The Sounders suffered another disheartening loss yesterday, this time at the hands of their hated rivals. Is it panic time?
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The Sounders headed into their grudge match against the Portland Timbers with momentum. Just when their MLS season seemed lost after another frustrating 1-0 defeat at home against the LA Galaxy, the Sounders rebounded by dismantling first-place FC Dallas 5-0 at the CLink.
Even though Sounders’ star forward Clint Dempsey picked up a red card against Dallas, I, and likely most other Sounders fans, were confident going into Portland for another hotly contested matchup with the defending MLS champion Timbers. This game was supposed to be the second win in a series of wins that would launch the Sounders from the Western Conference basement into the playoffs.
But Portland was a good team playing at home, and its counter-attacks using the size and strength of Fenando Adi were too much for the Sounders to overcome. Diego Valeri put the Timbers on the board first on a counter-attack just before halftime. He added another on a ridiculous chip shot in the box that negotiated an impossible angle in the second half before the Sounders finally found the net on a Chad Marshall header. Adi would close out the Sounders’ chances of at least finding an equalizer with on another counter-attack through a Sounders defensive breakdown to give Portland the 3-1 win.
Jordan Morris missed a wide-open goal opportunity in the first half, missing the upper corner of the goal on a shot inside the Timbers’ penalty box.
With the loss, the Sounders now sit at 6-11-2, with a road match against Sporting Kansas City coming up next weekend on the MLS schedule, but not before they face the LA Galaxy (again) in the US Open Cup quarterfinals. Dempsey will return from his one-game suspension, but Osvaldo Alonso will miss the next MLS match because of yellow card accumulation.
The Sounders’ season is in truly dire straights now. They will likely be fighting just for a place in the playoffs for the rest of the MLS schedule. Time is running out to crawl out of the hole they’ve placed themselves in.