PORTLAND — Clint Dempsey likened his goal against the Timbers to a slam dunk.
Dempsey scored in stoppage time and the Seattle Sounders pulled into a hard-fought 2-2 draw with rival Portland in a Cascadia Cup match on Sunday night.
Fanendo Adi scored his 50th career goal for Portland and Dairon Asprilla added another at the end of the first half to give the Timbers a 2-1 advantage until Dempsey’s late equalizer — a perfectly placed header in the final to stun the home crowd at Providence Park.
It gave Dempsey nine goals against the Timbers, making him the top scorer in MLS play between the teams. It is also the most goals the veteran midfielder has against any league team.
“It definitely feels good. I guess it’s what it must feel like to slam dunk in a game, because you’re just going up for it and giving it everything you have on it and putting on frame,” said Dempsey, who came in as a sub in the second half.
The Sounders, who took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute when Joevin Jones scored on his own rebound, played a man down after Brad Evans was sent off with a red card in the final minutes of the first half. Seattle is winless in three straight games.
Heat in Portland moved the game to the evening, but temperatures were still in the 90s at the start of the game. The game was stopped for a hydration break in the first half.
The two teams and the Vancouver Whitecaps play in the unique three-way Cascadia Cup, decided each season on points. The rivalry dates to 1975 when the teams were with the old North American Soccer League, but fans of the three teams christened the Cascadia Cup in 2004. Vancouver is the defending cup champion.
“Feels like a loss. Very disappointing,” Timbers coach Celeb Porter said. “Didn’t think we managed the second half well. This has now become a pattern. Again, we’re in a winning position and don’t show a strong enough mentality, a strong enough urgency. When I look at how we played after we gave up the goal, that’s the way we should play every game, for 90 minutes.”
The Timbers tied it at 1 in the 44th minute on Adi’s penalty kick. Evans got the red card for bringing down Darlington Nagbe in the box and was sent off.
Adi is the first Timbers player to reach 50 goals over all eras of the team. He upped his total this season to nine goals.
Adi has eight goals in 10 career games against the Sounders, making him Portland’s all-time leading scorer against Seattle.
Portland, which had dropped its previous two matches, went ahead 2-1 in first-half stoppage time on Asprilla’s header off a corner kick, which he celebrated with backflips.
Dempsey came in as a sub in the 56th minute. The national team star headed in a pass from Roman Torres in the 94th for his fifth overall goal of the season.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t start Dempsey because of the heat.
“We just said, ‘Look, it’s going to be hot, let’s take some sting out of the game, and I’m going to use you as I see the game fit,'” Schmetzer said. “And he said, ‘Yeah, anything. Whatever for the team.’ And he came on and really did a good job.”
The coach also noted: “He loves scoring against Portland.”
Told of his coach’s comments, Dempsey smiled.
“I like scoring against everybody,” he said. “Any goal is a great goal.”
The Sounders won the season’s first league match between the teams 1-0 on May 27, then won a fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match 2-1 earlier this month.
Seattle leads the series in MLS 9-5-5, and the all-time series 50-35-13. It was the 98th all-time meeting between the two teams.
It was Portland’s 116th consecutive sellout.