The Portland Timbers lost 2-3 in heartbreaking fashion to archrival Seattle Sounders at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Portland Timbers lost 2-3 in heartbreaking fashion to archrival Seattle Sounders at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday afternoon. This was the Timbers’ seventh MLS match without a win, their fourth successive loss in all competition and their ninth game overall without a win. With this result, the Timbers are now 9-5-3 in the MLS in 2011 and are second from the bottom in the Western Conference.
On the other hand, the Seattle Sounders moved up to the second spot in the Western Conference after beating the Timbers. The Sounders are unbeaten in their last eight games and are just four points behind league leaders, LA Galaxy.
In Sunday’s game, Portland took the lead twice in each half, only to be equalized each time by Seattle. The Sounders hammered the last nail in the Timber’s coffin in the 83rd minute with a penalty kick to make it 2-3 in favor of Seattle.
“This is the worst loss by far,” Portland defender Futty Danso said in a media statement. “Losing to your rivals like that is definitely not an easy thing to take.”
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said after the game. “To get beat by your biggest rivals at home when you score two goals, and you’ve got the lead twice, it’s unacceptable. You’ve got to finish the game off.”
The game was tightly contested offensively with the Timbers matching Seattle in almost every statistical category. The Timbers had 11 attempts on goal compared to Seattle’s 14. The Sounders had seven shots on target as opposed to Portland’s three. However, Portland led the count for corner kicks 5-3. The Timbers even enjoyed more ball possession (51–49 percent).
However, the Timbers committed some grave defensive errors that ultimately cost them the match and the points. “If you said that we would be tied at halftime, come out and score two goals in the second half at home, you’d like to think you can make that hold,” team captain and midfielder Jack Jewsbury said. “It’s disappointing. It would be disappointing in any game, but especially this one. It hurts pretty bad.”
Spencer was unhappy with the team’s defensive effort as well. “If you can’t defend, you’re not going to win games,” Spencer said. “We did enough offensively, but defensively, if we keep leaking goals, we’re not going to win the game.”
Playing in front of a capacity crowd at the Jeld-Wen Field, both the teams were unable to score in the first half. However, early in the second half, the Timbers took the lead in the 46th minute through a Jeff Parke own goal. Seattle equalized soon after with their first goal in the 57th minute through a Fredy Montero goal.
Spurred on by the Timbers Army, the Timbers took their second and final lead of the game in the 69th minute through forward Jorge Perlaza, who scored his fourth goal of the season. But the Sounders once again drew level in the 74th minute with another goal from Montero.
“We let balls bounce in the box,” Spencer said. “Montero is free in the six-yard box, which should never happen.” This was Montero’s fifth goal of the season.
In the 83rd minute, Seattle’s Lamar Neagle beat the Timber’s offside trap and received a through ball from Osavaldo Alonso. Portland defender Eric Brunner made a last ditch attempt to tackle Neagle in the penalty area but the referee pulled out a red card and awarded Seattle a penalty kick. Seattle converted the penalty and secured a thrilling come-from-behind 2-3 win.
“I think it’s a lack of concentration,” Spencer said. “If you don’t mark runners and you don’t track people, you’re going to get punished.”
Danso admitted that his team lacked concentration at times. “We just kind of lose our focus,” Danso said. “It’s been like that the last few games when just the simplest mistakes we make, everyone is punishing us.”
Earlier in the week, Club American registered a 1-0 win over the Timbers in a friendly game played at Jeld-Wen Field. Club America took the lead early in the 16th minute via Mexican midfielder Angel Reyna and held onto their solitary goal lead till the end of the game.
However, Jewsbury thinks the team can still bounce back into form in their next game. “At the end of the day we have to pick our heads up,” Jewsbury said. “It’s halfway through the season. There [are] a lot of games left and a lot of points to get.”
The Timbers head to Chicago to play against the Chicago Fire on Saturday. Chicago is also winless in their last five MLS games and has taken four out of the possible fifteen points. During their last meeting at Jeld-Wen Field, Portland had recorded its first ever MLS home win with a 4-2 victory over the Fire. ?