Portland Timbers drop rivalry game against Seattle Sounders as winless streak continues

A 1001-day derby dominance died on the Providence Park pitch on Sunday afternoon.

The Seattle Sounders had not scored three points against the Portland Timbers since August 2021, but in a matinee performance of the Cascadia Cup, Portland’s nemesis from the north handed the Timbers a 2-1 defeat.

The monkey is still clinging to the Timbers’ back as Portland approaches its tenth straight week without a win.

The Timbers (2-6-4, 10 points) opened the Cascadia Cup with a goal in the 15th minute, but then conceded twice and fell again late.

Even with attacking midfielder Evander out of the starting lineup, there was early creativity in the Timbers’ offense. In the 15th minute, a deep, tilting pass from Portland defender Dario Zuparic found winger Jonathan Rodriguez near the six-yard box. The striker made first contact with his chest and lightly nudged the ball towards striker Felipe Mora, who placed it in the back of the net.

Just after the celebratory green smoke cleared, in what has become customary, the Timbers relented. In the 19th minute, Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan sent a shot from outside the penalty area past goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau to even the score for the Sounders (3-5-4, 13 points).

In the 32nd minute, the Timbers had an excellent look at a lead when Rodriguez and fellow winner Antony played hot potato on a run. However, after two perfectly placed passes, Antony’s shot attempt went wide of the goal.

It looked like it was Rodriguez’s turn in the 41st, but although a set-piece from midfielder Diego Chara was on his heels, his effort barely reached the top of the goal.

The runs continued well into first-half stoppage time, bringing the crowd to their feet on several occasions, but ended as fruitlessly as the previous one.

Seattle pushed ahead early in the second half and gained momentum in the 50th minute on a turnover that ended in a dart from Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz that briefly brought Providence Park to a standstill.

Portland coach Phil Neville had seen enough and ushered in his super sub in the 55th minute.

Evander, who had missed the team’s last two games, took Antony’s spot with the rivalry battle on the line, but Portland’s offense remained flat.

The Timbers managed a single shot on target throughout the entire second half and repetitively failed to get the result they had hoped for, and desperately needed, to turn around this season.

Next one: The Timbers’ homestand continues against the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

— Shane Hoffmann for The Oregonian/OregonLive