Portland clinched a 3-1 win after extra-time in Tuesday’s fourth-round cup tie, in which former Fulham and Tottenham forward Dempsey was one of three Seattle players sent off while Obafemi Martins was injured after all three Sounders substitutes had been used.
Seattle, the cup holders, were a goal down when defender Brad Evans was sent off in the 69th minute for a second yellow card. Former Newcastle United striker Martins was then injured in the 85th minute just after he had levelled the scores and the Nigerian was unable to continue, reducing Seattle to nine players with no substitutes left.
In the second period of extra-time, Michael Aziri was shown a straight red card for apparently striking a Portland player with his elbow.
A furious Dempsey appeared to be booked for his reaction to the red card, and the USA captain was then shown red after snatching the notebook from referee Daniel Radford, reducing the Sounders to seven players, the minimum with which a team is allowed to continue playing.
“Our guys played like lions and left their hearts on the field, and they got robbed,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “Caleb [Timbers coach Porter] said last year at the end of the [cup] game that it was the worst refereeing performance he had ever seen. I think it was topped this year.”
“I thought we looked very mature,” said Porter. “That’s what you want to see in your team. You want to see a team that’s up for the fight, but keeps their cool. We knew this was going to be an intense game. History said we wouldn’t win this game. We were able to knock off a very good team on their home field, something 20 other teams weren’t able to do.”
Play was briefly stopped towards the end of the game when objects appeared to be thrown at the Portland bench.