Sounders’ win thrills record crowd

Clint Dempsey’s home debut, Eddie Johnson’s goal rev up crowd of 67,385

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comAugust 26, 2013 

Seattle — The largest crowd ever to watch a soccer match in the Pacific Northwest was on hand Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

The announced crowd of 67,385 watched Seattle Sounders FC edge the Portland Timbers, 1-0, on a goal by Eddie Johnson in the 60th minute.

The game also marked the Seattle home debut of new designated player Clint Dempsey, who took four shots and suffered a team-high four fouls.

“We’re happy with the three points tonight in getting the win,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought it was a hard-fought game. It was an exciting game, for sure, for the fans. I thought it was a little more physical than it needed to be. That took a little bit away from the quality of the game. But obviously we’re pleased with being able to get a clean sheet in the back, and pleased that we finished the one goal to give us the three points.”

The result moved Seattle to 11-8-4 in Major League Soccer and to the top of the Cascadia Cup standings at 2-1-1. Portland dropped to 9-4-12 — still the fewest losses in the league — and remains at the bottom of the Cascadia Cup race at 0-1-3, behind Seattle and Vancouver (1-1-2).

The lone goal of the night came when Johnson headed in a free kick from Mauro Rosales.

Johnson drew the free kick seconds before when he was dumped by Portland’s Pa Modou Kah, who received a yellow card.

Though scoreless until then, the match flashed end-to-end action from the start.

Seattle aggressively pushed forward, with several nice combinations among Dempsey, Johnson and Lamar Neagle. Portland depended more on counterattacks, but the Timbers were dangerous on several occasions, including a Diego Valeri shot off the crossbar in the 35th minute.

The excitement began before the first kick. Several veteran observers said the pregame “march to the match” was the largest they had seen.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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