Timbers 2 are top of the USL West Conference. Right behind them? Sounders 2. Both teams undefeated to start the season and they will face each other for the first time providing yet another page in the history book that is soccer between these two cities.
T2 (2-0-1, 7pts) absolutely dug in and robbed the Monarchs of a point on the road on Wednesday night. A very promising and even first half turned into a sloppy wet mess in the second. The T2 defense held firm, despite a red card by defender Rennico Clarke to bring them down to 10 men. Jake Gleeson showed why the Portland Timbers have been so high on him with a Man of the Match performance to keep T2 in the match for at least the draw. So while the performance in the second half was awful, their resolve was not. So on very short rest and with a very intimate and unfriendly environment awaiting this team, T2 will need that resolve and a lot more to get out of the north with a point or more to stay at the top of the conference.
The short turnaround and red card to Clarke should force head coach Jay Vidovich to make some changes. Ones that might have been planned or perhaps now some unplanned ones. The T2 defense spent the entire second half on the back foot preventing the Monarchs from getting the game winning goal so how that affects them with such little rest could determine the outcome of this match given the goal scoring exploits of S2 only two games into their campaign.
S2 (2-0-0, 6pts) are still perfect as they face T2 in their third match this season. They put 4 goals past Sacramento Republic FC in their opener, and another 4 past Whitecaps 2 for 8 total scored and only 2 allowed. From our preview interview it seems that their head coach cares most about winning. So this S2 team has a little more age and a little more experience than other MLS 2 sides.
It also needs to be said, S2 played Whitecaps 2 on the same night Timbers 2 had their home opener. And they haven't played since. While Timbers 2 played another home game, and a road game and three nights later visit Starfire. And S2's first road game will be Thursday after this match against Tulsa Roughnecks in Oklahoma. So Timbers 2 should expect a fresh team, with all available first team loans, at home in a very hostile and intimate environment, ready to try and put anther 4 goals against not just another opponent but a rival and current top team to boot. It is a team built to do nothing but attack it seems (though with only 2 goals against in 2 games their defense is as good as T2's with 3 goals against in 3 games). Without a shutout yet, and built to attack, it seems unlikely T2 will get a shutout here. As long as the T2 attack isn't jet lagged we could be in for a goal fest treat.
Watch it: Streamed live on Timbers.com/T2 and embedded in our T2 match thread
Kickoff: Saturday, April 11th, 7:30pm pacific at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington
Portland Timbers 2: 2-0-1, 7pts, 1st place in the USL Western Conference
Seattle Sounders 2: 2-0-0, 6pts, 2nd place in the USL Western Conference