Eddie Johnson flicked a header past Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts off a free kick in the 60th minute, and the Seattle Sounders made Clint Dempsey’s home debut memorable with a 1-0 win Sunday night over the 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, topping a friendly against Manchester United in 2011.
Johnson scored moments after his speed in the open field drew a free kick when he was chopped down by defender Pa Modou Kah. Mauro Rosales’s curling ball into the box found Johnson wide open after he left defender Alvas Powell behind.
Seattle improved to 35-0-8 in its last 43 games when scoring first and controlled the second half after Portland was superior in the first.
Seattle was on pace for another crowd of 60,000-plus before Dempsey’s arrival. But the acquisition of the US captain from Tottenham, plus Seattle’s archrival being his first home match, pushed the stadium past its capacity.
Dempsey received the loudest screams when he was the last name announced during pregame introductions. In the first half, he flicked a no-look pass to Johnson and nearly scored in the second-half on a modified scissor kick as he tried to get his first goal for Seattle.
Chivas USA 3, Red Bulls 2 — Erick Torres scored two goals, the first on a penalty kick, and Chivas beat New York in Carson, Calif.
Julio Morales also scored to help Chivas USA (5-14-6) win for the first time in more than a month and for only the second time since the end of March. Chivas hadn’t scored more than one goal in a game since April 27, a span of 16 games.