Matchday Preview: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
March 16, 2013 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #24)
5 p.m. PT (NBC SN)
MLS Rivalry Week will reach a pitched fever on Saturday afternoon when Seattle Sounders FC meet the Portland Timbers in the latest installment of their Cascadia Cup rivalry at CenturyLink Field. The clubs have been rivals since the mid-70s. Sounders FC return to league action after reaching the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, looking for a first league win after a 1-0 season-opening loss to Montreal. The Timbers are looking for a first victory under rookie head coach Caleb Porter, coming off a 2-1 home loss to that same Montreal team last weekend.
The Portland Timbers are still looking for a first victory under new coach Caleb Porter, the Montreal Impact claiming a 2-1 win on Saturday evening at Jeld-Wen Field.
The Impact took the lead on the opening half-hour. Hassoun Camara tallied from a spectacular overhead kick after Portland had failed to clear their lines following a Montreal set piece.
The visitors then doubled their lead 30 minutes later. Patrice Bernier got loose in midfield before slotting substitute Andres Romero through. Romero pulled it back to Felipe at the edge of the six-yard box, and the Brazilian made no mistake in beating Donovan Ricketts to the near post.
The Timbers responded with a fury, aiming for their second comeback in two weeks. They got a breakthrough in the 80th minute when forward Ryan Johnson got goalside of Camara, heading in from close range, but could get no closer.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made no changes to the team that came back for a 3-3 draw with the New York Red Bulls at JELD-WEN Field
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Ryan Miller (Jose Valencia 68), Mikael Silvestre, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington (Rodney Wallace 86) - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Kalif Alhassan (Ben Zemanski 46), Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe - Ryan Johnson.
WATCH: Porter, R. Johnson on facing Seattle
Against New York, the Timbers got off 21 attempts at goal. They put six on target against Montreal, but could come away with only the single goal.
"It's not surprising we had as much of the ball as we did, we knew that would be the case," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. "ím surprised we had  shots and only had one goal. And Iím disappointed we gave up two goals on [nine] shots. I'm disappointed they hit us basically the two ways we prepared for them to hit us. And we didn't do a good enough job in managing those two things."
Ryan Johnson scored his first goal with the club, after being acquired in the offseason after scoring seven goals with Toronto FC last year.
"As time goes on, it's still early in the season and everyone is still getting accustomed to one another, weíll be fine, Iím not worried about it," Johnson said. "We just need to remember in the back of our minds that weíre doing the right things."
After scoring the first goal of the season for the Timbers the week before, Diego Valeri did not put a single one of his six goal attempts on target against the Impact.
"It's not a coincidence that two games straight we've shot more than 20-something times on goal. I think these are club records that we are setting and it's because we have offensive weapons," said Ryan Johnson. "Weíre doing the right things, they (shots) are going to fall, weíve just got to be a little bit sharper around the goal when it comes to those final passes. As time goes on, weíll be fine, Iím not worried at all."
The Timbers have allowed five goals in their two matches, tied with New York and Chicago for the most in the league after two matches.
"We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and we need to correct some things," Porter said. "Because we were good enough to win that game if we don't make them again, I sound like a broken record these last couple weeks, but if we donít make those critical mistakes that weíve been making. It's disappointing to dominate like we did and not get a result."
Ben Zemanski made his first appearance of the season, coming on at halftime for Kalif Alhassan, and recorded his first assist.
- "Whenever you have two home games to start the year and you only have one point, youíve got to figure out a way to get a win," Zemanski said. "Three points is huge in this league and there are a lot of games left for us to do it. We've got to get that first win."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC return to league play following a weekend off, opening the new season with a 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact on March 2 at CenturyLink Field.
The only goal came after 35 minutes. Felipe chipped the ball over a pair of defenders for Davy Arnaud to run onto, and from just outside the area he floated a half-volley over Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning after he wandered a bit too far off his line.
