Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC | MLS Match Preview
PORTLAND TIMBERS vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Ore.
April 5, 2014 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #35)
12 noon PT (NBCSN)
Free live stream on NBCSports.com
The first Cascadia Cup game of the new season kicks off a weekend of rivalry matches when the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC renew their pitched battle on Saturday afternoon at Providence Park. The Timbers come into the game looking for their first victory of the season, following a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas last weekend. Sounders FC start a long road swing after a late 2-1 home loss to the Columbus Crew a week ago.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 100 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 18; pens: 14
SUSPENDED: POR: Donovan Ricketts (through April 6) … SEA: Djimi Traore (through April 6)
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 8 goals … Sounders FC 3 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
AT PORTLAND (4 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 6 goals … Sounders FC 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 7/13: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. PT; 8/24: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 2 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/16: SEA 1, POR 1 (Johnson 13 – Wallace 90)
8/25: SEA 1, POR 0 (Johnson (60)
10/13: POR 1, SEA 0 (Alhassan 45)
- The long-time rivals met in a pulsating Western Conference Semifinal Series a year ago, with the Timbers winning 5-3 on aggregate, including a 3-2 second-leg win in Portland.
- Portland’s first-leg win in the MLS Cup Playoffs was the club’s first ever in all competitions in Seattle since coming to MLS. Sounders FC have recorded the only road win in the all-time MLS series between the clubs, a 3-2 win July 10, 2011.
- The clubs have a long history against each other, dating back to the North American Soccer League, when the Timbers played their first ever game against Seattle on May 2, 1975. In more recent times, the teams met in back-to-back years in the U.S. Open Cup, with the MLS Sounders defeating the D-II Timbers in both 2009 and 2010.
- Versions of the club have faced one another in the NASL, Western Soccer League, APSL/A-League/USL First Division and now MLS. Overall, the clubs have met 84 times in official competitions, Seattle winning 42 times, Portland winning 31, and 11 draws.
- Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. SEA: P3 W1 L1 T1 … Sigi Schmid vs. POR: P8 W3 L2 T3
The Portland Timbers remained winless to open the 2014 season, seeing FC Dallas hit for a late winner in a 2-1 loss Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. The Timbers are in seventh place in the Western Conference with two points from four games.
- Before halftime, both teams were a man down as Portland’s Michael Harrington and FCD's Je-Vaughn Watson were both sent off by referee Sorin Stoica in the 39th minute for an off-the-ball incident.
- FC Dallas took the lead in first-half stoppage time. Jair Benitez played in a far-post cross, which was headed into the ground by Kellyn Acosta and then headed past Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber by an unmarked Blas Perez.
- But the visitors drew level on an odd play in the 66th minute. Portland forward Maximiliano Urrutiís pass for substitute Kalif Alhassan deflected off the foot of Dallas captain Matt Hedges, wrong-footing goalkeeper Chris Seitz as it caromed into the net.
- Yet FC Dallas had one final answer. After the ball was sent back into the danger zone following an FCD free kick, Mauro Diaz shifted to his right in the heart of the area and fired a low shot past Weber for the 84th-minute match-winner.
- Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes that suffered a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Norberto Paparatto came into central defense in place of Mamadou Danso, and Maximiliano Urruti started in attack in place of Steve Zakuani.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-1-3): Andrew Weber - Jack Jewsbury (Frederic Piquionne 87), Pa Modou Kah, Norberto Paparatto, Michael Harrington (ejected 39) - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Diego Valeri - Darlington Nagbe (Alvas Powell 46), Maximiliano Urruti, Gaston Fernandez (Kalif Alhassan 62).
- The Timbers have started the season winless in their first four games for a second straight season (0-1-3 last year; 0-2-2 in 2014). After the season-opening four-game winless run last year, the Timbers won their next two games and reeled off 13 games without a loss.
- “It would be easy to get down and frustrated and start worrying, but we’re not going to do that because we know we have a good team and we know what we’re capable of,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “It seems like I keep saying that, but at the end of the day, if we weren’t playing well I’d be worried. But we’re playing well.”
- Said midfielder Will Johnson: “If we start to turn ourselves and let the frustrations of the losses build up, that’s where you run into trouble … We have to keep building and realize we’re four games in to a 34-game season.”
- For a second consecutive game, the Timbers finished a man down after Michael Harrington was sent off along with FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson for a first-half incident. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was sent off the week before.
- “It’s a chess match. I prepare for it mentally because you never know when it’s going to happen. Again, we’ve had two of them in four games,” Porter said. “Makes it difficult but I thought we handled it well, managed it well tactically. I thought the guys executed the second half exactly how we wanted them to.”
- Andrew Weber made his first start for the Timbers in goal, credited with 2 saves, with Ricketts suspended. Weber had made five starts over the last two MLS seasons with Seattle.
- There will be an injury concern for the Sounders FC match after Darlington Nagbe was forced injured from the field at halftime. Nagbe has appeared in 52 consecutive league matches for the Timbers. Porter said Nagbe picked up a “knock” against FC Dallas and the team is “definitely preparing to play without” him.
- After moving to the substitutes’ bench for the Colorado match, Maximiliano Urruti returned to the starting lineup, coming in for Steve Zakuani, who did not feature in the Dallas match.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC returned home and lost for a second consecutive match at CenturyLink Field, the Columbus Crew hitting for a dramatic late winner in a 2-1 win on Saturday evening. Sounders FC are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 6 points from 4 games.
- Seattle opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. A pass from Obafemi Martins from the midway line put Kenny Cooper into space behind the Columbus defense, and after a long run he rifled his shot inside the far post from the left side of the box.
- The match took a dramatic turn in the 58th minute. Crew forward Dominic Oduro was able to get behind the Sounders FC defense and drew a penalty from center back Djimi Traore, who was also shown a red card for his foul. Federico Higuain blasted the subsequent penalty into the back of the net to level the score at 1-1.
- The Crew then scored the winner four minutes into stoppage time. From a short corner, Higuain found Justin Meram unmarked at the top of the penalty area and he curled home a stunning strike from the left side of the box high inside the far post.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that defeated the Montreal Impact 2-0 at Olympic Stadium. Michael Azira came into the midfield in place of Andy Rose.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-3-3): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore (ejected 58), Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick - Michael Azira, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda - Kenny Cooper (Jalil Anibaba 60), Obafemi Martins (Leo Gonzalez 86), Lamar Neagle (Sean Okoli 76).
- Sounders FC have suffered back-to-back home losses for the first time since May 12-23, 2012, when they lost games to Real Salt Lake and Columbus in successive starts in Seattle. The Sounders’ next three games are away from CenturyLink Field beginning with the trip to Portland.
- “It's frustrating obviously. To get scored on in both the circumstances; the penalty kick, and then towards the end not being turned on and they get a quick corner kick right at the end,” said striker Lamar Neagle. “It's very frustrating I think, especially after the first that we had. I feel like it was one of the better halves that we have put together as a team.”
- Kenny Cooper scored his first goal with Sounders FC, making a second consecutive start.
- “It always feels good to score, whether it's yourself or your teammate. It's one of the best feelings in the game. In front of these fans, obviously, it's that much more special,” Cooper said. “It was a great team buildup. Oba [Martins] put me in so well and I'm just glad it ended up in the back of the net."
- Michael Azira made his first MLS start, coming into the three-man midfield in place of Andy Rose. Gonzalo Pineda started a second consecutive match in midfield, again playing the full 90 minutes.
- “I thought Azira was fine. I thought Azira played well. Again I thought the three midfielders, Osvaldo [Alonso], Azira, and [Gonzalo] Pineda were good,” said Schmid. “… (Pineda is) good with the ball, he's got good vision, he finds people, hit a couple of good free kicks and corners.”
- Sounders FC have run out an unchanged back four for each of the opening four matches of the season, but there will be a change this weekend after Djimi Traore was sent off just before the hour in the Columbus game.
- “I thought we handled it OK for the most part, tried to get some fresh legs on with Sean Okoli and Leo Gonzalez, and had to make the switch with [Jalil] Anibaba so we could get back to our four in the back,” Schmid said. “So I thought we handled it OK.”