The largest crowd ever to turn out for a Sounders FC league match turned out tonight, and most of them are heading home happy.
Seattle rolled to a 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers before a crowd of 66,452 at CenturyLink Field. It was the second-largest attendance ever for a stand-along Major League Soccer match.
With the victory, the Sounders moved past Los Angeles and into third place in the Western Conference playoff race. Seattle also moved past Portland into the top spot of this Cascadia Cup competition, which will be decided Oct. 21 when the Timbers visit Vancouver. Portland will need its first road win of the season to take the Cup;
Seattle jumped ahead with a pair of quick-strike goals in the middle of the first half.
The first came in the 25th minute, when a sequence of Sounders passes reached the front of the Portland goalmouth, where the ball was knocked in on an own goal by Portland defender Mamadou Danso.
About three minutes later, Brad Evans chipped a pass to Eddie Johnson who was running free in the penalty area, and Johnson one-touched it home from about 12 yards.
Seattle’s final goal came in the 62nd minute, when Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts saved a shot by Fredy Montero. However, Montero scrambled to the rebound and knocked it in.
It was Johnson’s team-leading 14th goal; and for Montero a career-high 13th.
The celebratory tone of the evening was set before the first kick with pregame introductions handled by former Sounder and Golden Scarf recipient Roger Levesque and then another terrific south-end tifo (shown above).
The Sounders now head into a final break in the regular-season schedule. Their next match will be Oct. 17, when Real Salt Lake visits CenturyLink.
I’ll be back with notes and quotes.
62nd minute: GOAL Seattle. Montero shot is saved, but he knocks in the rebound. Seattle. 3-0. Career-high 13th goal for Montero. (This was initially ruled an own goal, but reversed.)
Attendance 66,452. Largest for Sounders league game, second largest for stand-alone MLS game ever.
Second half: … has just begun. Fucito on for Portland, in place of Zizzo.
Halftime: Sounders 2, Timbers 0.
Shots, 8-8; on goal 4-2 Timbers, corners 5-3 SEA; duels won, 53.2% Sea; possession 52.5% Sea.
28th minute: GOAL Seattle. Brilliant one-touch from 12 yards by Eddie Johnson. Seattle, 2-0.
25th minute: GOAL Seattle. Ruled own goal on Danso after Montero finishes brilliant passing sequence. Seattle, 1-0.
17th minute: Hurtado returns. Both teams at full strength.
13th minute: Hurtado comes off after getting worst of colliding heads with Dike. Evans slides back, while Hurtado is tended to.
First 10 minutes: Sounders dominating early going, but remains scoreless.
Kickoff: We’re under way. Timbers win or draw clinches Cascadia Cup. Sounders win lets them live to fight again.
Yet another great pregame tifo in south end.
Golden Scarf: Roger Levesque gets nice hand as he takes the pitch before the ceremony. Afterward, he is handed a microphone, walks to the south end, and enthusiastically handles the introduction of the Sounders.
Lineups: Sounders: GK Gspurning; M Johansson, Parke, Hurtado, Gonzalez; M Rosales, Alonso, Tiffert, Evans; F Johnson, Montero. Reserves: Weber, Burch, Ochoa, Rose, Scott, Zakuani.
For Portland: GK Ricketts; D Palmer, Horst, Danso, Wallace; M Nagbe, Jewsbury, Chara; F Zizzo, Songo’o, Dike. Reserves: Bendik, Alexander, Bunner, Fucito, Kimura, Mwanga, Smith.
Gates open: The gates have opened, and the Timbers supporters have been led into their designated areas. In this case, that’s the usual northeast corner wedge that they were given last season, plus two sections in the upper deck above that.
Pregame: There are no tarps over any seats at CenturyLink Field today, as a crowd of more than 66,000 is expected for today’s Cascadia Cup match: Timbers at Sounders, 6 p.m.
The game will be shown on ESPN, heard on 770-AM, blogged here, and tweeted @donruiztnt.
I’ll be back with any pregame developments, including lineups about 45 minutes or so before first kick.