SEATTLE — Most of the 66,216 fans who showed up to CenturyLink Field on Sunday didn’t stick around for Sounders FC’s celebration of Fan Appreciation Day.
Timbers top Chivas 5-0
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Diego Valeri scored two first-half goals and the Portland Timbers cruised to a 5-0 victory over Chivas USA on Saturday night.
The win gives Portland the regular-season Western Conference title and with it home-field advantage through at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. Portland (14-5-15) will open the playoffs with an away match on Nov. 2 or 3 against either Seattle, Colorado or the LA Galaxy.
With the result, Chivas (6-20-4) became the 15th team in league history to finish a season with at least 20 losses.
Valeri scored in 16th and 29th minutes and assisted on Rodney Wallace’s 34th-minute goal. Ryan Johnson and Will Johnson scored second-half goals to provide the final margin.
Chivas played without starting goalkeeper Dan Kennedy due to an abdominal strain.
Seattle had just blown a lead to settle for a 1-1 tie in the regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Galaxy, extending a winless streak to seven games, second longest in franchise history.
The result means the Sounders (15-12-7, 52 points) will be the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and host No. 5 Colorado in a play-in game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. A win would have secured a direct berth to the conference semifinals, but coach Sigi Schmid, microphone in hand, promised it would happen as he addressed the fans afterward.
“We’re going to defeat Colorado,” he said.
Confidence remains, even after another disappointing result.
The Galaxy leveled the game in the 78th minute when a bouncing shot by star forward Robbie Keane just eluded a diving Michael Gspurning in goal. Keane has scored seven times against the Sounders in the past 12 months.
The goal held up and gave Los Angeles (15-11-8, 53 points) the No. 3 seed in the playoffs, where it will face No. 2 Real Salt Lake in the conference semifinals.
No. 1 Portland awaits the winner of the Seattle-Colorado game, and some Sounders are already looking forward to the prospects of the rivalry playing out on the big stage.
“I’ve been thinking about it: I’d rather play Portland, to be honest,” said Brad Evans, like his coach not afraid to look ahead.
Defender DeAndre Yedlin added: “I think that’s going to be a big motivation for us, being able to play Portland and give our fans a reason to talk (trash).”
The Sounders opened the scoring in the 30th minute when superstar Clint Dempsey got on the end of a cross from Lamar Neagle at the far post and skillfully volleyed it in with the outside of his foot.
The goal ended the superstar’s 590-minute drought with Seattle since his heralded return to MLS, and he tapped his wrist in celebration as if to say, “It’s about time.”
The team’s scoreless drought ended at 230 minutes and the Sounders took their first lead in five games, but it wouldn’t last.