Portland Timbers Dramatic Win Against Seattle Sounders
MLS Soccer Keeps Getting Better and Better. Portland Timbers registers a 4-2 win on penalties in one of the wildest, back and forth action packed matches and qualifies for third Western Conference Championship appearance in six seasons.
Soccer News: If soccer was only this exciting every match — it would easily be the number one sport in America.
It was a fabulous game to remember. And everything was on the line. One team was going to advance to the MLS Western Conference Championship and both teams were tied on aggregate goals after regulation. And they were tied after two exciting 15-minute halves of extra time.
Then Portland Timbers advanced to their third Western Conference Championship in six seasons with a dramatic 4-2 win on penalty kicks against Seattle Sounders FC.
This was the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs in front of 39,542 delighted soccer loving fans at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night.
Sebastián Blanco and Dairon Asprilla each scored goals for the Timbers during the match, but a penalty kick in the second extra time by Sounders FC sent the match to penalty kicks tied 4-4 on aggregate goals.
In the penalty-kick shootout, Jeff Attinella saved Osvaldo Alonso’s attempt in the third round and Asprilla converted the Timbers final penalty to give Portland the victory in the shootout.
Portland will square off against either No. 1 seed Sporting Kansas City or No. 6 Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, Nov. 25, with the lower-seeded team playing host to the first leg. Kickoff time and broadcast information will be determined at the conclusion of the conference semifinals series.
How good is Portland?
Portland has now appeared in the conference championship three times (2013, 2015, 2018) in its last six seasons.
In 15 MLS playoff matches, the Timbers have posted a mark of 7-4-4 with 25 goals scored. The goals-per-game average of 1.67 is fourth-highest among all MLS teams.
What Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said:
On how he is feeling after the match…
“More than what I’m feeling is how exciting the game was for everybody that came to watch. I felt it didn’t disappoint. Seattle and Portland brought the rivalry to this match and it was incredible. There were moments when they scored that it looked like it was going to be difficult for us. It went back and forth, back and forth, all the way to PKs. I think it delivered a very good match.”
On the team’s ability to keep bouncing back…
“We believed in ourselves. We believed we could achieve great things together. The guys fought the entire match against a very good team. A team that wanted to give us everything they had today and I am just very proud of the performance of our team.”
On the character of the team during the shootout…
“A lot of personality, character. What I told them is, ‘Just enjoy it. Go there and have fun. Take responsibility.’ And everybody wanted to take a PK, so that was fantastic.”
What Seattle Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer said
On his emotions throughout extra time and penalties…
“Obviously, we’re down now. So, the end result was not good. But, certainly, there were moments of joy and euphoria – happiness, thinking you had the game in control and then it’s snatched away from you. It’s always challenging. It’s always hard. I think one constant from all the ups and downs was, again, the mentality of that group, the fight of that group. When it went low, they picked themselves up. During the highs, you could just tell. You could just see on the field that they were in that moment. At the end of the day, Portland is going through.”
On what he says to his players after a loss like this…
“Not a lot. I’m actually at a loss for words because they put everything into the game. So, you can’t fault them for effort, you can’t fault them for tactics, you can’t fault them for sticking together. They never quit. So, you just thank them for all of the effort and all of the work that they put in throughout the whole season. You just try to get them to individually take away all of the good things they had during the season.”
Timbers’ Player To Watch
Diego Valeri has tallied a goal or an assist in each of the Timbers first three playoff matches in 2018, tallying his seventh career playoff assist in the second leg against Seattle. His seven assists are the most playoff assists of any active MLS player.
In Valeri’s last eight playoff games, he has three goals and six assists.
- Portland has knocked Seattle out of the playoffs three times in the club’s history across all eras (1975, 2013, 2018).
- Since MLS returned to the two-conference playoff format, the 2018 Timbers are just the second Western Conference team to score two or more goals in each of their first three matches of a single postseason. The only other Western Conference team to accomplish this was the 2013 Timbers.
- The penalty-kick shootout was the fourth in a competitive match in all eras of the club, joining 2007 USL Playoffs vs. Atlanta Silverbacks, 2010 U.S. Open Cup third round vs. Seattle and 2015 MLS Knockout Round vs. Sporting Kansas City.
- For the second consecutive match, Sebastián Blanco scored for Portland. The goal was Blanco’s third against Seattle this season.
- Blanco is the first Timbers player to score multiple playoff goals against Sounders FC.
- Dairon Asprilla scored his third career playoff goal for Portland. Asprilla ranks second for most playoff goals by a Timbers player in all eras of the club.
- Asprilla is one of two Timbers players to score in three different postseasons for the club, having scored in 2015, 2017 and 2018, joining Valeri.
- Asprilla also delivered an assist in the match. It was Asprilla’s fourth career assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Andrés Flores made his MLS Cup Playoffs debut in the match.
- Alvas Powell made his 2018 postseason debut, appearing in his ninth career playoff match for the Timbers.
- The match was the 104th meeting overall between the Timbers and Sounders, dating back to 1975. It marked the ninth playoff match between the two clubs and the fourth postseason meeting in MLS era.
SEA: Ruidíaz, 68
POR: Blanco (Asprilla), 78
SEA: Ruidíaz, 90+3
POR: Asprilla (Valeri), 93
SEA: Lodeiro (penalty kick), 97
1 POR: Melano – Goal
1 SEA: Ruidíaz – Goal
2 POR: Valeri – Goal
2 SEA: Bruin – Missed
3 POR: Blanco – Goal
3 SEA: Alonso – Saved
4 POR: Ridgewell – Saved
4 SEA: Bwana – Goal
5 POR: Asprilla – Goal
Images: Portland Timbers