With Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin, Major League Soccer and the Seattle Sounders continue to bask in the World Cups’ afterglow. Multiple media outlets: ESPN, Huffington Post, and more discussed Sunday’s night Cascadia rivalry. Richard Farley at The Guardian had an especially insightful article. Farley discussed the sheer mass of interest that accompanies Portland-Seattle, and the rising quality of the Seattle franchise:
Of the 11 MLS crowds that have passed 60,000 people, the Seattle Sounders have hosted six. Sunday brought the latest as a derby with Portland, positioned as a post-World Cup showcase, drew 64,207 to CenturyLink Field.
Between that rivalry, the atmosphere, and the returns of Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin, MLS gave ESPN its best chance to convert some of the network’s prodigious World Cup audience.
Both stars were in the Sounders lineup for the teams’ second meeting in five days. If any of the players felt any lingering effects from Wednesday’s 120 minutes in the US Open Cup, they were not apparent early on as a combative battle in midfield led to multiple collisions between Osvaldo Alonso and Will Johnson. The friction produced a stalemate at halftime, with Portland having registered the only shot on goal.
Though Caleb Porter seemed satisfied with his team’s performance, Portland have slowly slipped toward the bottom of the West. Coming into the game, the Timbers sat eighth. Though a point in Seattle would be satisfactory, wins are becoming more imperative for the Timbers, whose West-worst defense was facing one of the league’s best attacks.
In Sunday’s second half, that poor defending returned, with Portland’s midfield offering little resistance to a Seattle team that finished the match with 10 shots on goal. With Marco Pappa playing in from the wing, Seattle were able to balance Portland’s numerical edge in the middle, swinging the game in their favor.
I didn’t know the specific data regarding Seattle hosting more than half of the largest crowds in MSL history. Though it makes sense it is still very impressive. I also like how the writer takes the time to point out Portland’s dwindling playoff chances. It looks more and more like last year was a fluke, not a new beginning. I don’t want to count my chickens, but… Portland might just be returning to the cellar where they belong.