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.
“I think that was first time for me to play in front of so many fans,” Portland goalkeeper Aljaž Ivačič 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 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 Ivačič. 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.
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