Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Dempsey Ignites Seattle Sounders over Portland Timbers 2-0

The Cascadia rivalry ignited as the Seattle Sounders beat the Portland Timbers 2-nil Sunday night in front of 64, 207 screaming supporters. It was the second time in five days the two rivals did battle. Portland was hungry to avenge Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat, which knocked them out of the United States Open Cup and a helluva rematch was brewing.

Portland and Seattle can both score. The last time these two teams met in a league game they played to a 4-4 barnburner. The two teams were top of the category in goals scored: Seattle with 33 and Portland 30. The Timbers hoped to take advantage of Seattle’s motley backline and pressure goalkeeper Stefan Frei. But Portland didn’t have the attack Sunday night to make a dent in a slowly improving Sounder defense.

Seattle’s defensive star was Zach Scott, making another start at centerback for the injured Djimi Traore. Scott, a Sounders lifer, bleeds Rave Green and is totemically important in this age-old rivalry. His contributions were more than symbolic as he shut down the towering Fanendo Adi. Portland had been moving its offense effectively through the newly acquired forward, but, like Wednesday night, Seattle was resolute in the back.

The game was chippy as you’d expect, especially in the first half. Both teams committed nearly a dozen fouls before the break in tight, stop-and-start action. Fresh off his suspension, Seattle’s Ozzie Alonso earned a yellow for a foul on Portland’s Will Johnson. Multiple scuffles ensued, but referee Alan Kelley kept a lid on it. Hopefully he won’t receive any undue criticism from Porter, as the Portland coach has made a habit of using the refs as excuses for his team’s poor results. Sunday night, Portland just didn’t have an answer to the high octane Seattle attack.

Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle beat Portland, twice in one week. All is right in the world.

Seattle was fueled by the return of their two USMNT stars Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin. Both were involved immediately after kickoff, as Portland attacked early down Seattle’s right flank and Yedlin was called upon to make stop. Maybe Portland coach Caleb Porter hasn’t been following the news, but there is no American player hotter than Yedlin right now and he snuffed out the foray. On the following counter, Seattle moved the ball through Dempsey. He flew up field and dummied on a pass from Marco Pappa to ignite a shot from the in-form Chad Barrett.

The game lived up to its hype after Obafemi Martins entered in the 51st minute. The Nigerian’s quality on the ball opened up lanes for Pappa, Deuce and Lamar Neagle to run wild. The Sounders poured in 18 shots in the second half, with Deuce and Pappa hitting paydirt. The crowd was loudest after Dempsey cracked the deadlock in the 71st minute and when he was subbed off in extra time. Seattle loves its superstar playmaker who now has nine goals in ten games. If this game were played in the Kingdome, Dempsey would’ve blown the roof off.

The team has 38 points and sits atop the league table, seven points clear of second-place D.C. United. When asked if anyone in the Seattle locker room was talking Supporters’ Shield, Dempsey answered, “You don’t earn trophies by talking about them.” Though table-topping and talented, this team remains hungry.

Seattle beat Portland, twice in one week. All is right in the world.

Tags: Clint Dempsey DeAndre Yedlin Seattle Sounders

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