Timbers success in Seattle continues, topple Sounders 3-0

  • Portland Timbers forward Jarosław Niezgoda (11) celebrates with teammates after he scored a goal against the Seattle Sounders during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, July 9, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle. The Timbers won 3-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE — In the storied history of the rivalry between Portland and Seattle, this latest chapter is a bit of an oddity. The home team can’t buy a victory.

That trend continued as Jaroslaw Niezgoda scored in the 24th minute, Santiago Moreno and Dairon Asprilla connected late in the second half and the Portland Timbers remained unbeaten in their past seven regular-season games in Seattle with a 3-0 victory over the Sounders on Saturday.

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“I think that was first time for me to play in front of so many fans,” Portland goalkeeper Aljaž Ivacic said of the 47,722 at Lumen Field, most of them in Seattle green. “It’s a nice feeling when you make them quiet.”

The victory continued a run of success for both teams playing on the road against their main rival. Portland has not lost a regular-season match to the Sounders in Seattle since May 27, 2017. That stretch now includes five wins and two draws.

Seattle has won five of the past six matches in Portland.

The first Cascadia showdown between the rivals this season was supposed to be an all day celebration of the Sounders becoming the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League in May — along with facing the Timbers.

Portland had other ideas, leaving Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer bothered by the performance on a day with so much hoopla.

“We were able to unfurl something that we put a lot of effort into. Even understanding that our opponent would be motivated because we did something that they have not and to fall flat on our faces like that really sucks,” Schmetzer said.

Niezgoda’s seventh goal of the season gave Portland the early advantage and the Timbers took advantage of Seattle playing nearly the entire second half with just 10 men after Sounders’ defender Jackson Ragen was sent off following a second yellow card moments into the second half.

The Timbers are unbeaten in their past five league matches.

“The most important thing is three points, the win, because we need to accumulate points and get wins,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. “It has a nicer taste because you play your rival, and play in their home and you’re able to execute a game like this and get a good win is double the reward.”

Niezgoda’s goal came when the Polish striker slipped free from the defense and Sebastián Blanco’s cross was placed perfectly at the back post. Moreno’s penalty kick goal came in the 82nd minute following a video review that determined there was a handball on Seattle in the penalty area. Asprilla added the capper three minutes later as Seattle pushed numbers forward.

On top of the already simmering rivalry, Seattle added several additional jabs by celebrating the club’s Champions League title. Seattle became the first MLS team to win the competition in its current format when it defeated LigaMX club Pumas in the final in May.

The ceremony included the unveiling of the CCL championship banner hanging from the roof of Lumen Field.

“We’re here to celebrate the title that we won, and they didn’t!” Seattle minority owner Drew Carey said during the pregame ceremony standing just a few feet away from the Portland bench.

But the Sounders were left to rue their missed opportunities in the first half. Nicolás Lodeiro had an early chance denied on a reaction save by Portland goalkeeper Aljaž Ivacic. Claudio Bravo saved Ragen’s header off the goal line and Seattle striker Raúl Ruidíaz hit the post from about 10 yards out late in the first half.

CHARLOTTE FC 4, NASHVILLE SC 1

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Defender Christian Fuchs scored on a first-half penalty kick and Charlotte FC pulled away late for a 4-1 victory over Nashville SC. Fuchs gave Charlotte (8-10-2) the lead for good in the 26th minute with his second goal of the season. Charlotte broke the match open with second-half goals by Karol Swiderski (61st minute), Sergio Ruiz (89th) and Andre Shinyashiki in the first minute of stoppage time. Hany Mukhtar pulled Nashville (7-6-6) within a goal when he scored on a penalty kick in the 67th minute.

AUSTIN FC 3, ATLANTA 0

ATLANTA — Felipe Martins and Ethan Finlay scored early goals, Sebastián Driussi added his 11th of the season in the second half and Austin FC rolled to a 3-0 victory on extended Atlanta United’s winless streak to four. Injury-ravaged Atlanta, missing defender Miles Robinson and goalkeeper Brad Guzan (Achilles). defender Brooks Lennon (knee) and midfielders Osvaldo Alonso (knee) and Emerson Hyndman (quadriceps), has three losses and a draw since a June 19 win over Miami. Atlanta has one win in its last eight games.

SAN JOSE 2, TORONTO FC 2

TORONTO — Jack Skahan scored his first MLS goal in stoppage time to give the San Jose Earthquakes a 2-2 tie with Toronto FC on Saturday night. Skahan beat goalkeeper Quentin Westberg in the 92nd minute after an attempted clearance by Ifunanyachi Achara sent it back into the penalty box. Jeremy Ebobisse opened the scoring for San Jose (4-7-7) in the 26th minute with his 10th goal of the season. Deandre Kerr and Jonathan Osorio scored for Toronto (5-10-4) . Kerr tied it in the 71st, and Osorio gave the Reds the lead four minutes later.

SPORTING KC 2, MONTREAL 1

MONTREAL — Remi Walter broke a tie in the 63rd minute in Sporting Kansas City’s 2-1 victory over Montreal on Saturday night. Walter powered through the defense for the winner. Roger Espinoza tied it for Kansas City (5-11-4) in the 29th. Romell Quioto opened the scoring for Montreal (9-8-2) in the 13th.

NY RED BULLS 1, FC CINCINNATI 1

CINCINNATI (AP) — Brandon Vázquez scored in the 20th minute and FC Cincinnati held on for a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls, despite losing two players to red cards in the second half. Vázquez’s ninth goal of the season gave Cincinnati (7-7-5) the lead, but Lewis Morgan scored the equalizer for the Red Bulls (9-5-6) in the 29th minute on a penalty kick. It was also Morgan’s ninth goal in league play. Cincinnati lost Allan Cruz in the 58th minute when he picked up a second yellow card. Luciano Acosta was sent off in the third minute of stoppage time for violent conduct.

COLUMBUS 3, CHICAGO 2

CHICAGO — Cucho Hernández got the go-ahead goal in his Columbus debut after substitute Derrick Etienne scored twice in a 12-minute span of the second half as the Crew rallied to beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 and extend their unbeaten streak to six. Hernández, a 23-year-old Colombian who scored five league goals last season for England’s Watford, joined the Crew last month for what Columbus said was the largest acquisition fee in its history. Hernández scored in the 83rd minute. Etienne cut a two-goal deficit in half in the 63rd minute and scored the equalizer in the 75th for Columbus (6-5-7).

HOUSTON 2, FC DALLAS 2

HOUSTON (AP) — Defender Teenage Hadebe scored in the 11th minute of second-half stoppage time after Jesús Ferreira’s goal eight minutes earlier had give FC Dallas the lead and the Houston Dynamo earned a 2-2 draw. Ferreira kept pace with Austin FC’s Sebastián Driussi with his 11th goal of the season — one behind front-runner Valentín Castellanos of New York City FC in the race for the Golden Boot. Dallas (7-5-7) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute on a goal by Matt Hedges. Houston (6-9-4) answered with Thorleifur Úlfarsson’s goal in the 69th minute to knot the score.

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