A disastrous opening half hour and the 2-0 deficit that came along with it doomed the Seattle Sounders to their first Cascadia Cup loss since all three teams joined MLS. The Sounders did themselves no favors with some horrendous marking on their first two goals, and though Seattle stepped up their performance over the course of the last hour the sloppy play that's been a hallmark over the past month and a half was still plainly evident and the hill proved far too high to climb.
Kris Boyd opened the scoring in the 16th minute when he beat an ill-advised offside trap to find himself with the ball at his feet and clean in on goal, and the veteran striker made no mistake in the finish to put the Timbers ahead 1-0. Just nine minutes later David Horst doubled Portland's lead, finding himself in space in the center of the box and atoning from missing an open net from a similar situation earlier in the game. The Sounders looked shell-shocked and offered little immediate response, but as the half wore along they found themselves more and more in control of the run of play. Still, there's little consolation in that when you trail by two goals, and the teams went to the half with Jeld-Wen Field in full voice and the Timbers looking comfortable.
And though the Sounders response was not immediate, they looked to be a different team at the start of the second half. Eddie Johnson's brilliant 58th minute goal felt as though it had been coming for ages, and it didn't feel as though it would be the last. Unfortunately for the Sounders, it was; Seattle was on top of things for the entirety of the second half in every sense except the one that ultimately matters, and as the sense of urgency mounted so too did the frustration. That culminated in the 90th minute sending-off of Fredy Montero and Lovel Palmer, with the result of the enhanced chipiness being a large scrum near midfield. The Sounders pressed throughout extra time, but as has been the case since mid-May the final product just wasn't there.
Losing to the Timbers will be difficult enough for the Sounders to take, but this loss coming as it does in the midst of a seven game winless streak makes things all the worse. The Sounders have the opportunity to get things turned back in the right direction on Tuesday against the San Jose Earthquakes, but giving the disparate form of the two sides and the Sounders fitness, fatigue, and injury problems it will be a difficult task indeed to keep the dream of four-straight US Open Cup wins alive. There's still a great deal of talent on this team and a whole lot of season left to play, but at the present moment the Seattle Sounders are not a very good team. Why that's the case is anyone's guess, but they'll need to get things straightened out quite soon lest a season that began in such promising fashion come apart at the seams.