Although soccer has been around in the United States for years, it took until the last decade before it started getting more fans. Portland is one of the states that has a team they represent (the Portland Timbers), which has been gaining momentum for a while now. The latest victory comes from a clash with arch rivals Seattles, winning 3-0.
On Saturday, the Timbers beat the Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field to a huge advantage as the Sounders remained one man, allowing the Timbers to take control and rub the salt on the wound with two late goals in the second half.
The victory allowed the Portland Timbers to exit the game with 26 points, after having won six, drawn eight, and lost six. The record puts them tied with the 8th-place Seattle Sounders, who have eight wins, two draws and eight losses.
“Always difficult to come and play Seattle and to play here in this city,” said Timbers coach Giovanni Savarse. “This clasico, derby, this rivalry, it’s one of the best.”
“Being part of this game today is a privilege. Extremely proud of the performance of the guys. I thought we managed many things well. Definitely we can continue to improve in some areas, but I thought we did things with a lot of maturity and we stuck with the plan.”
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From the whistle, the derby brought the expected physicality into rivalry matches, with Eryk Williamson taking Portland’s first yellow card in six minutes.
Sebastian Blanco came close to scoring in the 9th minute, but his shot was easily saved. Seattle reacted with a wave of chances, with Jackson Ragen’s biggest chance with a header cleared by Claudio Bravo from the line.
Portland mounted a counter attack that led to the goal in the 24th minute when Blanco headed Jaroslaw Niezgoda a cross, giving them the lead.
The Timbers heaved a sigh of relief when a video assistant referee denied a potential penalty after Josecarlos Van Rankin committed a foul in the penalty area.
Before the half-time whistle, Ragen received his first yellow card for the Sounders. The decision ultimately played his part as he earned a second yellow card in less than a minute of the start of the second half, prompting the referee to draw a red card and send him off the pitch.
The Timbers took advantage of the numbers game, creating chances but failed to convert them. However, Seattle refused to back off into a corner and pressed the gas to start quality runs up front.
Savarse brought in Marvin Loria and Dairon Asprilla to overtake Yimmi Chara and Blanco to protect their lead. The Timbers managed to break the Sounders when a call from the VAR for a hand ball gave them a penalty which Santiago Moreno converted in the 82nd minute, doubling the lead.
Three minutes later, Portland showed no signs of slowing down as the Timbers resumed their marches for a counterattack that resulted in an easy goal for Asprilla, ending the match.
“It feels great,” said Chara during a post-match interview. “We know how important this game is for the city, the fans, the club, for us as players. We came today here and made the effort we could in the game and scored the goals we scored. I think it feels great tonight.”
The Portland Timbers return to Providence Park on July 17 to face the Vancouver Whitecaps.
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