This may have been Clint Dempsey’s night, but Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales reminded everyone around CenturyLink Field who has handled so much of the the scoring and assisting duty before the Sounders’ high-profile arrival.
Johnson’s well-placed glancing header was the game’s only goal as Seattle took the huge Cascadia Cup contest, 1-0.
It was a huge match to begin with; any contest in the league’s top rivalry is. Dempsey’s first home match added to the theater.
And then there was the crowd count adding a further newsy element. Attendance at CenturyLink Field in Seattle was 67,385, the largest ever for a soccer game in Seattle and the second largest ever in MLS for a stand-alone match.
The crowd was very nearly disappointed as Portland mostly controlled matters through the first half. If not for the good work of Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and some heads-up defensive work from DeAndre Yedlin (not to mention one Timbers shot off the post), Portland would have taken a lead before the break.
Some tactical and personnel shifting by Sounders manager Sigi Schmid helped get Seattle’s offense going after the break. It was Johnson who drew the key 60th minute foul. Then the U.S. international – and important U.S. man, although not of the order of Dempsey – put away the game-winner off Rosales sharply delivered free kick.
Dempsey, now the league’s highest paid figure, has played in three matches, still without a goal or an assist.