Timbers, Sounders play to scoreless draw
SEATTLE (AP) — More than six years have passed since the Seattle Sounders could celebrate a home victory over their biggest rivals.
For the first time in their history as Major League Soccer rivals, the Sounders and Portland Timbers played to a 0-0 draw on Saturday in a match where scoring chances were limited and neither goalkeeper was tested.
The previous 39 MLS matches between the teams – regular and postseason — all featured at least one goal scored.
The draw left the Timbers unbeaten in their past eight games played at Lumen Field. Portland’s last loss in Seattle was May 27, 2017.
“The past has passed and we have to come every single game and perform and put in a good fight. I thought we did that today,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. “Unfortunately we didn't get the three points.”
The draw continued a troubling trend for the Sounders when it comes to the biggest opponent on their schedule year after year. On a resume that's included MLS Cup and CONCACAF Champions League titles won at home in the past six years, the lack of a victory over the Timbers has become more than an annoyance.
“That is a sore spot. It’s kind of a black hole on the resume for sure,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said.
The Timbers snapped a two-game losing streak despite finishing with just two shots on goal, but Portland will take the draw against its most heated foe after beating the Sounders 4-1 at home in April.
“I think everybody in around the club knows how important it is and I think our group especially we get up for these games,” Portland defender Eric Miller said. “I think if we can figure out a way to carry that intensity over to the other games, we can be in a really good spot.”
Meanwhile, the draw was a disappointing point for Seattle after losing three of its past four matches, including a 1-0 loss to San Jose at home on Wednesday. There was fatigue at play with Seattle playing its third game in a week, but it also highlighted the Sounders’ struggles at scoring for the better part of six weeks. Over its past 10 matches, Seattle has scored just six goals and been shut out in four of those matches.
Seattle’s only shot on goal came from defender Yeimar Gómez Andrade in the 53rd minute. Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei posted his 100th career shutout.
Cristian Roldan saw his first action in nearly two months for Seattle coming on in the 57th minute. Roldan last played on April 8 against St. Louis City before suffering a concussion in training that sidelined him for an extended period. The injury also cost Roldan any chance of being in consideration for the United States roster competing in the CONCACAF Nations League later this month.
Despite the layoff, Roldan looked sharp, setting up Seattle’s best scoring chance in the 63rd minute when his cutback and cross found Leo Chu, but his header was wide of the net.
“Coming back from from a head injury, you don’t want to put yourself too much at risk for another concussion. So there was a bit of hesitation, but that’ll go away with time,” Roldan said. “Just glad that I don’t have these symptoms anymore because it was a very frustrating injury.”
The match was the first-half of a doubleheader at Lumen Field with the city’s NWSL teams meeting in the second game with OL Reign hosting the Portland Thorns.
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