Seattle draws on Dempsey’s late heroics

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comApril 6, 2014 

Seattle’s Clint Dempsey, left, hugs Portland goalkeeper Andrew Weber — a former Sounder — after Dempsey scored one of his three goals Saturday.

STEVEN BISIG/USA TODAY SPORTS

PORTLAND — Music blared from the Seattle Sounders’ locker room Saturday after their 4-4 draw, while the Timbers’ locker room was dead silent.

The even result was greeted with such different attitudes because Seattle trailed by two goals with five minutes to go.

Then over a couple of minutes, Clint Dempsey scored his second and third goals of the day to complete a frantic finish that left the Sounders feeling like they had salvaged something, while the Timbers felt they had allowed something to be stripped away.

“That point today felt like more than a point,” Dempsey said. “I think it felt more like a win, and it’s a little bit of a momentum-builder. ... I

think our fans appreciated the character that we showed in fighting back and saving face in terms of getting a point — especially coming from two goals back with a mountain to climb.”

Seattle opened the scoring early, and concluded it with the late rush. But the middle of the match was dominated by the Timbers, who score four times from the ninth minute to the 57th and had the sellout crowd of 20,814 at Providence Park rocking — prematurely, as it turned out.

“I’m sure (the Sounders are) excited,” said Portland goalkeeper Andrew Weber, who played for Seattle from 2012-13. “I feel we had the run of play most of the time, and we played some pretty soccer. We’ve got to really focus in now on not giving up points. Those are two points that we lost that should have been ours.”

It didn’t take long for the teams to signal what a wild match was going to play out.

In the third minute, Seattle jumped ahead when Jalil Anibaba received a long corner kick and volleyed it back across to the far post, where Kenny Cooper knocked it in.

Portland answered in the ninth minute, when Diego Chara took the ball in space at the top of the penalty area and sizzled it past Seattle keeper Stefan Frei.

The Timbers took what was their first lead of the season in the 14th minute, when Diego Valeri got the ball with his back to the goal, turned and fired just under the bar.

Seattle equalized in the 24th minute, when Dempsey took an Obafemi Martins pass in front of the Timbers goal and guided it in.

Portland seemed to control in the first 12 minutes of the second half, as Chara and Maximiliano Urruti each took advantage of Anibaba errors to put the Timbers up 4-2.

“You’re never happy when you’re giving up four goals, but I think some of the goals that we gave up were individual mistakes,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “... We have to eliminate those turnovers in bad parts of the field so we don’t give away opportunities like that. When you score four on the road you should come away with a win, but I’m sure they feel when you score four at home you should come away with a win as well.”

Portland definitely felt that way.

“The guys are hanging their heads because they know they weren’t good enough,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said.

The victory still seemed solidly within Portland’s grasp until Dempsey completed the fifth hat trick in Sounders history.

In the 85th minute, he knocked home his second goal after passes from Lamar Neagle and Martins. About a minute later, Seattle right back DeAndre Yedlin was knocked down in the box and a penalty kick was called.

After a brief discussion it was decided that Dempsey would take it, and he bashed in the tying score.

“Great game to be a fan,” Schmid said. “Not a great game to be a coach because it’s hard on your heart; but fantastic game for our fans, for their fans, for national TV. I think (it was) a great advert for soccer.”

Portland remained winless at 0-2-3. The Sounders remained even at 2-2-1 heading into their next match Saturday at Dallas.

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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