A dramatic header in the final seconds from Clint Dempsey salvaged a 2-2 tie for the Sounders, playing a man short, on a sweltering Sunday night in Portland.
The last time Seattle went to Portland’s Providence Park, they were without Clint Dempsey because of a heart problem. Dempsey made up for lost time on a sweltering Sunday night, heading in the equalizer in the fourth minute of stoppage time against the Timbers after coming on as a substitute just shy of the hour mark.
Down a goal and a man short before halftime, Seattle clawed back to a 2-2 draw.
Dempsey, benched due to schedule congestion after starting in a 1-1 draw with Orlando, subbed on in the 56th minute for Jordan Morris. With fresher legs, Dempsey made an impact, stretching defenders and dribbling through tight gaps as Seattle chased the Timbers in the attacking half.
The crucial moment came with seconds left to play, when center back Roman Torres ran onto a ball in the right alley and swung in a cross, finding Dempsey rising above defender Amobi Okugo for a headed goal at the back post to earn Seattle (5-7-6, 21 points) the draw.
Dempsey, 34, gave age as a reason for starting the game on the bench.
“I’m getting older,” Dempsey said. “Three games in one week is more difficult to do. (If the club needs) I’ll come on an be a sub and try to help out.
“I was just trying to rise above the defender and get a head on it. Luckily enough, it went in. Soccer’s a crazy game. Last week (the late draw) felt like a loss, this feels like a win. It shows we have a lot of character.”
Seattle grabbed a lead in the 28th minute, when Joevin Jones scored on his own rebound after picking off a misplayed back pass from Dairon Asprilla.
Portland tied in the 45th minute, when Fanendo Adi scored a penalty kick after Brad Evans lost his footing and tackled Darlington Nagbe from behind in the penalty area. The foul ended Evans’ night, red-carded by referee Ricardo Salazar for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Adi converted the penalty to the left side of the net as Stefan Frei went the wrong way.
The Timbers added a second goal five minutes later, when Asprilla met a corner kick from David Guzman with his head at the near post and caught Seattle’s defense napping.
Despite being down a man, Seattle was not defensively cowed in the second half. The Sounders finished with 46 percent possession and were outshot 13-9.
Head coach Brian Schmetzer was pleased.
“Similar to what happened the last time we came down here, nobody quits,” Schmetzer said. “This team will not quit. It’s too proud of a franchise to do that and they did that again on their own. I barely had to say (anything at halftime) because those guys in there were the determined ones to make sure they got something out of the game. I don’t have to coach them a lot in situations like this.”
For a team that had not scored more than one goal since a dramatic three-goal comeback against New England April 29, Dempsey’s late tally earned Seattle a reprieve from the hand-wringing that would have accompanied a team with two wins in its past six games.
Sounders’ Morris, Roldan called in to USMNT squad
The Sounders will have two representatives on the U.S. team when the squad begins play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup July 8. Forward Jordan Morris will be joined by midfielder Cristian Roldan, the latter answering his first call-up to the U.S. team after developing into a regular starter for the Sounders over the past two seasons.
USMNT coach Bruce Arena chose a young squad for the Gold Cup, hoping to get more players experience as the U.S. enters the final stages of preparation for the 2018 World Cup.
Roldan, from the University of Washington, is one of four receiving their first senior team call-up, and one of 10 called in for national duty for the first time. Thirteen players on the 23-man roster have fewer than 10 caps for the USMNT.
The squad will play a tune-up against Ghana Saturday in East Hartford, CT (1:45 p.m., ESPN).