PORTLAND — It wasn’t the celebration the Portland Timbers desperately wanted to provide their fans on Saturday.
But there was a sense of satisfaction about the way the Timbers responded to adversity in their 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC.
Seattle’s Fredy Montero and Portland’s Rodney Wallace scored the goals in a contest that delivered more competitive fire than artistic soccer.
“I think it was a fair result,” Portland’s Sal Zizzo said. “Once we were down 1-0, we haven’t necessarily been good at coming back, so to come back like that I think it’s a good result.”
The draw keeps the Timbers three points ahead of the Sounders in the chase for the Cascadia Cup, which goes to the club with the most success in matches involving the Timbers, Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
A win on Saturday would have clinched the Cascadia trophy for the Timbers, who have a win and a draw against both Seattle and Vancouver this season. Portland has remaining Cascadia games this season at Seattle and at Vancouver.
Overall, Seattle (13-6-9) is second in the Western Conference. Portland (7-14-7) is last in the West.
The Timbers looked like a more successful side the way they responded to a deflating turn of events early in the second half. Within seconds of entering the match for injured goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, Joe Bendik was picking the ball out of his goal courtesy of Montero magic.
Montero stepped between defenders David Horst and Hanyer Mosquera to reach a bouncing ball that Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning booted upfield. He turned his shot past Mosquera and into the side netting, stunning the Timbers Army.
“I tried to hold the defender,” Montero said. “When I saw I was in the box, I just tried to hit the ball. It was good.”
So was the Timbers’ response. Seattle was willing to protect its 1-0 lead, but the Timbers were not willing to make it easy.
“The reaction after they scored I thought was great,” Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said.
Timbers general manager and interim coach Gavin Wilkinson called it first class.
“I think the next passage of play, we kept the ball moving,” Wilkinson said. “We went from side to side, and we started to develop a little bit of rhythm. I think that was an important response by the players.”
The reward came in the 78th minute. Wallace, who played left back on Saturday, made a well-timed run at a Jewsbury corner kick and drove a header back into the crowded goal mouth, where it found its way through various limbs and just across the goal line.
“It was a place where we knew we could be dangerous against them,” Jewsbury said of corner kicks. “We were able to get one on a great run by Rodney and a great finish.”
Both teams had late chances to create a more special finish. Portland’s Bright Dike hit the post from another corner kick, and Jewsbury just missed from the top of the 18-yard box. At the other end, Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso had a good crack from distance that whistled right to Bendik.
TIMBERS 1, SOUNDERS 1
Seattle FC 0 1–1
Portland 0 1–1
Second half–1, Seattle FC, Montero 12 (Gspurning), 57th minute. 2, Portland, Wallace 1 (Jewsbury), 78th.
Goalies–Seattle FC, Michael Gspurning; Portland, Donovan Ricketts.
Yellow Cards–Johnson, Seattle FC, 26th; Martinez, Seattle FC, 79th.
Referee–Ricardo Salazar. Assistant Referees–Peter Manikowski. Mike Kampmeinert. 4th Official–Jesus Cisneros.
Seattle FC–Michael Gspurning, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Adam Johansson, Andy Rose, Brad Evans (Marc Burch, 90th+), Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani (Mario Martinez, 70th), Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
Portland–Donovan Ricketts (Joe Bendik, 57th), David Horst, Rodney Wallace, Hanyer Mosquera, Kosuke Kimura, Darlington Nagbe, Sal Zizzo (Kalif Alhassan, 83rd), Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Franck Songo’o (Danny Mwanga, 72nd), Bright Dike.