MLS: Timbers' Cascadia draw latest in worrying pattern

The Portland Timbers were coming off two tough losses on the road in the last week -- 2-1 at Colorado and 3-2 at Minnesota United -- but their 2-2 tie with the archrival Seattle Sounders was even tougher to swallow after Clint Dempsey tied the score in the 94th minute.

"It feels like a loss," Timbers coach Caleb Porter said after the 2-2 tie. "Very disappointing. I don't think we managed the second half well. This has now become a pattern where we're in winning positions and we don't show a strong enough mentality, a strong enough urgency."

The Timbers won their first three games of the 2017 season and started 5-2-1, but they are 2-5-3 since then. Porter was most concerned because he said the Timbers are good enough to be in every game -- they have the players -- and have the support to a consistently winning team.

"This is a pivotal moment," Porter said. "After the guys look in the mirror and they look at that second half and they realize it's not good enough, it can be a turning point, a stepping stone, or it's going to be a stumbling block. We got to sort it out if we're going to win anything. Otherwise, we're going to continue to fall short."

Porter was most disappointed about how his players handled the second half during which they played with an extra man. Seattle's Brad Evans had been red carded late in the first half on the play that led to Fanendo Adi's tying goal from the penalty spot.

Porter said the Timbers wanted to keep the ball with a 2-1 lead and man advantage, but there were too many unforced errors. He said the Timbers didn't want to foul but lacked discipline. "We didn't get burned," he said, "but we could have." And Porter said the Timbers wanted to get a third goal, which never came.

The Timbers trailed on a goal by Joevin Jones in the 27th minute, but goals by Adi and Dairon Asprilla late in stoppage time in first half put them ahead.

"When I look at how we played after we gave up the goal," Porter said, "that's how we should play every game for 90 minutes. But when the pressure tightened up in the second half, we didn't manage the game well."

One big issue for Portland is that its play suffered after the exit of U.S. national team midfielder Darlington Nagbe in the 72nd minute with what he told Porter was tightness in his hamstring.

"My belief in their ability to do that hasn’t wavered," Porter said, "but when Nagbe went out of the game, the game changed. That shouldn’t happen -- one player going out of the game. The personality shouldn’t change."

In the 94th minute, the Sounders won the ball in midfield, captain Osvaldo Alonso played it to the right flank for center back Roman Torres, who lofted a cross into the center of the area, where Dempsey leaped and fired a low header into the left side of the net, exposing the Timbers' weakness -- the middle of the backline depleted by injuries and suspensions.

Dempsey was the last player the Timbers wanted to leave unmarked. The goal was his ninth against Portland, the most of any player.

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