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Storylines: Portland Timbers v Seattle Sounders

The guppies swim south

MLS: Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Story So Far

The Portland Timbers took time out of their home stand to head south down I-5 to San Jose. Thanks to the maestro sinking a curling free kick in the late moments of the match, the Timbers walked away from Avaya Stadium with all three road points; knowing the comforts of home awaited them.

The Fish are riding the wave of their first road win of 2018 into Providence Park. Midweek, they beat Toronto FC 2-1 at BMO Field. Currently the Sounders occupy second bottom in the Western Conference. They are there by virtue of goal differential (-3 to -4), just ahead of the dead last San Jose Earthquakes.

The Fish bring a 1-2-1 road record into Providence Park and are bottom of the league in goals scored with 7, averaging less than a goal a match. The Sounders are known to be slow starters, but their fan base is getting twitchy.

The 100

The century mark. Blood, sweat, and cheers.

100 matches, and decades of animosity on and off the pitch. Unfortunately because of LAFC entering the league - it made for a unbalanced schedule between the three Cascadia clubs. Thus, this Sunday’s battle is outside the realm of the Cascadia Cup standings.

This will still bring a lot of intrigue as a Cascadia Derby is anything but boring, even if the team from up North can’t seem to buy a goal. The Timbers can make this a special 100 by sending the Sounders back home with their tails between their legs.

We beat them to an MLS Cup, we have the Cascadia Cup - why not add more to the Timbers history by winning the 100th match between the two storied clubs.

Deuce isn’t so loose

The AARP bound failed rapper has only one assist from league play, no goals and has only gone the full 90 twice, outside of that he’s either come off the bench or been in the stands serving a red card suspension.

Clint Dempsey isn’t getting any younger - he just turned 35, on a team that the average age is just over 27 years old, which also includes a 33-year-old center-back in Chad Marshall and they rely on Will Bruin (28) for their goals in the absence of Jordan Morris who is out for the season with a torn ACL. So you can see why they’ve only posted just 7 goals in eight matches. In Toronto, it was rookie youngster Handwalla Bwana that scored the game winner, notching Seattle’s second victory of the season.

What role will Dempsey play Sunday? Not sure, and hope it’s a small one. Though this guy, especially in Cascadia Derbies, tends to make something out of nothing to the Timbers dismay. Blech.

You Can’t Rewrite History

The Timbers come into this match riding a three-match win streak, our longest streak is 4 matches. With a win we tie that record and with the rest of the homestand could break that record.

Right now they’re having a good time; scoring goals and playing well. Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco are tied for the team lead in goals with four. Thanks to Jeff Attinella and his consecutive clean sheets they’ve brought their goal differential to -1, which is just holding them out of sixth place; the Houston Dynamo currently hold that spot with a goal differential of +5.

I’m liking the direction this team is starting to go, and Gio’s use of the 4-3-2-1/4-2-3-1 hybrid is starting to show results. Since Portland’s introduction into Major League Soccer in 2011, 65 goals have been scored total between the two teams. That’s 3.25 goals per-match, so defense will play a large role.

This is really a good chance to take advantage of the fact that the Sounders played last weekend, then on Wednesday, and now they fly back from the East Coast to Seattle before bussing to Portland. I’m going to guess there are going to be some tired legs in their 18. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they rotate, but I also won’t be totally surprised if they come at the Timbers with their (as close to) first-choice 11 as they can. Not only do we have a tired Seattle club, but history is with us, the Timbers are 6-2-3 at Providence Park against the Fish.

Things I want to see: clean sheet, three points, and the defense getting even better. Who would you pick to be the center-back next to Mabiala - Liam Ridgewell or give Bill Tuiloma his job back? Ridgewell is in a good run of form right now and you can’t argue with that. I’m of the mind that you ride a streak out, because you don’t mess with a streak.

At a some point they’re going to have to decide who is the man going forward. If Ridgewell keeps up his good play, then it could be tough for Tuiloma to get back into the starting eleven. But, that’s a discussion all it’s own.

So why not do a poll?


Who Do You Start?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Liam Ridgewell
    (206 votes)
  • 11%
    Bill Tuiloma
    (27 votes)
233 votes total Vote Now