Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders
It’s post-season for Major League Soccer right now. The Portland Timbers clinched The Audio 2018 MLS Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals in the series against the Seattle Sounders. The Portland Timbers will move onto play either The Real Salt Lake or Sporting Kansas City. Although the season is over for The Seattle Sounders, it was a close match and had many fans hanging on to the edges of their seats and scarves. The match went to extra time after some struggle in the first half with both teams exchanging fouls. The second half of the game both teams seemed to be more in stride with some rhythm and after Sounders star forward Raul Ruidiaz missed the mark in minute 54, he didn't miss the second time around. Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella failed to catch a long cross, and the Peruvian striker pounced on the loose ball, burying it to flip the series in Seattle's favor. The Timbers didn’t give up one bit as they counter-attacked in the 78th minute to take the lead. It was Seattle’s Ruidiaz in the 93rd minute who blasted the ball in for a goal and tying the match to 3-3, resulting in 30 minutes of extra time. Fans were ecstatic!
Early into the extra time, Portland snagged the advantage as substitute Dairon Asprilla scored with a back-post header from Diego Valeri's cross, but a handball at the other end by Blanco allowed Nicolas Lodeiro to tie up the series from the penalty spot four minutes later. Ruidiaz hit the back of the net for a third time in the second period of extra time, but the goal was waved off due to a handball infraction on the play. In the ensuing penalty kick shootout, Seattle's Will Bruin hit the post, while Osvaldo Alonso saw his attempt saved. Stefan Frei's save on Portland's Liam Ridgewell briefly kept the Sounders' hopes alive, but Asprilla was able to end the Sounders' season despite Frei getting a hand on his series-winning attempt.
Portland advances to play their next match on Sunday, November 25, against either Sporting Kansas City or The Real Salt Lake, depending on both of those teams' next matches. They play each other on Sunday, November 11.
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