PORTLAND, Ore. – First impressions from Seattle’s 4-2 victory over rival Portland on Sunday at Providence Park through two goals from Obafemi Martins and one each from Clint Dempsey and Chad Barrett.
– What swoon?
Any accusations that Seattle had lost all of its attacking mojo were ripped up as thoroughly as Portland’s defense during a dominant opening 45 minutes.
The Sounders were sharp from front to back — look no further than full-team efforts that set up the first-half goals.
On the first, a Timbers possession was squeezed out in the middle of the field before DeAndre Yedlin played Brad Evans into space down the right. Evans beat Liam Ridgewell to the endline and cut a pass back for Martins to finish.
On the second, a Timbers corner was flipped into a Sounders counter by Marco Pappa’s heel flick, and Martins played a pinpoint pass at Dempsey’s feet for the goal.
Seattle’s control of the match was so comprehensive that by the time Dempsey and Martins tangled two-on-four with the Timbers back line in the 45th minute, you half expected the strikers to prevail.
The second half was more even, but Martins’ dance through three Timbers defenders and finish past Donovan Ricketts to make it 4-1 10 minutes from the final whistle spoke for itself.
– Strikers regain scoring touch
Dempsey and Martins entered the match with 17 combined league goals, but just one of them had come since the second week of June, a drought helped by Dempsey’s absence for the World Cup and fatigue since.
Defender Zach Scott, though, said last week the lack of production was down more to lack of service than anything else.
And the clinical finishes from the two starting strikers was similarly helped along by teammates, the ones who kept space locked down at the back and open up top.
Barrett – one man having no trouble scoring as of late – finished off another end-to-end goal in the 69th keep the nerves settled even once Fanendo Adi pulled one back for Portland three minutes later and bagged another in stoppage time.
– Tempers flared from the start
The Timbers Army brought the simmering pre-match atmosphere to a boil with a tifo that somehow combined Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz with a burning Seattle skyline.
It didn’t take long for tempers to flare on the pitch, as well.
Will Johnson sent a full-sprint Yedlin to the turf in the third minute and Liam Ridgewell picked up the match’s first yellow card when he bear-hugged Dempsey on a counterattack 20 minutes later.
Chad Marshall occasioned a yellow in the 38th when he took a high elbow from Norberto Paparatto to the head then picked up one himself less than a minute into the second half for a tackle from behind.
The second half was broken up by whistles and interrupted by wrestling moves on the ball, with six cards in total being handed out.