Portland’s Julio Cascante deflected the ball into his own net in the 76th minute as the host Timbers endured a 1-0 loss to the longtime rival Seattle Sounders on Sunday night.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei made three saves for his sixth shutout of the season for the Sounders (11-9-5, 38 points), who won their franchise-record seventh consecutive game and stretched their unbeaten streak to 10 matches.
The Sounders also moved past the Timbers (10-7-7, 37 points) in the race for the Western Conference’s sixth and final playoff berth. Seattle is up to fifth place ahead of the LA Galaxy (38 points) on the first tiebreaker, most wins. Portland sits in seventh, ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps (37 points) on the second tiebreaker, goal differential.
The Timbers suffered their fourth straight defeat after a 15-match unbeaten run.
The own goal came after Sounders defender Kim Kee-hee made a run down the right wing. His cross for Raul Ruidiaz glanced off Cascante’s leg and trickled into the far left corner of the net, leaving goalkeeper Jeff Attinella with no chance.
The Timbers dominated the offensive chances in a scoreless first half, outshooting the Sounders 14-2.
The Timbers had three good chances just inside the 10-minute mark.
Diego Valeri put a 30-yard free kick just wide of the left post in the eighth minute.
Sebastian Blanco also had a chance in the eighth after a Seattle turnover deep in its own end, but Osvaldo Alonso knocked the ball away at the top of the 6-yard box before Blanco could get off a shot.
Less than a minute later, Cascante headed a corner kick from Valeri just over the crossbar.
Valeri also had a good chance early in the second half, but Frei dived to the left post to knock away the 25-yard shot.
The Sounders started getting some better chances midway through the second half after Will Bruin, who is tied for the team lead with six goals, came on as a substitute.
That opened up space for Ruidiaz, who couldn’t quite catch up to one through ball that Attinella charged and smothered. Ruidiaz also had a bicycle kick from the middle of the penalty area go wide left in the 89th minute.
Overall, Portland outshot Seattle 22-6, though the Timbers had just a 3-2 edge in shots on goal.
The Sounders now own a 10-7-6 edge in the MLS series between the teams, though the rivalry dates back more than 100 matches to 1975 in the old North American Soccer League.
—Field Level Media