The Sounders played a man down the entire second half after Brad Evans was ejected, but they found the equalizer after 90 minutes, the fourth time this season they’ve seen a game decided in stoppage time.
PORTLAND, Ore. — In a hot, muggy visitors’ locker room at halftime Sunday night, the Sounders worked hard to shake off what hit them right at the end of the opening 45 minutes-plus.
They’d outplayed the Portland Timbers in front of their hometown fans at Providence Park, only to collapse in the final 3½ minutes by allowing two goals and losing defender Brad Evans to a red card. But in that locker room, the Sounders regrouped, pressed the play throughout the second half and scored a Clint Dempsey equalizer deep into injury time to salvage a 2-2 draw and a critical road point that appeared lost.
“We wanted to show character,’’ Dempsey said after his ninth career goal of this Cascadia rivalry. “Go back out there and show fight. Get something from the game even though we had a man down. Credit to the guys. They fought hard and we were able to do it.’’
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The Sounders and Dempsey have been down this road before in this stadium. They trailed 4-0 at halftime in a game against the Timbers last August before rallying for a pair of second-half goals in a loss that often is credited for starting the team on its MLS Cup run.
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And Dempsey, according to his coach, simply loves scoring against Portland. Dempsey couldn’t resist a postgame smile when asked about the 94th-minute snap-header from the box he put on a Roman Torres cross that beat keeper Jake Gleeson to his right.
“It definitely feels good,’’ he said. “That must be what it feels like to slam dunk in a game.’’
Dempsey hadn’t even started this derby match, a rarity for a player who thrives in rivalry situations. His energy level had looked so depleted toward the end of a draw against Orlando City FC on Wednesday that coach Brian Schmetzer sat him out for the first half of this one, with temperatures hovering in the low-90s at kickoff.
The Sounders looked anything but sluggish the first 40 minutes, pressing the play with unusual aggressiveness for a road game and managing to take the rabid home fans out of it early. Joevin Jones opened the scoring in the 27th minute by slotting home his own rebound past Gleeson and…