SEATTLE – MLS Rivalry Week came with high expectations for some competitive battles around the league on Saturday, with no expectations higher than in Seattle where the Sounders FC hosted the Portland Timbers in the first match of the Cascadia Cup.
The Sounders had everything to cheer for in the match, as Eddie Johnson scored his first goal of the season and Obafemi Martins made his debut. However, the hotly contested match finished in a 1-1 draw when second-half substitute Rodney Wallace scored a 90th-minute equalizer.
Portland midfielder Diego Valeri tested Michael Gspurning with a shot from the top of the box, forcing Gspurning to dive to his left for the save in the opening minute
Portland had another chance in the ninth minute, but Darlington Nagbe was just a step behind a ball from Ryan Johnson, cutting the pass across the box from the left side.
In the 13th minute, Steve Zakuani raced up the left side uncontested on a ball from the midfield and cut a left-footed cross to Johnson at the far post for the tap-in goal and the Sounders, putting them up 1-0 with their first goal of the MLS season.
In the 70th minute, Martins subbed into the match for his first appearance for the Sounders FC amidst a roar from the 40,150 in attendance. In the 80th minute, he showed a glimpse of the explosive play that made him a star in Europe when he darted up the left side to get a ball from Zakuani, then sliced a ball across the goal mouth for Johnson, but he was a step behind and the ball rolled away.
Seattle held their 1-0 lead until the final minute when Andrew Jean-Baptiste found Wallace for a header in the box to make it 1-1 in the 90th minute.
The Sounders will play their first road game of the season next week against the San Jose Earthquakes.