PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Fredy Montero scored two goals and Osvaldo Alonso added the game winner on a penalty kick to give the Seattle Sounders FC a 3-2 victory over the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the second match between the two Major League Soccer rivals.
The teams played to a 1-1 draw at Qwest Field back in May when they met in the season’s first game of the so-called Cascadia Cup rivalry.
The Sounders (9-4-8) are undefeated in eight straight matches. They were coming off a scoreless draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy last Monday.
Down twice in the heated match, the Sounders hung on until Alonso’s penalty kick in the 83rd minute.
“This was as exciting an atmosphere as I’ve played in Portland,” veteran Seattle forward Roger Levesque said. “With the game going as it did with us going down a goal and then getting it back, then going down again and fighting back, it just kept building and creating that drama and the good guys come out in the end.”
The Timbers (5-9-3) are winless in seven straight games. After a scoreless first half, Portland went ahead early in the second on an own goal and added another from Jorge Perlaza.
“I think offensively we played well,” Timbers coach John Spencer said. “Defensively we let ourselves down as a team.”
The fan-created Cascadia Cup is contested by the three MLS clubs in the Pacific Northwest, the Sounders, Timbers, and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The opening match between the teams back in May was played in a constant, driving rain, but opened with a spectacular fan display, known in soccer as a tifo, made of banners that nearly shrouded an entire end of Qwest Field.
Sunday’s match, in contrast, was played under sunny skies. Not to be outdone, the Timbers Army supporters group created a spectacular tifo that stretched from the field to the top of Jeld-Wen Field that proclaimed Portland the “King of Clubs.”
A sellout crowd of 18,627 attended the match.
Portland has embraced the Timbers’ leap to MLS this year, but there was added excitement for the match against the Sounders. Even the city’s iconic Voodoo Doughnuts got into the spirit of the rivalry, creating a special Sounders voodoo doughnut that squirted red jelly when stabbed with a pretzel.
The Timbers allotted 500 tickets for Sounders’ fans, many of whom are aligned with the Emerald City Supporters group. They were relegated to the southern corner of Jeld-Wen Field, but they represented well in the hostile environment.
“The fans are amazing. They come here from Seattle and support,” Montero said. “We were down, we kept playing hard, we tied the game two times and fortunately for us that penalty kick for Ozzie, and we win. “
The Sounders had the first two real chances in the early going. In the 27th minute, Mauro Rosales missed an opportunity to pass to Montero who was cutting back in front of Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
A minute later, Montero’s kick from the top of the box went just left of the post—and Perkins’ outstretched arms.
Portland thwarted a breakaway by Levesque in the 32nd minute.
Levesque is roundly disliked by Portland fans. They hold a grudge for a perceived cheap hit on a Portland player in 2004 when both teams played in the USL, and remain bitter about his goal just 48 seconds into a U.S. Open Cup match against the Timbers in 2009. In celebration, Levesque mocked Portland by pretending to be a tree chopped down by a teammate.
But despite Seattle’s best efforts, it was the Timbers who ultimately went ahead first on an own goal. Kalif Alhassan fed to Perlaza in front of the net and the ball deflected off Seattle defender Jeff Park and past Kasey Keller.
The Sounders evened it in the 57th minute on Montero’s free kick after a hard tackle by Portland midfielder James Marcelin. Montero doffed his jersey after the goal, which sailed untouched over the line of defenders and out of reach by Perkins.
Portland went up 2-1 when Diego Chara perfectly fed Perlaza for an angled goal from inside the box in the 69th minute. The celebration was short-lived when Rosales centered the ball to Montero, who beat Perkins in the 74th minute.
Alonso’s penalty kick came in the 83rd minute after Portland defender Eric Brunner was handed a red card for tackling in the penalty box.
“Disappointed,” Brunner said. “I felt like I let the team down. Giving up a penalty kick for a game-winning goal, it’s not a good feeling.”
The Sounders wore black arm bands during the match in honor of former player Mark Peterson, who died on Thursday.
Portland captain Jack Jewsbury was selected to the MLS All-Star First XI, the group voted into line for the MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United on July 27. But the honor, announced at halftime Sunday, was bittersweet because of the loss.
“At the end of the day we have to pick our heads up,” Jewsbury said. “It’s halfway through the season. There’s a lot of games left and a lot of points to get.”
The intense rivalry between the Sounders and Timbers was born in the mid-70s, when both teams were part of the old North American Soccer League.
The Cascadia Cup was introduced in 2004 when all three teams were part of the United Soccer Leagues First Division. Fans pooled their money to buy the 2-foot tall trophy, which goes to the team that finishes with the best record in head-to-head matches between the trio, based on a points system.
The rivalry took on greater significance this season when both Vancouver and Portland joined MLS as expansion teams.
The Sounders also played the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier this season, playing to a 2-all draw.