important that they got the scoring going early. In the 16th minute, forward Kris Boyd scored off a cross from Steven Smith to give Portland a 1-0 lead.
“We came into the game knowing that we needed to get three points,” said Boyd in an Oregonlive.com article. “That was the most important thing- to get the fans back, to get everybody off our backs and prove to people that we can play.”
Boyd’s fifth goal of the season was the boost that the Timbers needed and it got the team into a groove that led to another first half goal. Centerback David Horst added to the lead, making it 2-0 with a header off a corner kick in the 25th minute. It couldn’t have been a better time during the game and the season for Horst to score his first ever MLS goal.
In the second half, Seattle continued its aggressive and desperate attack. Eddie Johnson scored for the Sounders in the 58th minute, cutting Seattle’s deficit in half.
The initial roar of the Timber’s army turned into tense murmurs as the Sounders pushed the ball onto the Timber’s side of the field. Portland leads the league in an embarrassing and nerve-racking category, having given up seven goals in the 76th minute or later in regular season games. This time, however, the defense stayed strong and kept the Sounders out of the goal.
As expected, the second half showed the true nature of the rivalry, as several players got involved in a shoving match, resulting in red cards for Portland’s Lovel Palmer and Seattle’s Fredy Montero. Yellow cards were also plentiful, as referees called 25 fouls in the second half alone.
There’s no doubt that the win is the most significant of the season for the Timbers, but some are saying it may be the biggest win in the franchise’s short history. Timber’s head coach John Spencer may not be off the hot seat after the victory, but for now, everyone in Portland is feeling better about the Timber’s season.
“Last year, we had a turning point, where we had a little run,” Horst said in an espn.com article. “Hopefully, that’s what this is, a turning point.”
The Timber’s Army marched on to its 25th consecutive sellout of JELD-WEN field and witnessed history, as the Timbers emerged from the green smoke with a 2-1 victory against Seattle for the first time in MLS regular season play.
There was a lot on the line for Timbers considering that they were in last place in the Western Division coming into the match with a 4-6-4 record. Seattle, the heavy favorite, saw their record fall 7-5-4 after the loss, extending their winless streak to seven games.