There was a new cast of characters, but the Sounders’ winless streak has stretched to five games with a 1-0 loss tonight to the Portland Timbers.
The lone goal came from Kalif Alhassan seconds before halftime, as a cross into the box made it to his foot and he finished low past Seattle goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. Yes, Hahnemann, starting in place of a healthy Michael Gspurning, who had surrendered nine goals over the previous two games.
Seattle played the final 15 minutes a man down, as Osvaldo Alonso was shown a straight red card. He will be out again Saturday when the Sounders visit FC Dallas.
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And points from that match are becoming all the more important as the Sounders have drifted down to third place in the West behind Portland and RSL. At 15-12-6 on the season they are only four points clear of sixth place, which would mean missing the playoffs.
The result also gives the 2013 Cascadia Cup to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
I’ll be back with notes and quotes.
77' Zakuani on for Dempsey.
75' Derby gets headed. Yellow to Hurtado, red to Alonso. Sounders a man down and a goal down with 15 minutes left.
Second half: ... is under way. No lineup changes.
Halftime: Timbers, 1-0. Shots 9-5 POR; on target 4-3 POR; corners 2-2; fouls 8-6 SEA; duels 50%; possession 55.1% POR.
45' GOAL Timbers. Hahnemann starts out for high cross, retreats. Ball goes to Alhassan, who whacks it low into goal. Portland, 1-0.
Through 30: First 15 minutes, best chances to Sounders. Last 15, possession has swung strongly to Timbers.
First 15 minutes: Best chances to Sounders. Neagle header to top corner saved spectaculatly by Ricketts. Then a header by Dempsey hard off the crossbar. Scoreless.
First kick: ... has been struck. Here we go.
Lineups: Sounders starters: GK – Marcus Hahnemann; RB – DeAndre Yedlin; CB – – Jhon Kennedy Hurtado; CB – Patrick Ianni; LB – Leo Gonzalez; RM – Mauro Rosales (captain); CM – Osvaldo Alonso; CM – Adam Moffat; LM – Alex Caskey; F – Lamar Neagle; F – Clint Dempsey. Reserves: Reserves: Michael Gspurning, Marc Burch, Steve Zakuani, David Estrada, Djimi Traore, Eriq Zavaleta, Andy Rose.
For Timbers: Ricketts, Jewsbury, Danso, Kah, Harrington, Chara, Alhassan, W. Johnson ©, Valencia, Urruti, Nagbe. Reserves: Kocic, Jean-Baptiste, Zizzo, Ring, Valeri, Zemanski, Piquionne.
Pregame: It's a beautiful afternoon in Portland about three hours before to 6 p.m. first kick between the Timbers and Sounders. With a win, the Sounders make the playoffs and win the Cascadia Cup. With any other result, their playoff quest goes on, and the Cup goes north to Vancouver. Portland cannot clinch the playoff spot today with any result, and they're already eliminated from Cup contention.
The game will be shown on ESPN, heard on the usual radio outlets, and blogged here. I'll also have more comments and updates on Twitter @donruiztnt.Also always this year, the lineup should be interesting. For the first time, that interest will include who gets the call as the starting goalkeeper. And as usual, there are plenty of health-related lineup questions, including Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Leo Gonzalez.