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Seattle Sounders Score Early, Portland Timbers Score Late

Posted on 16 March 2013 by Kyle Alm

As Seattle Sounders and Portland timbers rekindle their decades old rivalry for 2013 there was much anticipation in CenturyLink for Obafemi Martins arrival. As much vitriol and familiarity between Seattle and Portland, both clubs are without key contributors from their past and are somewhat unknown to each other. Portland has undergone the most dramatic changes with a new coach and new style of play that Caleb Porter brought with him from University of Akron.

Sounders were coming off of their historic win on Tuesday over Tigres in the CCL and were looking for their first points after dropping their home opener in MLS to Montreal Impact. Seattle would be the first road match for Portland, who has also lost to Montreal but also managed to get a point against New York Red Bulls in a dramatic 3-3 comeback.

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Both sides were looking for their first win against their biggest rival. The stage was set once again for these old adversaries to take center stage during rivalry weekend.

Sounders were able to score first in the 13th minute after Steve Zakuani was able to capitalize on a Timbers turnover when he took the ball to the left edge of the penalty area and found Eddie Johnson who finished the cross with his right foot on the first touch. Donovan Ricketts was unable to alter the path of the ball and Johnson didn’t have to do much to finish and went and pointed up to the Timbers Army section in the upper bowl of CenturyLink Field.

There were no changes for either side at halftime. The first half was dominated by Sounders in terms of possession, Portland took more shots, but none of were anything that would make Sounders GK Michael Gspurning nervous, he only had one save to make during the entire match. Timbers did hit the crossbar on a Diego Valeri set-piece from distance in the 49th minute, but that was as close as they had come all match.

Obafemi Martins made his debut for Sounders in the 70th minute coming on for Sammy Ochoa, who had not impacted the match positively for Sounders. Martins received a large cheer, got a couple of touches, suffered a couple of fouls, and looked like a player who had never played with his new teammates before. With Martins international duty coming up it will be difficult for Sounders to assimilate their newest player with his teammates, but you can tell that he has the ability to be an impact player on Sounders.

In the 90th minute Rodney Wallace let all of the air out of the building with a free header on a second ball into the box after a corner. Wallace lost Hurtado on his run and was able to keep his header close to the post and away from Gspurning who collected the ball out of his net, slammed it into the turf and continued to express his displeasure at conceding a late goal. Hurtado also was demonstrably upset at Alex Caskey and Osvaldo Alonso, presumably for not getting any pressure on Andrew Baptiste before he crossed the ball in.

Coach Sigi Schmid was disappointed in conceding a late goal, but offered very little in way of explanation other than Wallace did make a long run from the wing which confused the back-line marking. Sounders were lucky that they were able to hold on to a point looking back at the match, Timbers had a good argument for a penalty kick award against Hurtado when he scissor tackled Ryan Johnson in the box. Timbers also had the previously mentioned set piece off the crossbar that would have turned Rodney Wallace’s header into a winner.

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