(7.10.2011) Portland, Ore. Forty-five minutes before kick off and from a quarter mile away you could hear the chants and screams of rabid fans from within Jeld-Wen Field drowning out the rest of the city, as Major League Soccer prepared to take its roost for the afternoon.
The raucous crowd gathered for the 10th consecutive sell-out, and to celebrate the major rivalry that exists between Portland and Seattle, one that extends far beyond the soccer pitch.
After a riveting opening ceremony featuring fireworks, a spine-tingling rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and the dramatic unfurling of the Timbers ‘King of Clubs’ Banner – the game settled off into a lollygagging funk.
To say the game got off to a slow start would be an understatement, with the first half feeling more like a Victorian-era gentleman’s sport, with both sides sharing a fairly equal split on shots to goal, corner kicks, fouls and saves.
However, the momentum shifted dramatically for both teams as the second half became a feeding frenzy of goal scoring, totaling five in all.
It began in the 46th minute after Portland’s Alhassan dribbled the ball down field and made a sprint towards the right side of the goal. Just before running out of bounds and into the Timbers Army, he mustered off a pass to the front of the goal intended for Perlaza, but it was instead deflected off of Seattle’s Jeff Parke and into the net to make it 1-0 Timbers.
In the 53rd minute Timbers fans got an extra jolt of adrenaline when the Timbers’ Wallace executed a great cross to an outstretched Perlaza who just barely missed burying the second Timbers goal of the game. It could have been all that was needed to shift momentum in favor of the Timbers.
Instead, the Timbers first lead of the game was scratched when in the 57th minute the Sounders Montero took a free kick and slapped it over the Timbers wall and into the corner of the net to tie the score at 1-1.
Passions spilled over onto the field at the 60th minute when Friberg, Riley and Jewsbury got into a tussle after confusion over a free kick. The scene was cleared by the ref, with no cards issued, but perhaps lending a shot in the arm to the Timbers offense.
Moments later the Timbers took their second lead of the game after Perlaza broke away to fire a shot, which bounced off a Seattle defender and into the goal, making it 2-1 Timbers.
However, that would be all the offense the Timbers would be able to muster for the day. Just four minutes later, Montero would answer the call with a pass from Rosales to even the score.
Ten minutes later we had a bit of a scare after the Sounders’ Neagle made a break for the goal, trailed closely by the Timbers Brunner. From within the box, Brunner decided to kick the ball away from behind, nearly kicking Neagle in the face in the process. He was issued a red card and Alonso put the pentalty kick into the back of the net to put the Sounders ahead once and for all.
The final moments of the game saw a few last ditch efforts from a frustrated Timbers offense, but it was too little too late to avoid the 3-2 victory by the Sounders.