Sounders drop Cascadia rivalry against Portland in tight contest

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Seattle, Washington (July 22, 2019) — Rivalries are all about intense action. There’s going to be pushing and shoving. There’s going to be a few words exchanged. Some might call it “pleasantries” while the players know that it’s nothing good.

In Major League Soccer, there’s a few good rivalries that come to mind. Some are newer and some are older rivalries. That was put on display when LAFC took on LA Galaxy, a newer rivalry. However, one of the more well-known rivalries in MLS comes in the Pacific Northwest.

The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers just, plain and simple, don’t like each other. That fact was put on display throughout more than 90 minutes of action and even after the final whistle. The Sounders could have wrapped up their hunt for the Cascadia Cup trophy with a victory.

However, the Timbers had other plans.

Brian Fernandez, the newest member of the Timbers, found the back of the net twice. His opening goal came in the 20th minute. After Jorge Moreira took a shot that smacked off the crossbar, his rebound fell to Fernandez. With Frei at the corner post, Fernandez slipped an easy shot into the open net.

Meanwhile, Roman Torres was in front of him, but was caught watching the ball and not Fernandez.

He found the back of the net again in the 51st minute, just one minute after Raúl Ruidíaz scored the equalizing goal. The Sounders could not bounce back from the goal deficit. However, the Sounders were able to find chances, but none found the back of Steve Clark’s net. Torres even had four chances, with two shots on goal.

What the Sounders said

Brian Schmetzer, Sounders head coach, said that despite the rivalry, there’s a mutual respect among coaches. Giovanni Savarese is the head coach of the Timbers.

“There’s no animosity among the coaches,” Schmetzer said. “Guys get frustrated. Obviously the players on the field got frustrated. He wished me luck and I wished him luck. That’s the end of it… Some guys were talking about the LA rivalry. There’s still some fire in this rivalry. It just got stoked to a higher level tonight. We’ll remember some of the things that happened tonight and hopefully we can use that as motivation in the next game.”

Schmetzer didn’t mince words whenever he was asked about the goals given up. He simply said he wasn’t happy with the goals. However, when it came to chances tonight, Schmetzer said that there were plenty of chance for the Sounders.

“The game is cruel sometimes,” Schmetzer said. “We could’ve scored within the first 15 seconds and dictated tempo. We could have scored any number of goals in the first 20, 30 minutes. But, we didn’t do it. That’s part of a team sport. You can talk about the defending and mistakes, but also have to hold everybody there accountable.”

“We need to finish those chances.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Stefan Frei said the match was filled with high emotions.

“For us, looking forward, it would have bene nicer to have those emotions come through on the pitch. It’s a rivalry. When you get taunted by some other players during the end of the game, that’s a rivalry. Instead of it getting feisty when the referee blows the whistle and people go after each other, we need to remember that before the next.”

What’s Next? 

Seattle will now hit the road for a Saturday night contest down in H-Town. At BBVA Compass Stadium, the Houston Dynamo will host the third-place Sounders at 8 p.m. EST. Meanwhile, Houston sits down in eighth place, right below the playoff line.

The Sounders will also meet up with Portland one more time this season. On Aug. 23, the Sounders will take a trip three-hours south of their home city to face the Timbers at Providence Park.

PHOTO: Stefan Frei leads the Seattle Sounders FC huddle before taking on the Portland Timbers on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. Photo courtesy of Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC.