The Seattle Sounders play their archrival the Portland Timbers today down in that stinky little river city. This game always has gravity, but as Portland has been climbing and Seattle falling in the MLS rankings lately, this one will be especially heated.
Portland had a stellar run of form going before LA buzz-sawed, 5-0, them for the worst result in the Porter era. DP CB Liam Ridgewell got chippy at the end of a sloppy game and saw red, meaning he’ll be out for this Cascadian Clash. Ridgewell and LA’s Alan Gordon went up for a ball. Ridgewell had no chance of winning it as Gordon had position, but scraped a high boot, cleats out, on Gordon’s back and thigh. Straight red. Wait. A DP got testy in an out-of-control match and saw red? Think of the children. At least Dempsey only assaulted paper.
Ridgewell’s absence should soften the Timber’s defense, he’s been stellar lately. But we can’t score goals with our current lineup. The sounders are scoreless in our three understaffed games: 0-1 SKC, 0-2 SJC, 0-1 Philly. Luckily we haven’t hemorrhaged goals like PDX. After resting players against Philly, we should have a better crack at Portland.
We should have a first choice backline as Marshall only had fifteen minutes as the world’s biggest striker and Mears benefitted from the rest. Though the availability of Ozzie is still uncertain, the midfield should be fine. Pappa will be making his last start before the Gold Cup and Pineda should have shaken off the rust from his time away (lordy was he a problem on Wednesday). Forward is still a glaring hole. Barrett would make a big difference if he can go.
It’s funny how we lamented the depth at midfield earlier while saying we had too much talent at forward. We all have to admit that Neagle up top just isn’t working.
Bold Prediction: I’m starting with a modest proposal to Sigi: start Darwin Jones as the lone striker. He was one of the very few goal-dangerous Sounders in Philly. Yes he’s raw and made the horrible decision to shoot into the side-netting instead of feeding Marshall for an easy goal. That said: he is fast. And stout. He has good body control and mass, and could be a pesky lone striker. I can see Jones harrying a depleted Timbers backline, allowing Rose, Pappa and Roldan to fill-in and clean up. I doubt Sigi makes this call in this game however.
My confidence is shaken in the JV getting results, but rivalry games are chaos. We are in Portland’s heads: 1:1 draw.
Sorry we haven’t recorded a Wrong Color Green podcast in a while. My partner-in-crime, Bob, recently became a father. Unfortunately he’s raising a little Timbers fan, but we’ll love him anyway.