Heineken MLS Rivalry Week was rounded off with a typically dramatic Cascadia Cup clash as the Seattle Sounders scored in the dying seconds of the game to earn a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Portland Timbers’ Providence Park on Sunday night.
The Sounders took the lead inside the first half an hour as Joevin Jones scored from his own rebounded shot, but the game turned on its head just before halftime. Brad Evans brought Darlington Nagbe down inside his own box, denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, which led to the Timbers being awarded a penalty and Evans being sent for a very early shower.
Fanendo Adi scored his 50th MLS goal from the spot to get the Timbers supporters on their feet, and they wasted no time in taking advantage of their numerical advantage as Dairon Asprilla headed the hosts in front in first-half stoppage time.
The Sounders went in down a goal and down a man. But they had Clint Dempsey to turn to. The attacker was a surprise omission from the starting lineup but Brian Schmetzer’s choice paid dividends. He sent Dempsey on for Jordan Morris in the 56th minute and it proved decisive.
The scorching heat caused by a heatwave in the Pacific Northwest meant that kickoff had to be delayed, but Seattle showed great character and even better fitness levels to stay in the game and they were rewarded when Dempsey rose above Amobi Okugo in the 94th minute to head in a Roman Torres cross to ensure the points were shared.
The result moves Portland up to third in the Western Conference, five points of leaders Sporting KC, while Seattle stay eighth but are just one point outside the top six. Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s match below, courtesy of MLSGB Photographer Denise McCooey.
The Portland Timbers have signed five players today in a major reshuffle as they reshape their squad ahead of the new season.
Veteran defender Nat Borchers joined in a trade from Real Salt Lake for allocation money, while Ghanaian international goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey, Colombian winger Dairon Asprilla and Brazilian left-back Jeanderson Salvador Pereira were also signed.
The Timbers exercised their purchase option on Jamaican fullback Alvas Powell on Monday too in a busy day for the club.
Borchers will undoubtedly strengthen a Timbers defence that allowed 52 goals in 34 games in 2014 – the sixth-worst amount across MLS. He could form a solid partnership with Englishman Liam Ridgewell for the Western Conference side.
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Norwegian born goalkeeper Kwarasey joins the club from Strømsgodset of the Tippeligaen and is an experienced shot-stopper at both club and country levels.
The 26-year-old, who won the Tippeligaen Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2013, made over 150 appearances for the club. He has represented the Ghanaian national team 21 times at international level too, and played in the World Cup game against the USA in June.
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Asprilla joins Portland from Colombian Primera División side Alianza Petrolera and at just 22, is an exciting signing. Primarily a right-winger, the Colombian will hope to impress in his debut campaign next season.
Brazilian Jeanderson is another signing to bolster the Timbers backline and the left-back adds further youth at just 23 years of age.
Portland also exercised the option to purchase defender Powell from Jamaican side Portmore United. The 20-year-old has signed a “long-term contract” with the Timbers and will hope to add to his 15 games played in 2014.
What do you make of Portland’s signings on Monday?