Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: Detox

Another pivotal chapter was written in the Cascadian Book of Hate after a 3-1 extra time victory by the Portland Timbers over your Seattle Sounders. I decided to hold off on my live USWNT recap due to the wild crazy events that took place Tuesday night at Starfire.

Every Sounders-Timbers match is potentially the stuff of legend. This last one sure didn’t disappoint. That is unless, you are a Sounders fan. Losing to the Timbers sucks. Hard. I hate them, and we sure didn’t need another reason to pile on the hate. However.

It was only the Open Cup. Being knocked out early sinks, but it could be a blessing. The Sounders are no longer dependent on the Open Cup as the opportunity to find quality minutes for the young guns. Not with S2 fully operational. So losing only really keeps us from… winning another Open Cup?

I don’t want to treat “our” trophy lightly, but we’ve won that silverware so many times. I’m still #hellagreedy, it’s just the Sounders have other goals this season. With CCL and the dog days of the MLS season approaching, missing the USOC eases fixture congestion. If losing to the Timbers helps us stay sharp and keep our focus on winning two previously unsummited tournaments, the MLS Cup Playoffs and CCL, then I’ll gladly suffer the loss. But then again we said something similar to this back in 2013 after the Tampa Bar Rowdies roughed us up, and that season fell apart. At least we can point to the boondoggle that was two MLS clubs facing off so early and take solace in not getting shellacked by a JV team.

Speaking of the JV, Sigi started quite the mixed lineup on Tuesday. Perkins, Kovar and Fisher in the back five; Azira, Rose, Roldan AND Leo in the midfield? It doesn’t hurt too bad to lose when you know started a B- lineup. Especially because Seattle’s motley crew lost to a full strength Timbers squad. And Portland needed a 4-man advantage to ice it. C’est la vie. Clearly Sigi wasn’t all out like Caleb Porter. I’m sure those in Stumptown are feeling warm and fuzzy inside but, c’mon guys, you barely beat S1.5. As Sigi said, our boys “fought like lions.”

The only downside to their grit was the amount of minutes logged. Sigi was clearly looking at rationing minutes and keeping guys fresh for the upcoming stretch of key league games. But with the madness of the game, key players like Dempsey, Marshall, and Neagle all clocked serious minutes. And then Oba. Oh lord, Oba. Martins was stretchered off the field after untimely collision with the overrated Darlington Nagbe. Oba underwent an MRI yesterday and the results should be revealed sometime today. Prognosticators predict a bad result (sports hernia, broken rib?). Starting a weak team to save the big boys only works if you don’t end up throwing said big boys into a meat grinder.

And then there is the curious case of Clint Dempsey. Dempsey gets heated. In a game like Tuesday’s, Dempsey got heated. Then he… ripped the logbook from the ref’s pocket and proceeded to shred it. That got him a straight red and possibly a huge suspension. MLS and USSF will need to decide how to discipline his actions, but it could be pretty darn serious.

That said, I’m glad Deuce stood up for Azira. These two Sounders come from a very different pedigree. Azira has played in the USL and Deuce the World Cup. The Sounders all share a tight bond. Upon Azira’s bogus red card, Deuce got heated. He got mad for Azira, mad for Seattle. Dempsey was standing up for Seattle. That was great to see. Not only does it highlight a real esprit de corps within the Rave Green, but also that Dempsey takes being a Sounder very, very seriously. Sure, some people will write it off as Deuce being a punk, but I loved it.

 

  • Timber Matty

    It’s fun to hear you try and soften this one up, Brent. But please allow me to offer a differing perspective on a few of your key points:

    First off, the Timbers were not at full strength; we were missing Will Johnson & Diego Chara, Valeri is fresh off of two injuries, and we started Paparatto in the back instead of our DP Ridgy. Can we call that a T1.5 defense?

    Second, I hate to see any player get injured, and especially such a dynamic player like Oba. But let’s be real – it wasn’t an untimely collision, it was a poor tackle by Oba where he overextended himself and gave up his body to get that tackle and paid the price. Did you see how he rolled up on Nagbe’s ankle and then wrapped up his leg as they were rolling? I think he was trying to take Nagbe out (because he was upset he got beat on the dribble by that underrated player) and it backfired. Anyways, I hope he’s not hurt too badly.

    Third, Azira definitely deserved that red card. Nothing about his elbow to the grill was accidental – in fact, two seconds earlier he threw an elbow into Urruti’s face, and I think the ref saw that as accidental, but two elbows to the face in just a few seconds? Fully intentional. And if it’s not intentional, perhaps Azira needs to learn to keep his arms by his sides while playing his sport.

    Finally, Dempsey. What an embarrassment. He’s supposed to be a role model in American soccer, and instead he’s throwing temper tantrums and teaching kids it’s okay to act like that to a ref. No wonder Seattle fans were booing with fervor and throwing trash at the players and supporters, with somebody like Dempsey leading the way. I suppose maybe he doesn’t get paid enough to control himself.

    Anyways, sorry to troll your blog, I love what you’re doing here. I just knew there would be something up about the game and had to come check it out.

  • pacjake

    Dempsey shredding the ref’s notebook was hilarious and maybe understandable, but shouldn’t be remotely acceptable. A 3-game suspension from MLS probably isn’t enough, really, but the response from the Rose City faithful will be entertaining too. Let the hand-wringing and concern trolling commence!

    • Mrs. Ravinggreen

      Totally agree, Pacjake — hilarious, but not okay, ultimately. Also, I can’t help but wonder if the Portland fans would be a bit more concerned about the quality of the ref, and less on their high horse about Dempsey’s little outburst, had even one of those cards been pointed at a Timber!

      This was a weird outlier for me, because it’s the first high drama Seattle/Portland meeting where I am not actually mad at the Timbers after the match, not even Jack Jewsbury who I have an irrational dislike for. Okay, Urruti celebrating like he’d just done something amazing when he scored on a 7-man Sounders team was a little irritating… but my ire is almost entirely reserved for whoever did the referee assignments for this game, and who didn’t reconsider their choice even AFTER the Sounders protested. I think it’s a little rich that the referees’ association is up in arms about Dempsey’s “slap on the wrist” without acknowledging *even a tiny bit* that the referee assignment, and the ref himself, might have contributed to the situation spiraling way, way out of control.

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