Timbers pull off a stunner at Jeld-Wen
In another must-win game at home against an imposing foe, the Portland Timbers pulled off an unforseen 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders in an MLS match Sunday at Jeld-Wen Field.
Having lost to an amatuer team in U.S. Open Cup play three weeks ago, and then to the LA Galaxy last week to fall into last place in the Western Conference, the Timbers outhustled their Cascadia Cup rivals from Washington through the opening 45 minutes, which ended with a 2-0 lead, then survived a foul-plagued second half.
Kris Boyd scored his fifth goal on the season and David Horst scored his first goals as the Timbers improved to 4-6-4, 16 points, with all four wins coming on their home turf.
"It was a tremendous performance, especially in the first half," Portland coach John Spencer said. "I'm very happy with the win and the three points."
Seattle, which got a goal from Eddie Johnson, dropped to 7-5-4, 25 points, and remained without a win in league play since May 9.
Portland plays at Colorado, 6-8-1, 19 points, Saturday. The Timbers moved out of last place in the West with the win.
The Timbers fell into last place primarily because other teams passed them, namely the defending league champion Galaxy. Portland, once rated No. 18 of the league's 19 teams, had seemed to have its season back on a positive track after going 2-1-3 beginning with a 1-0 win over league-leading Kansas City, April 21, at Jeld-Wen - the first of its must-win games.
But, after a 1-1 draw with Vancouver, May26, the Timbers fell 1-0 to Cal FC, an amatuer club, in U.S. Open play - at home - and then struggled mightily at Los Angeles last week, causing plenty of commentary all week about the level of effort from players in support of their coach. They took care of those comments from the opening kick, simply outhustling the Sounders across the field for 45 minutes.
"It's part of playing for a club that expects results," said Boyd, who came to Portland prior to the seaosn as the all-time leading scorer in Scotland's Premier League. "I've been in that environment my whole career and it's no different here.
"We definitely didn't want to be isolated at the bottom of the league, so we needed the three points and needed to put forth the effort to make that happen."
Portland took the lead in the Cascadia Cup standings with the win with four points, which leads the Souders and Whitecaps by two points.
The teams combined to make Sunday's game entertaining from the outset with Seattle firing off 15 shots, while Portland had 13. Of the 28 shots, 17 were from inside the penalty box.
Both teams had a player sent off in extra time at the end of the second half. Fredy Montero of Seattle, then Lovel Palmer of Portland were sent off by referee Ricardo Salazar for fighting.
Seattle, which won five straight games earlier and led the Western Conference on May 19, has not scored twice in a game since the 2-all tie with Vancouver, May 19. In their last seven games, the Sounders are 0-4-3.
"Seattle can talk a good game, like anyone, but they're in the a pretty tough situation," Boyd said. "They haven't won in six or seven games.
"It feels good to win a big game like this, but it's over and now we have to look forward to preparing for Colorado."