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MailTribune.com
  • Johnson gives Seattle 1-0 win over Portland

  • SEATTLE — Clint Dempsey's introduction to the Cascadia rivalry came before one of the largest crowds in Major League Soccer history and was filled with pushes and shoves, harsh tackles and heated words.
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  • SEATTLE — Clint Dempsey's introduction to the Cascadia rivalry came before one of the largest crowds in Major League Soccer history and was filled with pushes and shoves, harsh tackles and heated words.
    And Seattle got the better of its rivals from Portland.
    "I told the guys before the game, this career is so fleeting and there is so much uncertainty day to day ... but the one thing I know for certain is we beat Portland, period," Seattle defender Zach Scott said. "We're always going to be the team to beat. They can say there is a changing of the guard, they can say we're a group of stars and they are the team, but in the end we are the ones that are going to come out victorious."
    Eddie Johnson flicked a header past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts off a free kick in the 60th minute, and the Seattle Sounders made Dempsey's home debut memorable with a 1-0 win Sunday night over the Portland Timbers before the second-largest, stand-alone crowd in Major League Soccer history.
    The crowd of 67,385 trailed only the first home game for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996 that drew 69,255. It topped the 66,452 that saw Seattle and Portland play last October at CenturyLink Field and was the largest for any match in Seattle, besting a friendly against Manchester United in 2011.
    "Nobody compares to our fans. When they turn out in numbers like that, it's indescribable," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said.
    Johnson scored his fourth goal against the Timbers moments after his speed in the open field drew a free kick when he was chopped down by defender Pa Modou Kah. Mauro Rosales' curling ball into the box found Johnson wide open after he left defender Alvas Powell behind.
    "We're going to keep suffering if we don't find goals and if we don't sort out set pieces," Portland coach Caleb Porter said.
    It was Johnson's sixth goal in MLS play. Seattle improved to 35-0-8 in its last 43 games when scoring first and controlled the second half after Portland had the better chances in the first 45 minutes.
    The Sounders moved into a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with 37 points and still have at least one game in hand on the rest of their playoff competition.
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