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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders—High-Pitched Live Blog Action!

Posted by Brian Gjurgevich on Sat, Apr 5, 2014 at 11:45 AM

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LIVE from Goose Hollow, where your Portland Timbers host your brother-in-law's Seattle Sounders in a matinee melee at Providence Park.

A wise man once asked us, "What do you do with the mad that you feel?"

And though Mr. Rogers (a personal hero) was talking about something far removed from footy, his question certainly applies these days 'round Timberland. Portland's towering expectations have thinned out a bit, as an 0-2-2 start (and two straight defeats) have fans eyeing—but not yet pressing—the panic button.

Solution: Won't you beat thy neighbor?

A victory today against their most bitter rivals could change the narrative on the Timbers' 2014 campaign faster than you can say "cardigan."

It's derby day in Cascadia! So click past the jump and follow along, as I deftly describe the action—on and off the pitch.

LINEUPS:
Seattle's First XI—(2-2-0, 6 pts)—Stefan Frei in goal. DeAndre Yedlin, Chad Marshall, Jalil Anibaba and Leo Gonzalez on defense. Michael Azira, Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda at midfield. Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Kenny Cooper up front.
Available: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Marco Pappa, Lamar Neagle, Kevin Parsemain, Chad Barrett, Dylan Remick .

Portland's First XI—(0-2-2, 2 pts)—Andrew Weber in goal. Alvas Powell, Norberto Paparatto, Pa Kah and Michael Harrington on defense. Diego Chara, Diego Valeri and Capt. Will Johnson at midfield. Darlington Nagbe, Max Urruti and Kalif Alhassan up front.
Riding pine: Jake Gleeson, Futty Danso, Jack Jewsbury, Ben Zemanski, Gaston Fernandez, Steve Zakuani, Frederic Piquionne.

PREGAME: Grey skies and soggy conditions on the pitch and we have a bit of a late-arriving/don't-want-to-sit in-the-rain crowd. The exception, of course, being Timbers Army and Seattle's supporters, who've been screaming at an empty field for the better part of two hours.

Sounders fans travel with drums and a bullhorn, neither of which are annoying at all. At all.

Some surprises in Portland's lineup this afternoon. Powell starts in back for Cap'n Jack while Fernandez—who's scored two of the Timbers' three goals this season—starts this one on the bench.

A couple new in-stadium advertisements caught my eye when I walked in. In the Southeast corner, we have a giant 76 antennae ball. In the Northeast corner, a giant block of Tillamook cheese has replaced a poster of Nagbe. For the record, it's medium cheddar. They couldn't afford the sharp?

Lineup announcements: Former Timber Kenny Cooper gets Boo-urns-ed (I think). Dempsey gets straight-up booed. Harrington gets the biggest cheer among PTFCers.

Timbers in their first-choice green-shirt, white-short combo. Sounders dressing like their kit sponsor XBOX, with neon green shorts and black blouses. Not the best look.

FIRST HALF: Timbers heading to the Southern Front. Timbers Army chanting "FUCK SEATTLE!" which seems appropriate...and away we go!

1st minute—Direct stuff at first. Somewhere John Spencer is smiling. Timbers bring it ahead and Chara looks for Urruti, who's tripped up.

2nd—Alonso fires from distance and it's off Paparatto's head. Here comes the first corner of the day.

3rdSOUNDERS GOAL! Cooper stuns this crowd with an easy goal right in front. Wow. Corner goes all the way through and Anibaba is completely unmarked. He volley-pokes it on-goal and Cooper is there to finish it. Timbers calling for an offside whistle, but they won't get it. Sounders lead, 1-0. Yikes.

5th—Nagbe fouled hard by Azira about 45 yards out, and the former will be issued a yellow card. Valeri sends in a floater to the far corner for Paparatto, but it's just a bit much. He was offside anyway. Goal kick coming for Seattle.

9thTIMBERS GOAL! It's Chara! His first goal since 2012 and it was vintage Chara. He pounces on a throw-in and dribbles it forward, firing a shot past a driving Frei. What a great effort there and Chara is rewarded. We're tied, 1-1.

