It was far from the prettiest game ever played, but derbies often aren't. But the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers put on quite a show, in a hard-fought match that good have gone either way until the very end. Neither team will be fully satisfied with the result, but it was likely the fairest one as both teams had their chances but struggled mightily to finish. With Seattle and Portland splitting the points, the destination of the Cascadia Cup will remain unknown for another few weeks.
The first half was a tense and even affair, but ultimately uneventful as the two sides went to the break level at 0-0 without much in the way of scoring chances. The second half started off in a similar vein, but the game opened up significantly after Fredy Montero opened the scoring with an absolute wonder-strike. Finding themselves a goal down, the Timbers began to throw men forward with abandon and the pressure clearly rattled the Sounders. After threatening for the better part of 20 minutes, Portland equalized in the 78th minute thanks to Rodney Wallace's perfectly placed header from a Jack Jewsbury corner.
The goal gave the Timbers even more confidence, and it was a nervy finish for the Sounders; the Timbers continued to threaten from set pieces, and in the 92nd minute Bright Dike very nearly won it for the home side when he pounced on a failed clearance and clanged a shot off the post. That scare seemed to wake up the Sounders a bit, and they spent the remainder of the game holding on to possession and taking only clear opportunities to attack, with the game's last chance coming after a punched ball by Joe Bendik fell to Osvaldo Alonso whose low, driven effort was smothered by the Timbers keeper.
The Sounders next Cascadia Cup match will take place in Vancouver on September 29th and the Timbers will make their lone visit to Seattle this season on October 7th, but the more pressing matter will be next Saturday's clash with current Supporters Shield race leaders he San Jose Earthquakes. Seattle has lost both previous games against the Earthquakes this season, and a failure to win next weekend would be a major blow to Seattle's playoff positioning and CONCACAF Champions League qualification odds. But after a game like today's, Sounders fans would be well served to take a bit of a breather before thinking about the challenges ahead.