Prior to the Portland-Seattle match tonight the Whitecaps led the competition by a mere two points, which meant that anything less than victory for the Seattle Sounders would see the Whitecaps claim their first Cascadia Cup since 2008.
The Sounders came close to opening the scoring when Clint Dempsey's header in the opening minutes of the match came off the crossbar. Soon thereafter Dempsey injured his left shoulder after a rough challenge by Portland's Diego Chara, but stayed in the match after receiving treatment.
Portland's Kalif Alhassan scored the game's only goal just before half time when he beat Seattle's Marcus Hahnemann with a blast from just outside the area.
The match took a nasty twist just after the seventieth minute when players from both sides confronted each other after the Timber's Darlington Nagbe was fouled. Away from the main scrum Osvaldo Alonso elbowed Will Johnson in the face and was sent off reducing Seattle to ten men for the last twenty minutes of the game.
Tonight's defeat was the Sounders third in just a week after they lost 5-1 to Colorado and then 4-1 to Vancouver in the penultimate Cascadia Cup match last Wednesday night.
Tonight's result also drops the Sounders to fifth in the Supporter's Shield race, while the Timbers moved into second place for the Shield and into first place in the MLS Western Conference.
The Whitecaps next play on Saturday when they travel to Denver to play the Colorado Rapids in the first match of a home-and-away series to finish the MLS regular season. The outcome of the two games with Colorado will also likely determine whether or not the Whitecaps will make the postseason for a second straight season.
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