10th—HUGE SAVE BY WEBER on a great shot by Cooper. Outstanding early save for Weber, and that's huge for a keeper at this stage of the match.

11th—NAGBE HITS THE POST! Some great action here as Nagbe spins around Alonso after a great pass from Powell. He dribbles into the box and fires, but it catches woodwork. It rebounds right in front for Valeri, but he's dragged down and can't knock it home.

14thTIMBERS GOAL! Valeri knocks one home after a lovely spin move after a pass into the box from Harrington. Valeri had his back to goal with a defender in his back pocket. He spins and somehow elevates a shot over Frei to give Portland a 2-1 lead. Wow, this game is nuts. What a response by Portland after going down early.

20th—Alhassan fouled in a dangerous spot by Gonzales. He's about 20 yards out, near the top right corner of the box.

21st—Valeri sends it right into Martin's head and it falls to Alhassan. He tries to nutmeg a Sounders defender, but to no avail.

24thSOUNDERS GOAL! And it's Dempsey! A complete defensive breakdown from Portland there. A couple easy touches and Martins finds Dempsey wiiiiiiiiiiide open in front. He touches it past Weber and we're tied at 2.

26th—Timbers with a corner and Valeri sends it in. It's right to Paparrato and he tries a side-footed volley, but it goes just wide. Surprised he got that open there, and really needs to at least put that on frame. Missed opportunity as Paparatto's defender slipped and left him unmarked.

30th—Pineda fouls Johnson hard, long after Johnson had made a pass. Johnson with LOTS of words for Pineda, even after the card is pulled. Yeah, you probably don't want to get WJ more fired up than he already is.

33rd—Kah picks up a yellow after a sliding tackle on Pineda. Not the worst tackle I've ever seen—he won the ball, though with his back leg—and it seems the ref is trying to keep this one under control.

35th—Johnson picks up a yellow after a bit of a bump on Pineda, who sells it well. That's four yellows in this one so far.

39th—High volley into the box and Marshall with a lovely header on-goal, but BUT WEBER IS THERE FOR THE SAVE. Fantastic save there for the Timbers keeper on a ball that was defintely going in otherwise. Corner for Seattel comes in low and Chara clears.

42nd—URRUTI JUST MISSES! Valeri with a steal and drives to the middle of the Seattle D. Urruti peels off and gets the pass from Valeri. He crosses/shoots it past Frei, but it curls just past the post. Close one.

44th—Valeri is down. Trainer has come on and Gonzalez was gesturing to the Timbers bench that he'd need a sub. Valeri back on his feet, looks like he has a cut.

Two minutes of stoppage...Handball just outside the 18 on Kah, dangerous spot...Pineda sends it far post for Cooper, who heads it back to the left side. Dempsey and Marshall dive into the net for it, but neither can get to it. A very dangerous chance there for Seattle.

HALFTIME: We're tied at 2 after an action-packed first half. Sounders had 52% possession but Portland won 63% of the duels. Sounders had a 9-8 edge in shots.

SECOND HALF: Timbers headed toward their Army...and we're back at it!

46th—No changes for either side.

48th—Alhassan works his way through the defense and crosses in front to Urruti, but he ball goes just over his foot. Alhassan making something out of nothing, but nothing down. Timbers maintain possession and Chara chips one into the box for Harrington, but his header goes right to Frei.

50th—Chara with a hard foul on Dempsey from behind. He'll get a yellow card for that one, the fifth of the afternoon. Free kick coming from just inside the circle. Pineda sends it in and Weber is there to field it.

51st—Scary moment there as Weber throws to Kah. Dempsey was lurking and steals it, earning a corner. Yikes. Corner comes in far post and is headed by Harrington then deflected back over the line. Another corner and it's headed own by Marshall to the feet of Anibaba. HE FIRES A LASER but it's somehow deflected over the line. Should've been a goal as Portland again leaves a player completely unmarked.

53rd—Free kick after a Chara foul on Dempsey. It's floated in and Kah heads it away. It lands at the feet of Azira, who shoots, but it's immediately knocked down and away.

