The standout fixture of this year’s US Open Cup fourth round didn’t disappoint as far as drama goes as Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers played out a thriller at Starfire Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
The Timbers ended a six-game winless run against the Sounders with a 3-1 extra-time victory, but their task was made considerably easier given the fact Seattle ended the match with four men less than their Cascadia rivals.
Brad Evans, Michael Azira and Clint Dempsey were all sent off for the Sounders, while Obafemi Martins left the game on a stretcher after all three subs had been made, dumping last year’s Open Cup champions out of the competition at their first attempt to retain their crown.
Portland opened the scoring in the 48th minute as star playmaker Diego Valeri converted Rodney Wallace’s cross. Things then got better for the visitors as referee Daniel Radford showed Brad Evans a second yellow card for a foul on Jorge Villafana.
Seattle managed to claw their way back into the game though, despite being a man down, as Martins equalised on 79 minutes to take the game to extra time in front of the 4,022 supporters in attendance.
But the Nigerian striker was stretchered off before the game went into extra-time, leaving Seattle down to nine men and things only went from bad to worse from that point for the holders.
Wallace scored for the Timbers in the 100th minute, before Michael Azira and Dempsey were both sent off in quick succession, leaving the Rave Green down to seven, before Maximiliano Urruti sealed the win with Portland’s third goal to see them through 3-1.
The defeat was Seattle’s first loss in 17 matches at Starfire Stadium in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup history, while they allowed more than one goal in a match for the first time as a participant in the competition.
Portland will be delighted though and after beating the holders, Caleb Porter’s side will be dreaming of a first US Open Cup trophy this season.
“We knew this was going to be an intense game. Obviously this is a derby, bitter rivals, a cup game so we knew it was going to be a challenge for us,” Porter said after the game.
“History said we wouldn’t win this game because they had never lost on this field in the Open Cup and they have won the Open Cup four times. I was proud of our groups mentality. They looked like they were up for it. They were mature, they kept their heads. I was proud of that.”
The Cascadia rivals next meet in 11 days at Providence Park for the second of three MLS meetings between the two Western Conference sides this season.