The Main League Soccer playoff recreation on Thursday evening had all of the substances to be a memorable one. The Seattle Sounders-Portland Timbers rivalry is among the fiercest within the league, and after a one-goal dwelling victory by the Timbers within the first leg, each groups had been feeling good about advancing.
And the sport was memorable all proper, only for a completely surprising motive.
Minutes from elimination, Seattle scored a late purpose to forge a 2-1 victory in regulation time. Since that was the identical rating as within the first leg, tying the groups within the sequence combination, that despatched the sport into further time. Each groups scored once more within the further interval, making it 3-2 within the recreation, however 4-Four over the 2 legs.
When the whistle blew, a number of Timbers gamers instantly celebrated. Sebastián Blanco fell to his knees in ecstasy. A small knot of Timbers gathered in a bunch hug, smiling within the obvious perception that Portland had received by scoring extra away objectives.
In lots of competitions, together with Europe’s Champions League, they’d have been proper. There, away objectives are the primary tiebreaker. However in M.L.S., away objectives scored in further time aren’t thought of — some extent made explicitly within the league’s playoff guidelines.
The referee and the tv commentators knew that. Many followers in all probability did, too. It appears sure a handful of the Timbers didn’t.
The celebrating gamers had been shortly knowledgeable by their teammates, together with Zarek Valentin, who appeared particularly properly knowledgeable, that the sport was not over, and was the truth is headed to a penalty shootout.
Because the M.L.S. rule guide for the convention playoffs notes (in capital letters): “If on the finish of the 180 minutes the groups are tied on each whole objectives and away objectives, the groups will play two 15-minute further time intervals during which away objectives DO NOT depend, adopted by, if vital, penalty kicks to find out a winner.”
After the sport, the Timbers appeared reluctant to confess that they’d not fairly understood the foundations.
“No, I feel we had been excited,” Coach Giovanni Savarese stated of the gamers’ untimely celebration.
“We celebrated as a result of we had a superb effort,” Blanco stated, straining credulity. “We celebrated as a result of we knew we may win.”
The excellent news for Portland got here a couple of minutes later: It received the penalty shootout, 4-2, and acquired to have fun for actual.