54th—Harrington with a nice look after Johnson finds him in the box. Harrington knocks it right-footed and it's well wide.

55thTIMBERS GOAL! CHARA AGAIN! What a goal from the most unlikely of sources. His second goal of the afternoon looks a lot like the first, dribbling through traffic, getting to the top of the box and smashing one past the keeper, upper 90. Timbers lead 3-2 and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DIEGO CHARA.

57thTIMBERS GOAL! NO JOKE! Urruti on the break and knocks an amazing curling strike! Holy shoot, this one just got out of hand. Timbers lead, 4-2. Wow, what a turn of events. This is fun.

60th—Johnson is down at the top of the box. Sounders make a sub: It'll be Neagle for Cooper. KFC-ya.

62nd—Urruti fires from distance and juuuuuust misses wide. Frei yelling at his 'mates and Timbers Army is doing its Tetris dance. Pure joy in this ballpark right now. Too soon for the "Welcome to your nightmare" chant?

65th—Powell earns a corner kick. Valeri sends in and PAPARATTO HEADS IT OFF THE BAR. Looks like it might've caught the line, but no whistle. Close as it gets there. Paparrato with a frustration foul on Pineda (I think) and picks up a yellow.

69th—Another Seattle sub: Pappa for Azira.

71st—Yellow card for Alonso, who fouls Nagbe hard, right in front of Porter. We restart and Portland earns a corner kick after Urruti cracks one from the top of the box that's deflected out.

74th—Another corner coming for Portland. Valeri taking his time. Sounders showing frustration at this point, as they should. Valeri sends it in for Urruti, but the ref whistles it dead. They'll do it again?

76th—Action has slowed down quite a bit here.

78th—And just as I type that, Dempsey slips into the box and knocks a beautiful pass to Martins, whose header goes over the bar. Timbers defense was focused on Neagle, and Martins misses a huge opportunity to make them pay.

79th—Lots of action in the Timbers' box and Portland survives. Paparrato makes a great block at one point and Dempsey has a chance, but pops it up. Weber is there to grab it.

80th—Dempsey cracks a shot and doesn't miss by much. Chances galore here in the last couple of minutes here for Seattle, who aren't lying down just yet.

82nd—Good buildup for Seattle and Dempsey cracks one from the top of the box. Weber in perfect position against the post and it's easy pickings for him.

83rd—Cross comes into a crowd and Weber rises to punch it away.

84th—Timbers with their first sub: It's Piquionne coming on for Urruti. They may need to make another, as Nagbe is really limping.

85th—Sure enough, Zemanski coming on for Nagbe.

86thSOUNDERS GOAL! Dempsey again! Great goal. Neagle bends one into the box for Martins, who bumps it ahead to Dempsey. He's wide open and slides to knock it in. 4-3, and it's game on here.

87thPENALTY KICK FOR SEATTLE Zemanski fouls Yedlin in the box and the ref points to the spot. Dempsey lining it up, one strike away from a hat trick. SOUNDERS GOAL! Dempsey goes left, Weber right, and we're tied at 4. UNREAL. The wheels fall off for Portland.

89th—Final sub: Zakuani comes on for Johnson.

90th—Dangerous free kick sent in, knocked down by Zemanski, but right to Dempsey. He fires one low, and Weber is there to field it.

FOUR MINUTES OF STOPPAGE...Yedlin JUUUUUUUST MISSES a shot that deflected off Martins' foot. That was inches away....Yedlin appears to knock it over the line, but the ref calls it off Zakuani. Must've just nicked him....Throw in stolen and Piquionne takes it at the top of the 18, he fires but it's well over the bar....Corner kick for Portland coming earned by Zakuani...It goes far post and an unmarked Paparrato can't quite a header on it. It falls to Powell, whose shot sails just over the bar.

FULL TIME: It's a 4-4 draw. What a match. Timbers had this won, but Seattle kept clawing and after inserting Neagle, completely changed the feel of the match. Sounders score twice late to salvage a draw, and this one was nothing short of a classic.

PORTER'S FULL PRESSER:

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