Photo by Brian Chu – UltiPhotos.com
Sunday saw the top two teams of the Western Conference face off at Renton Memorial Stadium. In a close game, Portland defeated Seattle 20-17.
The first place Stags looked to hold onto their top spot in the standings while the Rainmakers were trying to take a stronger hold on second place.
Despite some tough defense by Portland and an untimely drop by Seattle, the Rainmakers built a 4-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Portland quickly responded with two points of their own and neither team would lead by more than one for the remainder of the first half. Going into the locker room at halftime Seattle lead 10-9.
After a quick Stags point leading off the second half the next point took nearly three minutes. Each team had their opportunities including a huge block by Seattle on a put by the Stags from about five yards out. Seattle then immediately threw the disc away and Portland scored putting them up 11-10 halfway through the third quarter.
Momentum seemed to be going for Portland at this point but Seattle held with them and went point for point including a huge Callahan by Clay Dewey-Valentine to give Seattle a 13-12 lead with 2:30 to go in the third.
“The Callahan was sweet,” said Dewey-Valentine. “First of my life. Worth twice as much in the MLU because we get the disc right back.”
Portland would go on to score twice more before the end of the quarter to take a 14-13 lead.
The fourth quarter was all Portland. Seattle had its fourth drop of the game and Portland kept their trend of scoring on each break. Portland capitalized on Seattle’s no hucks defense and were content to hit undercut after undercut up the center of the field. The Stags remained composed throughout the fourth quarter and only took what Seattle would give them.
With five minutes to go Portland’s lead had grown to three and they would eventually grow it to four with just under two minutes to go. Seattle had some fight left in them and would climb within two points late in the game but they simply ran out of time.
While Portland won this game by three points, the contest was much closer than that. Portland outplayed Seattle in the fourth quarter and were able to capitalize on a few mistakes throughout the game.
“We weren’t able to execute today, which was a bummer,” said Dewey-Valentine. “We know we have the ability to win.”
Seattle travels to Vancouver next week to face a 1-4 Nighthawks team who’s lone win on the season was a 22-20 victory at Seattle in Week 2. Portland will host San Francisco who at 2-4 are still in a fight for the second playoff spot.