The Portland Timbers had a tumultuous weekend thanks to the events of their 2-1 loss to FC Dallas last Saturday. Now, though, the Timbers have to gear up to face their arch-rivals, the Seattle Sounders, in just five days. Going into that match, Caleb Porter will be forced to shuffle up his lineup with at least one new face making an appearance. Let's take a look at who could be out, who could be in, and what it all means for the Timbers' approach to this Saturday's match.
Chance of missing the game: 98%
Harrington was issued a red card for some off-camera "fighting" that has been reported as everything from two players striking each other to a tug on a jersey and a retaliatory push. Either way, the circumstances of the event will make it very difficult for the Disciplinary Committee to reverse the decision, should the Timbers decide to appeal. The incident was not caught on the broadcast camera and based solely on what was seen by the linesman, so any appeal would be based solely on the testimony of those who saw the incident and would require a unanimous decision to overturn the suspension. (Find the process for appealing a red card here.)
Chance of missing the game: 75%
In the 38' Nagbe streaked by Jair Benitez with a crazy burst of spead, kicking the ball past the Colombian fullback's left side then sprinting around his right to run onto it, before sending a low pass into the middle of the pitch. After he sent the cross in, Nagbe pulled up lame and had to be helped from the field. Nagbe stayed on the pitch through end of the half, with the opening goal coming from a cross from Benitez on his side of the pitch, but was substituted before play resumed. After the match it was revealed that Nagbe had pulled his hamstring and was taken out as a precautionary measure. Hamstring issues, if not allowed time to heal, have a tendency to pop back up again, so barring a miraculous recovery or taking a big risk, it seems likely that Nagbe will miss the first Cascadia derby of the year.
Chance of missing the game: 50%
Trying to predict the fickle whims of the Disciplinary Committee is never easy, but Kah's stoppage time yellow card will likely be reviewed by the DC and, given the fact that he went in studs up with his foot well off the ground, it seems like a good possibility that they will hand down a suspension. In this case, because a yellow card was issued in the game, the DC will have to unanimously agree that Kah's tackle should have been a red card initially and that he endangered his opponent's safety. (More on the DC here.)
Chance of missing the game: 33%
The Timbers did not bring Zakuani along for the match against Dallas thanks to a hamstring issue of his own. The lack of the tricky winger left the Timbers without some much needed width to their play and allowed the Dallas defense to play a much more compact game. Now, Zakuani has the opportunity to face off against his old team. Although there does not appear to be any animosity between Zakuani and the Sounders, or vice versa, this would be a big game for him to come out and make his mark on the Timbers' season. Still, the lingering doubts about his fitness and the possibility of losing him for a longer period will definitely give the Timbers pause before inserting Zakuani into the lineup.
- Other players who will miss Saturday's match: Donovan Ricketts (suspension: 100%), Rodney Wallace (knee: 100%), Steven Evans (back: 100%), Schillo Tshuma (loan: 90%), Taylor Peay (loan: 95%), Aaron Long (loan: 100%), Bryan Gallego (loan: 100%).
Some fans have been howling for Powell's speed at fullback since last season and, with Harrington out, they will likely get their wish. Powell will likely be matched up against Lamar Neagle and Dylan Remick (or potentially Leo Gonzalez) on Seattle's left flank as Jack Jewsbury gets moved across the pitch to fill in for Harrington.
Kalif put in an impressive shift against Dallas, making better use of the open space on the pitch than any other Timbers player. However, it was in tight quarters where he shined the brightest, particularly when slipping a pass to Diego Valeri in the Dallas box by putting the ball through a defender's legs. With the Timbers' attack continuing to sputter and their wide options questionable, Kalif looks like a good fit to make the field and stretch the Seattle defense on Saturday.
The season is still young, but Futty has already made his way into the starting lineup once and looks poised to do so again with the possibility of Kah being handed a suspension. Futty just finds his way into the starting lineup.
- Other longshots to be inserted into the starting lineup: Frederic Piquionne, Ben Zemanski, Jorge Villafana, Michael Nanchoff, Rauwshan McKenzie.
Who do you think will be able (and allowed) to play against the Sounders? Who else deserves a shot in Saturday's rivalry match?