Homegrown Player DeAndre Yedlin was a surprise starter at right back, and Mario Martinez was given the start wide in the midfield with Mauro Rosales stepping into an attacking role.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez (Servando Carrasco 84) - Andy Rose (Alex Caskey 62) - Mario Martinez, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani (Sammy Ochoa 69) - Mauro Rosales, Eddie Johnson.
WATCH: Sounders lose season opener to visiting Impact
In the league opener, Homegrown Player DeAndre Yedlin was a surprise starter at right back. "I thought he played well," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. "I thought for a young man making his debut at home there could have been a lot of pressure. He could have not handled that well, but I thought he handled it well, I thought he played well, and it thought he had a good game."
Schmid didnít have Marc Burch available because of suspension. David Estrada was out with an ankle injury, and Lamar Neagle, acquired from Montreal in the offseason, could not play against his former team as conditions of the deal.
"Leo [Gonzalez] has been playing left back for us, so [Marc] Burch being out, it wouldn't have changed our lineup. [Pat] Ianni being injured, [Adam] Johansson being injured, Estrada being injured, Neagle not being available," said Schmid. "Those definitely affected things in terms of our lineup and our lineup choices. This group has played together."
With the choices, Mauro Rosales moved into an underneath striker role, below Eddie Johnson. "We didn't have a lot of options with guys being out injured, so those were the choices that we made. I don't think it was so much a matter of those choices," said Schmid. "It was just a matter of maybe we thought because we had gone undefeated that it would just keep going, because we won the Desert [Diamond] Cup it would just keep going. We all got to look at it and say, 'Hey, we need to come out a little hungrier, a little sharper."
Following the league opener, Sounders FC reached the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League with a rare defeat of a Mexican club, defeating Tigres UANL 3-2 on aggregate.
In the first leg in Monterrey, Tigres scored the game's only goal. Hereís the Sounders FC team: Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott (DeAndre Yedlin 81), Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mario Martinez (Marc Burch 89), Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle 68), Eddie Johnson.
Then in the second leg, Tigres took a first-half lead, but goals from DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore and Eddie Johnson sent Sounders FC into the semifinals. Seattle will take on Santos Laguna, which eliminated the Houston Dynamo. A year ago, Santos knocked Sounders FC out of the competition 6-2 on aggregate.
"I wasn't too happy with how we played in the first half," Schmid said. "I wasnít too happy with some individual efforts which we sort of identified very directly. But we also said 'this was how weíre going to play in the second half. This is what I need.' I think you saw Steve Zakuani step up in the second half. Obviously DeAndre stepped up. 'Three goals is very possible. Three goals is not impossible. We can score three goals, letís go do it.'"
- Here's the Sounders FC team: Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Mario Martinez 54), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 27), Steve Zakuani (Marc Burch 83), Sammy Ochoa, Eddie Johnson.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Drew Fischer
MLS Career: 233 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 59; pens: 48
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 9 goals -- Timbers 1 win, 6 goals -- Ties 2
AT SEATTLE: Sounders FC 1 wins, 4 goals -- Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal -- Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 8/25: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers, 7 p.m. PT (ESPN2); 10/13: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/24: POR 2, SEA 1 (Boyd 16; Horst 25 - Johnson 58)
9/15: POR 1, SEA 1 (Wallace 78 - Montero 57)
10/7: SEA 3, POR 0 (own goal 25; Johnson 28; Montero 62)
- Sounders FC defeated their Pacific Northwest rivals for the first time ever at home in MLS play with a 3-0 victory last Oct. 7 at CenturyLink Field. In the first meeting a year ago, the Timbers defeated Seattle in MLS play for the first time, a 2-1 win at Jeld-Wen Field on June 24.
- 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 78 times in official competitions, Seattle winning 41 times, Portland winning 28, and 9 draws.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. POR: P5 W2 L1 D2 | Caleb Porter vs. SEA: first game