Timbers

Seattle Sounders remind Portland Timbers they're defending MLS Cup Champs

Timbers

Following the MLS is Back Tournament, many around the league felt that in the grand scheme of things that trophy didn't mean anything. 

Meanwhile, the Tournament Champion Portland Timbers wanted to prove that their undefeated streak inside the Orlando bubble wasn't a fluke and build upon their momentum during the MLS regular season.

Well, the defending MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders told Portland they're not in Orlando anymore with a decisive 3-0 victory at Providence Park Sunday evening. 

Seattle's official account even got a jab in following the match.

While no fans were in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic, it appears that in the final 20 minutes Portland followed the lead of its supporters by being absent.

Seattle scored three goals in 13 minutes during the 72nd, 83rd, and 85th minutes with Sounders striker Raúl Ruidíaz scoring two and assisting the third goal to Kelvin Leerdam. What seemed like a closely contested rivalry contest turned into an embarrassing result quickly for Portland.

"We're all going to sleep a little bit poorly tonight but it's got to be a quick turnaround," said defender Chris Duvall.

It was the first game of the restart of the MLS regular season. With the win, Seattle jumped to second in the West with 11 points, surpassing Portland who dropped to fourth with 10 points. 

The Timbers appeared to get on the board early when Duvall got one in the back of the net from the top of the box off a free-kick rebound, but Eryk Williamson was ruled offside by VAR, negating the goal. 

 

"It could have gone a different way if we're the ones to score the first goal. I think that's the way rivalry games always look. If you are able to put away your chances then that intensity, that momentum falls your way," said Duvall. 

Seattle had just one shot in the first half but a dominant finish to the game made the game look much more lopsided than it seemed from the eye test. Portland missed multiple opportunities to get the lead in the first half and the Sounders converted their opportunities when they came towards the end of the match. 

As for what changed at halftime, Duvall claimed "nothing" and that "up until [Seattle's] first goal the game looked fairly the same as it did in the first half." 

"We had much better chances in the first half, I think we were the better team in the first half," said Duvall. "In the second half, I think it just looked like the way a rivalry game between two good teams usually looks. It was an even battle and then... once they scored a goal they kind of deflated us." 

Portland won't have to wait long to get much-desired revenge. The Timbers travel to Seattle in just two weeks on Sunday, September 6th at 7:00 p.m. PT. 

Until then, Portland needs to focus on getting points to secure playoff position if the franchise has hopes of claiming an MLS Cup Championship as well this season and head coach Giovanni Savarese isn't worried about his squad. 

"We need to continue to work," said Savarese. "I still believe we have an amazing team. Great group of guys we just have to make sure we bring the most poise that we can in these five games that we have. We are in a good situation still to fight to the top."

"Regardless of how long it might usually take us to bounce back from something like this, we don't have time to sulk on it... We've got to move on," added Duvall. 

Next, Portland travels south to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes on Wednesday, August 26th at 7:30 p.m. PT.