PORTLAND, Ore. — Clint Dempsey scored a hat trick, including two goals in the final five minutes of the match and the Seattle Sounders staged a furious late rally to pull out a 4-4 draw with the rival Portland Timbers on Saturday.
Trailing 4-2 for most of the second half after goals from Diego Chara and Maximiliano Urruti early in the half gave Portland the advantage, Dempsey led Seattle’s stunning late comeback to earn a point in the first Cascadia rivalry matchup of the season.
Dempsey scored in the 85th minute to get Seattle within 4-3. Seconds later Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin was taken down in the penalty box by Portland’s Ben Zemanski. Referee Hilario Grajeda immediately pointed to the penalty spot and Dempsey converted the chance to get Seattle even.
Dempsey recorded the fourth hat trick in Sounders history and upstaged a career day from Chara with two goals, his first in MLS play since 2011.
Kenny Cooper also scored in the third minute against his old club to give Seattle an early advantage and but it was Dempsey stealing the show. It was his first hat trick in any competition since January 2012 when he was playing for Fulham in the Premier League and surpassed his entire goal total since returning to the MLS last summer.
And it came less than 72 hours after Dempsey played all 90 minutes of the United States’ 2-2 exhibition draw with Mexico in Glendale, Ariz.
Seattle walked off thrilled with the final result and knowing there were other missed chances in the final minutes to get a winner. Meanwhile, the Timbers stood stunned as the worst start in their brief history continued. The Timbers have generally been slow starters since joining the league in 2011, but now have just three points after five games, not the start anyone in Portland expected after reaching the Western Conference finals last season.
Diego Valeri also scored for Portland during a frantic first 25 minutes that was only surpassed by the final few moments.
Chara’s last goal came in September 2011 against New England. But Seattle was willing to give him space and he took advantage with two perfectly placed shots from outside the penalty box. His first goal deflected off goalkeeper Stephen Frei’s hand but had enough force to get into the net. His second goal came from about 25 yards and Frei had no chance at the save. Both times, Seattle’s defenders failed to step up and defend Chara’s shot.
Urruti’s goal in the 57th minute appeared to give Portland plenty of cushion, but Dempsey said otherwise and both sides had to settle for the draw in one of the wilder matchups of a rivalry dating to the mid-1970s.
Weber, Cooper and Portland midfielder Steve Zakuani all became the first players to have participated on both sides of the rivalry game.