A week of excitement about the resumption of the Sounders-Timbers series led to a game in which nothing was settled.
In their first Major League Soccer meeting, Seattle and Portland played to a 1-1 draw before a crowd of 36,593 – the largest crowd ever at Qwest Field to attend an MLS game.
Hours before kickoff fans in Sounders gear were dotting the area from the stadium to Pioneer Square.
About an hour before kickoff, ushers closed off the stairs from the north plaza to the end zone seating, as 500 visiting supporters from Timbers Army were ushered into their designated section.
Just before kickoff the Sounders supporters groups in the south end unfurled banners taking up most of the end zone. They depicted Sounders through the years – Jimmy Gabriel, Preston Burpo, Fredy Montero, Marcus Hahnemann, Brian Schmetzer and finally Roger Levesque under a banner reading “Decades of Dominance.”
And when Seattle opened the scoring in the 56th minute, it was longtime Timbers nemesis Levesque who started it with a cross to the top of the penalty area. There, Montero got his head to the ball ahead two Portland defenders, flicking it on to Alvaro Fernandez. With both time and space, Fernandez beat keeper Troy Perkins to the inside post.
Levesque had come on in the 42nd minute for Brad Evans, who suffered a right groin strain.
Portland answered in the 65th minute, as Mamadou Danso headed in a free kick from Jack Jewsbury.
The game played out scorelessly from there, continuing under a steady downpour that lasted from first whistle to last.
Seattle moved to 3-3-5, Portland to 4-3-2. The teams meet again in Portland on July 10.
The rivalry continues in a smaller way Sunday, as the Sounders and Timbers reserves will meet at 1 p.m. at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
The Sounders first team returns to action at 7 p.m. Saturday, when Sporting Kansas City visits Qwest Field.
SEA — Alvaro Fernandez 3 (Fredy Montero 3, Roger Levesque 1) 52
POR — Mamadou Danso 2 (Jack Jewsbury 4) 65
Portland Timbers — Troy Perkins, Jeremy Hall, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace, Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 61), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan, Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Ryan Pore 84).
Substitutes Not Used: David Horst, James Marcelin, Adam Moffat, Steve Purdy, Jake Gleeson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Mamadou Danso 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Kenny Cooper 2, Mamadou Danso 2); FOULS: 9 (Jack Jewsbury 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Kenny Cooper 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Jack Jewsbury 2); SAVES: 1 (Troy Perkins 1)
Seattle Sounders — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Brad Evans (Roger Levesque 42), Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Lamar Neagle 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Fucito, Leo Gonzalez, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Fredy Montero 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Alvaro Fernandez 1, Fredy Montero 1); FOULS: 10 (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Roger Levesque 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Tyson Wahl 4); SAVES: 4 (Kasey Keller 4)
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee’s Assistants:-Fabio Tovar; Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:50
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
65th minute: Portland pulls even on set piece as Mamadou Danso heads in a free kick from Jack Jewsbury. Portland has the highest percentage of goals from set pieces in MLS, and it just got higher.
52nd minute: Sounders jump ahead 1-0, with goal by Fernandez. Assists to Montero and Levesque. Levesque sent a pass to the top of the area, and Montero headed it on to Fernandez who beat keeper Troy Perkins one-on-one to the near post.
Second half: … Has begun. Sounders start with their best chances of the night from Jaqua and Montero.
General run of play seemed to go to Portland, but the stats as mixed. Seattle has more shots, 5-4; but Timbers have put three on goal, while Sounders have none. Corners, 2-1, Seattle.
We are told Evans is out with a right groin strain.
42nd minute: Levesque in for Evans, who got a couple of knocks tonight. Seattle getting mighty thin at midfield with Zakuani, Friberg, Rosales and now Evans out.
First 25 minutes: Timbers the better run of play and the better chances. Worse, they seem to be more physical/aggressive than Sounders so far.
Kickoff: We’re under way after an amazing pregame display by the south end supporters. … And a cute little one by Timbers Army. Sounders in green/blue; Timbers in red/white.
Pregame notes: There are some colored electronics around the usual ledge occupied by the Sound Wave band — the kind of thing you see at concerts. I’m not quite sure what it does yet. … Sounders primary owner Joe Roth is in the house. … Final score in an interesting MLS matchup tonight: Houston-RSL, nil-nil.
Ten minute till kickoff: It’s pouring. Not just Northwest drizzle — real rain. Little waterfalls of water going down the stadium steps.
More atmosphere: Much of ECS has arrived, and they have begun their chats and flag-waving. Gotta give Timbers Army credit though … they’re still going. They’re good at what they do. And when the Timbers came onto the pitch, several made a point of jogging over to that northeast end and applauding them. (Just as Sigi Schmid just did with the Sounders supporters.)
The derby arrives: This just in from blog commenter EverdayFan: Group of Timbers just got Shouted Down at FX! They tried “Lets Go Timbers” … Got “Let’s Go SOUNDERS!!!!”
Lineups: Soundres: GK, Keller; D Riley, Ianni, Hurtado, Wahl; M Evans, Alonso, Carrasco, Fernandez; F Montero, Jaqua. Reserves: Boss, Fucito, Gonzalez, Levesque, Neagle, Parke, Scott.
So, Evans in, and Rosales out. Also out is Friberg, who apparently suffered an ankle injury in training yesterday.
For Portland: GK Perkins; D Hall, Brunner, Danso, Wallace; M Nagbe, Jewsbury, Chara, Alhassan; F Cooper, Perlaza. Reserves: Gleeson, Horst, Marcelin, Moffat, Pore, Purdy, Zizzo.
Timbers Army arrives: Portland’s Timbers Army has arrived in Qwest Field. Stadium security cut off normal access to the north end zone while the Army was escorted to their appointed section — a 500-seat wedge in the northeast corner — the first section to the right of the Hawks Nest. They fill it, and are chanting and waving flags as I type.
Just as the Portland supporters arrived … it started to rain.
Pregame: Less than two hours and counting, before Sounders-Timbers kick off at 8 p.m. at Qwest Field and on ESPN2 and the usual radio outlets.
I’m in the press box now, after having walked around Occidental Park and Pioneer Square to drink in some of the early atmosphere. Certainly from that little taste, Sounders gear was everywhere and Timbers sightings were rare.
Now, looking down at the south end supporters areas, it seems something special is planned. Which comes as no surprise.
We’ll keep this post open all night for pregame, in-game and postgame notes and updates … and for your comments. I’ll be back with news and lineups as they happen — both here and on Twitter at the address in the column at left.