Portland Timbers thrash rival Seattle Sounders 3-0 on the road


A 3-0 win on the road is sweet, but it’s even sweeter when it comes over your rivals. Especially when that rival intentionally chose to raise a championship banner on the day of your visit.

CONCACAF Champions League banner be damned, the Portland Timbers pummeled the Seattle Sounders 3-0 on Saturday at Lumen Field. Seattle played nearly the entire second half with 10 men and Portland took advantage, scoring two late goals to balloon their lead.

After their largest-ever margin of victory in Seattle, the Timbers (6-6-8, 26 points) are now tied for eighth in the Western Conference with the Sounders (8-8-2, 26 points).

“Always difficult to come and play Seattle and to play here in this city,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. “This Clasico, Darby, this rivalry, it’s one of the best. Being part of this game today is a privilege. Extremely proud of the performance of the guys. I thought we managed many things well. Definitely we can continue to improve in some areas, but I thought we did things with a lot of maturity and we stuck with the plan.”

The ever-present physicality in these rivalry matchups was evident from the opening whistle, with Eryk Williamson picking up the game’s first yellow card in the 6th minute for Portland.

In the ninth minute, Sebastian Blanco found his first chance of the game from in close, but it was saved easily. Six minutes later, an onslaught of chances for Seattle began in earnest with a shot from Albert Rusnak, and it continued one minute later as Nicolas Lodeiro fired one in on the feed from Jordan Morris.

The most lethal chance of the opening moments for Seattle came in the 17th minute on the header by Jackson Ragen, but it was cleared off the line deftly by Timbers defender Claudio Bravo.

Despite playing back on its heels for much of the first half, Portland broke through for a goal in the 24th minute on the counterattack. A perfect cross in from Blanco met the head of Jaroslaw Niezgoda, who put it in to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead.

“Just very happy for the win,” Timbers goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic said. “We were fighting, especially at the beginning. In the first half, we were defending a lot, and we were struggling. That’s team effort. I’m really happy for the team that we got three points, especially for the fans because I know how much that means for them.”

Seattle had 10 shots to Portland’s three in the first half, and it likely felt like it should have had one more from the spot. In the 38th minute, Josecarlos Van Rankin appeared to commit a clear foul on the Sounders in the box, but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) opted not to call a penalty.

A powerful shot from Raul Ruidiaz in the 45th minute glanced off the post, another break for Portland. Moments later, Ragen picked up his first yellow card for the Sounders, a moment that seemed insignificant at the time but soon proved crucial.

Less than 30 seconds into the second half, Ragen made a dangerous challenge on Williamson and was given his second yellow card. With Ragen sent off due to a red, Seattle was forced to play with 10 men the rest of the way.

“I feel that after the red card, we had more space to go forward,” midfielder Diego Chara said. “I think, sometimes, we lost the ball in the middle, and Seattle was dangerous a couple times. But we created a lot of opportunities, and we were effective in using and taking advantage of those spaces.”

Portland had myriad chances at goal in the ensuing minutes but wasn’t able to convert. On the other end, after a foul by Bravo on the edge of the box in the 57th minute, Yimmi Chara picked up a yellow card for dissent after vociferously disagreeing with the call.

Cristian Roldan picked up a yellow card for Seattle in the 70th minute. Throughout that middle stretch of the second half, despite being down a man, the Sounders had plenty of quality runs on the attack. The Timbers, meanwhile, reverted into middling form and struggled to possess.

Likely to try and alleviate some of the clearly tired legs on the field, Savarese brought Marvin Loria and Dairon Asprilla on for Yimmi Chara and Blanco in the 74th minute as Portland clung to its lead.

Portland finally put a quality run together in the 79th minute as Santiago Moreno put the ball on-target, forcing Seattle defender Nouhou Tolo into an awkward position where he committed a handball inside the box. After VAR awarded Portland the PK, Moreno stepped up to the spot and nailed it in the 82nd minute to make it 2-0.

The Timbers weren’t done, either. Portland went up 3-0 in the 85th minute as Moreno played a ball far ahead to Niezgoda, who dropped it back to Asprilla for the easy goal.

Serving as icing on the Timbers’ imperfect cake, Diego Chara picked up a yellow card in the 87th minute. The Timbers left Lumen Field the convincing victors, though, and return home sporting Chara-like smiles.

“It feels great,” Chara said. “We know how important this game is for the city, the fans, the club, for us as players. We came today here and made the effort we could in the game and scored the goals we scored. I think it feels great tonight.”

Portland’s next match is a return home to Providence Park to face the Vancouver Whitecaps, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 17 (TV on Fox 12 Plus).

— Ryan Clarke, rclarke@oregonian.com

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