Clint Dempsey's 77th-minute goal lifts Sounders over rival Timbers
SEATTLE (AP) — Clint Dempsey again got the better of Portland, scoring in his fourth straight game against Seattle's rival with a 77th-minute goal in the Sounders' 1-0 victory over the Timbers on Sunday night.
Nearly 40 years to the day of the first meeting between the Timbers and Sounders, Dempsey made sure Seattle would come away with the victory in the 89th meeting between the sides.
Dempsey tapped in the rebound after Andy Rose's initial shot was saved by goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey. It was the second time in the last year that Dempsey scored on Kwarasey. Dempsey got the best of Ghana's goalkeeper in the World Cup opener for the United States last June in Brazil.
The Sounders won for the third time in the last four matches against the Timbers. Dempsey's goal was his fourth of the season and came after Portland had most of the chances in the second half.
Dempsey's goal wasn't pretty. A long throw-in from Dylan Remick into the Portland penalty area found Dempsey and he was able to flick a header to Rose open in the middle of the box.
Kwarasey stopped Rose's left-footed shot with a diving save, but could not secure the ball and it wiggled free just enough for Dempsey to charge and guide it into the goal.
Dempsey has six goals in his last four matches against the Timbers, including a hat trick last year in Portland.
Stefan Frei earned his fourth shutout of the season in goal for Seattle and he earned it after Portland spent the second half peppering shots.
Portland's Diego Valeri was available off the bench for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in the regular season finale last October, but did not play. Without Valeri and Will Johnson, the Timbers lacked the offensive creativity to break down the Sounders for most of the night.
Most of Portland's chances came from distance, and put Frei to work. Maximiliano Urruti and Diego Chara both had shots from outside of the penalty box forcing Frei to make diving saves early in the second half. Darlington Nagbe ran free through the middle of the field on a quick counter attack in the 69th minute and his shot from 30 yards beat Frei but was wide of the goal.
Urruti found the back of the net moments later, but he was well offside and the goal was nullified.
In the 75th minute Fanendo Adi — in the game for less than a minute — nearly flicked a cross past Frei only to watch it dribble wide of the far post. Adi's header in the 81st minute was tipped off the crossbar by Frei.