The Portland Timbers’ grip on the Cascadia Cup is slipping after the Seattle Sounders edged them 3-2 in the MLS on Sunday.Along with the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Timbers and the Sounders play off for the fan-sponsored cup to decide the best side in the Pacific Northwest.
Winners of the trophy in 2010, Portland face a huge task to wrest it from Seattle this season after the loss in Sunday’s match, which exploded to life after an unremarkable first half.
Twice Portland took the lead in front of their home fans at JELD-WEN Field, but twice Seattle pegged them back through goals from designated player Fredy Montero.
Jeff Parke’s own-goal under pressure from Timbers forward Jorge Perlaza handed the hosts the lead just a minute into the second half, only for Montero to cancel it out four minutes later with a perfectly weighted free-kick.
The Timbers restored their advantage in the 69th minute when Perlaza was set away on the left by fellow Colombian Diego Chara.
He opted to shoot when a cross might have been a wiser option, but his effort took a deflection off Seattle defender Tyson Wahl and looped over goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
Not content to let his countrymen have the last laugh, Montero clinched his brace five minutes later when he tapped in Mauro Rosales’ cross.
Drama is never far away when the two bitter rivals meet, and the match was settled in contentious circumstances when Timbers defender Eric Brunner conceded a penalty and was sent off for a high-booted challenge on Lamar Neagle.
Cuban midfielder Osvaldo Alonso dispatched the penalty to make it 3-2, extending Seattle’s unbeaten run to eight matches and moving them into second on the Western Conference table.
Conversely, the Timbers are now winless in seven and need to arrest their form slump if they are to make the playoffs.