(Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press)
SEATTLE — Good news, Timbers fans.
Portland can still claim the Cascadia Cup with a win at Vancouver.
But good luck convincing Sounders FC and their supporters that the Timbers are the best in this Cascadia region.
Seattle pummeled Portland on Sunday in front of a crowd of 66,452, winning 3-0 and never giving the Timbers any hope of walking out of CenturyLink Field with the Cascadia trophy.
The result means Seattle (14-7-10), which is headed to the Major League Soccer playoffs, now leads the Cascadia Cup competition with 10 points. Portland (7-16-9), which is headed into the offseason with plenty of questions, must win at Vancouver on Oct. 21 in its one remaining road game to claim the regional trophy.
Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero — Seattle’s deadly forward duo — each scored a goal, and the Timbers chipped in with an own goal as the Sounders pounced on a series of Timbers’ backline breakdowns.
“Very disappointing,” Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said. “I think it’s a matter of 10 or 15 minutes where we have a lapse and they make us pay for our mistakes.”
Portland is now winless in 16 road games this season (0-12-4), so the performance and the result were both hauntingly familiar to the Timbers and their fans — including some 1,200 amongst the record crowd at CenturyLink Field.
“Our fans deserve a lot-lot more to be honest,” Timbers general manager and interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson said.
Seattle took the game to Portland from the outset. The Sounders pressured the Timbers everywhere on the field, and outnumbered the visitors in midfield, and Portland didn’t counter with enough poise or assertiveness to bother the Sounders — who rose to the moment in front of the second largest crowd to watch a MLS stand-alone match. The only larger audience for a single MLS game was a 1996 match between New York and Los Angeles that drew 69,255 at the Rose Bowl.
“I think we had to move the ball a little bit quicker,” Wilkinson said. “I think our movement off the ball was a little bit slow.”
Despite that, the Timbers had a top-notch chance to get a goal that might have changed everything. In the 17th minute, Rodney Wallace had a clean header from a Jack Jewsbury corner kick that bounced wide.
Unfortunately for Portland, Futty Danso, who was playing in place of an injured Hanyer Mosquera, didn’t miss the goal as he tried to clear away a cross from Seattle’s Adam Johansson in the 25th minute. The play started with a bit of deception and a strong run by Johansson. With Montero charging to the front of the goal, Danso tried to cut off the pass and ended up blasting the ball into his own goal.
“Futty was in a good spot,” said David Horst, the other center back. “He just got unlucky and it deflected off him. I don’t think there was anything else we could have done on that play.”
The same couldn’t be said about the other two Seattle goals.
Three minutes after the own goal, Johnson worked his way open in the middle of the penalty area and calmly turned a cross from Brad Evans past Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
Wilkinson called it “terrible defending.”
Wilkinson noted that Horst and Danso haven’t played together much this season, and said that might have added to the breakdown.
“I think we missed Hanyer Mosquera tonight,” Wilkinson said. “When you make a change in the middle at the back, there’s a few concerns and obviously chemistry is one of them.”
Portland was fortunate to be within 2-0 at the half. Just two minutes after Johnson’s goal, Ricketts did just enough to force Montero to rifle a shot off the right post on another spectacular Seattle chance.
Montero got his goal in the second half during some chaos in front of goal. Ricketts made a strong initial save on Montero, but he got enough on the follow up to put the finishing touch on a Seattle win that was every bit as convincing as a 3-0 win indicates.
“I don’t think we got the job done tonight as a whole team,” Horst said. “All over the field, they beat us to a lot of balls. They beat us to balls in our own box and scored. We’re not going to win games when we play like that.”
Portland hasn’t won away from Jeld-Wen Field all season. To get one in their final road game, they will need to play much better at Vancouver.
“We can get down on ourselves that we just lost to Seattle, but the good thing is we have another shot at it and we’re not going to let the same thing happen again,” Horst said.
SOUNDERS 3, TIMBERS 0
Portland 0 0—0
Seattle FC 2 1—3
First half—1, Seattle FC, Danso (own goal), 25th minute. 2, Seattle FC, Johnson 14 (Evans), 28th.
Second half—3, Seattle FC, Montero 13, 62nd.
Goalies—Portland, Donovan Ricketts; Seattle FC, Michael Gspurning.
Yellow Cards—Tiffert, Seattle FC, 69th; Chara, Portland, 73rd.
Referee—Jair Marrufo. Assistant Referees—Eric Boria. George Gansner. 4th Official—Fotis Bazakos.
Portland—Donovan Ricketts, David Horst, Mamadou Danso (Eric Brunner, 68th), Rodney Wallace, Lovel Palmer, Darlington Nagbe (Eric Alexander, 78th), Sal Zizzo (Michael Fucito, 46th), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Franck Songo’o, Bright Dike.
Seattle FC—Michael Gspurning, Jeff Parke, Adam Johansson, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez (Marc Burch, 77th), Mauro Rosales (Andy Rose, 87th), Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert (David Estrada, 88th), Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.