The Seattle Sounders won BIG against their blood rivals, the Portland Timbers, Sunday night in Sodo.
The hugeness of the victory cannot be understated: 6 points in the Western Conference, 3 points towards the Cascadia Cup, climbing back above the thin red line, Ozzie’s return and, maybe most important of all, we beat Portland. That’s what we do. It’s nice to be reminded what reality you live in. We most definitely live in the Seattle > Portland reality.
The win was big but the game wasn’t exactly pretty. The Timbers were the “better” team on the balance of the night, especially in the first half. The Timbers, passing crisply, dominated possession in the midfield and sparked surge after surge of attacks. Portland vastly outplayed us, putting 13 shots on goal before intermission to our 3. But. Goals change games and Obafemi Martins is a game changer.
Portland can point to their first half stats all they want, but Seattle got the numbers that matter. Oba and Valdez were trying to start a little linkup early in the match, the ball was pinballing possession between the two teams, but Oba persisted in a scrum of Timbers ‘til he found himself with a sitter on Kwarasey’s doorstep. 1-0 Seattle.
Seattle’s second goal, also created by Oba, was a tad more complicated. Mears found Oba alone and boomed one over the top. Oba gave chase until Kwarasey stonewalled him in the box. Sure, the call was controversial, as Taylor Twellman and Ian Darke constantly reminded us, but soccer is a subjective game.
If Oba’s first touch was a “shot on goal” then Kwarasey had every right to stand his ground, but if Oba’s touch was just to control the ball and set up his goal scoring opportunity, then Kwarasey fouled Oba by denying him that chance. Despite the whining you hear emanating north from Pee-Town, the call was solid. Clearly the ref saw the latter reality and his perception is the only one that matters. And honestly Timbers fans, do you really think that first touch was Oba’s attempt on goal? Oba don’t have bad touches in the goalmouth, unlike some Argentinians I can name (*cough* Melano *cough* Urruti).
Sure the second half saw Jewsbury get one back, but the game was pretty well in hand. Portland managed 7 more shots to our 3 in the final 45, and that makes sense. They were chasing the game. So Timbers fans can take their bawling about refs, and stats and shove it. We got the W, all three points when it mattered. Did we get lucky? Sure. But you make your own luck and Seattle is just warming up.