The rivalry of the Pacific Northwest featuring the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders is developing into the finest of the MLS. On Sunday in front of a packed crowd at JELD-WEN Field, the Timbers put on a fine display to win 2-1 which could very well provide the anchor that will save their season.
Portland started the match off very well and dominated the entire first half. Defender David Horst was unlucky not to put the Timbers ahead after ten minutes with a lovely header that rattled the corner of the goal frame.
However, five minutes later the breakthrough came through Kris Boyd, who was found wide open in front of goal and easily put Portland ahead. It was a fifth goal on the season for the Scotsman who seems to have found a good home in America. He played very well the entire night and could have doubled the lead ten minutes later with a strong header that forced Andrew Weber into a difficult save.
The ensuing corner roared the stadium back to life as Horst got onto another header for his first ever MLS goal. It seemed rather surprising that it has taken the defender so long to score as his early efforts from corner kicks gave him the appearance as a goal poacher going forward. With his dominant height at 6’4”, one must presume that he will continue to find goals off of headers.
Seattle never really found their groove though they did get a goal from a brilliant solo effort from Eddie Johnson who weaved through defenders before blasting the ball across goal into the top corner. However, it was to be the Timber’s day as they held on for the last half hour and earned the crucial victory.
Portland is currently struggling in the table with only 19 points from 14 matches that leaves them in 8th place in the Western Conference. However, with two games in hand and over half of the season left to play, this victory will give the team the hope and confidence to move forward and claim a top five place that will ensure qualification for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The rivalry with the Seattle Sounders has become a powerful image for the MLS featuring packed stadiums and tense drama. The most recent encounter even provided two late red cards as tempers boiled over during stoppage time. The match had the feel of an English Premier League fixture as the crowd was in heavy support, and there was even a massive banner raised during the pregame suggesting the legendary step the Timbers are taking. The 2012 MLS season clearly has all the makings of an excellent one where the Timbers will be looking to make their mark.