Seattle Sounders supporters display their "tifo" that shows Sounders coach Sigi Schmid playing cards and holding a Royal Flush before an MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Seattle. The Sounders won 3-0.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
SEATTLE — The celebration of Sounders FC soccer couldn’t have gone better.
A franchise-record crowd for an MLS game showed up at CenturyLink Field. A high-powered offense overwhelmed a motivated rival. And the Cascadia Cup remained in Seattle — for another couple weeks, at least.
A dominant 3-0 win Sunday against the Portland Timbers, in front of 66,452, the second-largest crowd in league history for a stand-alone game, was a victory on multiple levels.
MLS commissioner Don Garber was one of the admirers.
“I’m not even here on official duty tonight,” he said at halftime. “I’m here just to experience it. I knew this would be a historic event.”
Before the game, as the stadium filled in, coach Sigi Schmid looked to assistant coach Brian Schmetzer and said, “This is what heaven must be like.”
Afterward, Schmid added: “In my imagination of heaven, this is it: packed house, beating Portland by three, fans going crazy — it can’t get better than that.”
The Sounders (14-7-10) jumped into third place in a tight race for playoff seeding in the Western Conference and retained the Cascadia Cup with the win. Portland would have clinched the trophy with a win or tie, though the Timbers (7-16-9) still can with a win on Oct. 21 in Vancouver.
Seattle started the rout in the 25th minute, when a cross to forward Fredy Montero was knocked into the Timbers goal by defender Futty Danso.
The lead grew in the 28th minute when forward Eddie Johnson scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season off a cross from midfielder Brad Evans. Johnson, who is expected to be called up to the U.S. men’s national team today, already owns the team record for goals in a season.
“Having 67,000 people behind you really helped tonight,” said Johnson, who compared the atmosphere to those in top stadiums around the world.
Montero capped the scoring in the 62nd minute by knocking in the ball during a scramble in front of the goal. The play was initially ruled an own goal, but was later changed to Montero’s 13th of the season.
, which established a new career high.
“When you see numbers, you see that I’ve scored more goals than the last three years,” the 25-year-old Colombian said, “but also I think the team is playing well, and hopefully this year in the playoffs we can advance further than the last three years.”
Johnson and Montero have combined for eight goals in six Cascadia Cup games this season.
Portland fell to a league-worst 0-12-4 on the road.
Sunday marked just the second time this season the Sounders have repeated the same starting lineup in consecutive league games. Each resulted in a big win — the other being a 4-0 home win against the Galaxy on Aug. 5.
Huge crowds in general have translated to wins in Seattle. The team is 5-0-1 in MLS games in front of more than 40,000, outscoring opponents 16-1. In front of more than 55,000 fans, the Sounders are 4-0 with an 11-1 goal differential.
“It’s a special opportunity to play in front of that many people, one you’ll always remember,” said midfielder Brad Evans.