SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. PORTLAND TIMBERS, Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The Portscum Treecutters have made their voyage up the Interstate-5 for a Sunday night throwdown at Royal Brougham Park in the Evergreen of Seattle. That’s right, ladies and jellylegs, it’s the Pacific Northwest Derby, no holds barred, completely out of control, woollier than a New Zealand sheep ranch, utter anarchy, CATS AND DOGS – LIVING TOGETHER…Well, you get the idea. We have to support our boys in Green to the full extent of our combined powers. We must rally the Green family to the RBP, to viewing parties in Seattle and across the nation. That’s right you Fog City Faithful. Hold it down in Mountain View. Hold it down in the Haight. Hold it down at Pill Hill. A victory tonight would go a long way towards a run at that last Western Conference MLS Cup berth. Let’s link it up and join each other in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

The Good News
The Sounders are experiencing a storybook return to form with the side on 3 match unbeaten streak, dropping only two matches of their previous six. Seattle new boy, Nicolás Lodeiro is proving himself to be as good as his resumé. Perhaps the Uruguay and former Boca Juniors man is even better than we thought he was. The Sounders are scoring again with six goals in the last three matches. Clint Dempsey is quite adept at chopping down the Treecutters, as he has scored six goals against Portland in the league all-time, a club high for the Sounders. With Lodeiro’s ability to get teammates the football and generate scoring opportunities for them, look for Dempsey to Hulk-out on the hopefully unsuspecting Treecutters. CLINT SMASH!!! The Treecutters find themselves in a patch of spotty form indeed having dropped three of their last four matches, and winning only two of their last six. Sounders FC have never lost to Portland at Royal Brougham Park. In the seven matches played in Seattle, the Sounders have won five, and drawn two. Portland have yet to win on the road this season. Thus all signs seem to point to decisive victory for the Sounders FC.

The Bad News
The Treecutter’s top two goalscoring aces, Adi and Valeri, are both healthy and likely to start on Sunday night. They are both among the league’s top ten goal scorers. Adi has hit 11 goals this season, Valeri an even 10. One of those two losses in our last six was handed to us at Morrison Street, in the land of Oregon, where the shadows lie. It was a bitter 3:1 pill to swallow. We still trail the Treecutters by five points in the Western Conference standings. Portland currently sit in the last MLS Cup berth on 32 points. Although the new boy, Lodeiro has fueled a seeming turnaround in the Sounders’ fortunes, we still sit 15th in the league table.

The Rest
This match, aside from the usual gravity of the Pacific Northwest Derby, is a six-pointer. If the Sounders can grab the three points, and by zero-sum mathematics deprive Portland of those three points, we will have 30 points in the league standings. A place where we can begin to crowd the Treecutters, San Jose, and Vancouver, who are also vying for the last Western Conference MLS Cup berth.

Familiar Faces
Portland goalkeeper, Jake Gleeson was offered a trial with the Sounders in 2010 but the New Zealand man declined in favor of a guaranteed contract offered by the former USL incarnation of the Portland Timbers as they were preparing to make their MLS debut. Portland defender, Taylor Peay played seven times for the Sounders U-23s from 2011-  2012. Peay also played at UW for the Huskies for his entire collegiate career. Portland midfielder, Andy Thoma spent his entire NCAA career at UW Huskies making over 80 appearances in the team. Thoma also played 25 times for Washington Crossfire in the PDL.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Mears, Evans, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Dempsey, Ivanschitz, Morris.

Bench: Miller (gk), Scott, Gómez, Friberg, Fernández, Valdez, Anderson.

Portland: Gleeson, Powell, Taylor, Ridgewell, Andriuskevicius, Melano, Nagbe, Jewsbury, Valeri, Adi, McInerney.

Bench: Konopka (gk), Klute, Peay, Barmby, Grabavoy, Brett, Okugo.

Injury List
Seattle –
OUT: Torres (ACL), Kovar (fractured clavicle).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Friberg (quad).

Portland –
OUT: Borchers (ruptured Achilles tendon).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Valentin (bone bruise), Zemanski (groin), Mattocks (hamstring).

Discipline
No suspensions for either club.
No players out with next booking.

Fun Fact
Seattle was passed over when they applied to be one of the inaugural MLS franchises in 1994. In 2004 Seattle’s MLS bid was passed over again, with the league instead awarding expansion to Salt Lake. Seattle were passed over in their third attempt at expanding into MLS in 2006, despite the best efforts of the USL Sounders owner, Adrian Hanauer. It wasn’t until 2007 that Hanauer managed to assemble a team of investors to join him in Seattle’s successful fourth attempt to join MLS. This investor group constitutes the current ownership of the Sounders FC – Hanauer, Joe Roth, Paul Allen, and Drew Carey. All told, the cities of Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles (Chivas USA), Salt Lake, Houston, Toronto, and San Jose (redux), were all granted MLS expansion franchises before Seattle earned theirs in 2009.

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