The Story So Far
35 down, 4 to go.
The Timbers and Dynamo played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals. It was a cagey affair, to be sure, and now it’s time for the second leg where it’s all on the line.
This brings us back to the fortress that is Providence Park and it’s less than hospitable for those who dare battle the Timbers on their home pitch. It comes down to the next 90 minutes - win and we’re off to face Seattle in the conference finals, or lose and the season will come to an abrupt end. Can the Timbers put away the Dynamo or will they take a page out of the Houston Astro’s playbook and win one for the city of Houston?
Sunday night was not kind to the Timbers, as we saw a glut of injuries that could impact this weekend. We know Diego Chara is done for the rest of the season; a broken foot will keep him sidelined. David Guzman, Darlington Nagbe Larrys Mabiala, and Sebastian Blanco are all listed as questionable and, according to Caleb Porter at Wednesday’s presser, the team is preparing as if those four are unavailable.
No Chara & potentially no Blanco, Guzman, Nagbe, Mabiala for leg two. Club will train tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s 4:30 Semifinal kick vs. HOU pic.twitter.com/oMV8PQNlon— Nick Krupke (@NickKrupke) November 1, 2017
I’d expect Roy Miller will deputize for Mabiala if he’s not ready to go. As far as Guzman, Nagbe and Blanco go, I have no clue who could replace them. Well, they can’t be replaced per se, but who will start in their spots if they’re not ready to go?
Could we see a midfield that has Ben Zemanski? I wonder if Jack Jewsbury could go 90? How the club is going to line up come Sunday night is what has me the most nervous.
No Place Like Home
The Dynamo haven’t beaten the boys in green and gold at home in 6 years, and the Timbers have turned Providence Park into a fortress. This is an obviously positive thing, though it’s not something we should count on. A hostile environment is waiting for the Dynamo but the Timbers need to be clinical finishers.
If there was one thing about last Sunday that I could pick out besides all the injuries, it was the finishing. The Timbers had their chances and were let down by their finishing. A lot of press is down on them because there’s no Adi and they see that as an issue. Have they not paid attention to the last 11 matches of the season?
We’ve been playing the ‘what if’ game with Adi since he first went down with a ‘minor’ injury, which has since turned into much more than minor. Apparently, his hamstring problem is right behind the knee which has been hard to diagnose and treat. They even sent him to Los Angeles to have another doctor take a look. There are rumblings that he could return in time for the Western Conference final which could be a really big help.
But like I’ve said before, when it comes to Adi’s injury, I’m not holding my breath.
Mental and Green
It’s do or die for the boys in green and gold.
It’s not the time for doom and gloom; the Timbers are going to have to go foward without Chara and he’s a main piece to be sure - the Timbers have played without him before and they’ll do it again. Right now, we as supporters can’t look past Sunday’s game, because sure as hell the Timbers aren’t doing that either.
Right now, it’s one match at a time, and while we know that the Sounders are waiting on the outcome, the Timbers have to play their game no matter who is on the pitch.
I’m nervous about Sunday, sure - it’s natural. But the boys got this. Like I mentioned above, the Dynamo haven’t won in Portland in 6 years and I see no reason that’s going to change now - no matter who we put on the field.
For those wondering, here is the official injury list: David Guzman (knee injury), Sebastian Blanco (foot injury), Larrys Mabiala (hip injury), Darlington Nagbe (calf injury) and of course Diego Chara who is having surgery on his broken foot. One thing that no one should complain about is the condition of our pitch. The pitch in Houston was terrible and may have cost us an injury or two.
35 down, 4 to go.
35 down, 4 to go.