Matchday Preview | Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders at JELD-WEN Field - October 13, 2013

Timbers and Sounders rivalry battle amidst tight playoff race; Watch on ESPN


PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
Oct. 13, 2013 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #304)
6 p.m. PT (ESPN/Deportes; 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940 AM)

The Cascadia Cup – and the chase for places in the MLS Cup Playoffs – will be on the line when the Portland Timbers play host to arch-rival Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday evening before an ESPN audience at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers come into the weekend holding third place in the Western Conference and nearing a postseason berth, following their 2-2 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend. Sounders FC can clinch a playoff spot with a victory, but are coming off back-to-back defeats by heavy margins, last a 4-1 home loss to Vancouver at midweek.

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Timbers extended their current unbeaten run to five games (3-0-2), playing to a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place last Sunday afternoon. The Timbers are in third place in the Western Conference with 50 points from 31 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers took the lead in the 41st minute. Darlington Nagbe turned well outside the area and hit a full-blooded screamer that found the top left corner, beating Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted.
     
  • Whitecaps FC pulled level in the 76th minute, when Camilo scored from a free kick from more than 30 yards out that took a deflection into the bottom corner of the goal.
     
  • But almost before Vancouver was done celebrating, the visitors stormed back down to the other end of the field and restored the one-goal margin as Nagbe held off a defender then squared for Will Johnson to lash home from the top of the box.
     
  • Yet a stroke of sheer brillance provided the equalizer. After a marauding build-up down the left, Darren Mattocks’ cross found Lee Young-Pyo overlapping on the right side. He pulled back for Camilo near the top of the box, and the Brazilian conjured a flying, acrobatic overhead kick that beat Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts from 16 yards.
     
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that defeated the LA Galaxy 1-0 at JELD-WEN Field. Kalif Alhassan came into the midfield in place of Diego Valeri.
     
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-1-3): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Pa Modou Kah, Mamadou Danso, Michael Harrington - Will Johnson, Diego Chara - Kalif Alhassan (Diego Valeri 67) - Darlington Nagbe (Ben Zemanski 86), Maximiliano Urruti (Jose Adolfo Valencia 78), Rodney Wallace.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers are unbeaten since Sept. 7, posting a 3-0-2 over the last five games. Over the past five games, the Timbers have out-scored opponents 9-3 in that span and recorded three clean sheets.
     
  • “When they’re throwing four, five, six guys up top at the end and running at you, for us to be able to get out of here with a point, when they had the momentum and they needed three points and they’re going to throw numbers forward with reckless abandon, it shows we’re a mature team able to deal with that,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said.
     
  • The Timbers now face back-to-back matches against the teams ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, their final two regular-season home games this season. The Timbers are riding a 13-game undefeated streak at JELD-WEN Field, the third-longest home unbeaten streak in MLS in 2013.
     
  • “It’s great because those are the two teams ahead of us as well, so if we beat those teams then we deserve to be in the top three, if we don’t then maybe we don’t,” Porter said. “Everything is in our hands, we control really our destiny at this point in terms of where we finish.”
     
  • Darlington Nagbe regained the Timbers team lead with his ninth goal of the season, his second consecutive goal from outside the penalty area, after striking against Real Salt Lake on Aug. 30 for his last goal.
     
  • “Nothing surprises me with Darlington because I’ve seen him do it all,” Porter said. “I just think he continues to show that he’s one of the top players in the league.”
     
  • Nagbe also contributed his fourth assist, setting a new single-season career-high in his third MLS campaign.
     
  • “He probably doesn’t get as much credit as he should, but the reality is you earn your credit by producing goals,” Porter said. “And up until this year, he hadn’t produced enough. And this year he’s showing that he can be a player who is pretty special on the ball, in terms of his possession and touches, but also he’s a player who can score goals.
     
  • Will Johnson scored his eighth goal of the season, his second in the last five games after going nearly three months between league goals.
     
  • The Timbers now have four players (Nagbe, Ryan Johnson, Will Johnson, Diego Valeri) with eight goals or more, the only team in MLS with as many eight-plus goalscorers.
     
  • “We’re doing it by committee,” Porter said. “We’re not a one-headed monster, we don’t have one guy who is going to score a lion’s share of goals. We have to do with it with four or five guys, and we’ve done it that way all year, which I think again says a lot about the fact that we play a team game and share the ball and share the production, and that’s really just the way we’ve put the team together.”
     
  • The three goals in three consecutive minutes tied the MLS record, the second time it’s happened in league history. In 2000, the MetroStars and Miami Fusion combined for three goals in the 43rd, 44th and 45th minutes.
     
  • “It was a little wild, I haven’t been a part of a game like that in a while,” said midfielder Jack Jewsbury. “There was some good plays, some unbelievable strikes, and we’re disappointed to not get out of here with three points, but at the end of the day you have to congratulate Camilo on two unbelievable world-class goals, nothing we could really do to defend those.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS
The Seattle Sounders went down to a second consecutive heavy defeat, falling 4-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders are in second place in the Western Conference with 52 points from 31 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC took the lead after just 12 minutes. An attempted clearance was volleyed forward by Daigo Kobayashi, and Kekuta Manneh outraced a Seattle defender to reach the ball before slotting past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning from the left side of the box.
     
  • Manneh and Vancouver had a second on 42 minutes. After Lee Young-Pyo freed Camilo Sanvezzo down the sideline, he back-heeled it to Manneh, who again raced past a Sounders defender and again beat Gspurning with a low shot.
     
  • The result was all but sealed when Manneh completed his hat trick in the 53rd minute, after he worked a one-two with Kobayashi on the right side of the box before driving the ball between Gspurning's legs.
     
  • The Sounders made it 3-1 in the 69th minute when Mauro Rosales jumped on a rebound and pounded it into the back of the net from the center of the area. But the margin was restored in the 82nd minute when Nigel Reo-Coker raced away on a breakaway from his own end and put a tight-angle shot through Gspurning's legs.
     
  • Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that fell 5-1 to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Djimi Traore came into central defense for the suspended Zach Scott, Andy Rose started in midfield in place of Adam Moffat, and David Estrada and Obafemi Martins came into the team with Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson on international duty.
     
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch (Patrick Ianni 60) - Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose (Steve Zakuani 79), Osvaldo Alonso, David Estrada (Clint Dempsey 51) - Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins.

TEAM NEWS

  • After allowing a new club MLS record three days earlier in Colorado in conceding five goals, the Sounders matched their previous mark with the four goals allowed to Vancouver. It also matched the most goals they’ve ever allowed at CenturyLink Field (equaling a 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on May 8, 2010).
     
  • "At the end of the day, it wasn’t a good performance today, it wasn’t a good performance at Colorado, and it’s unacceptable," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "We live and die together, we live and die as a team, as a staff, everybody. It’s unacceptable from us as a coaching staff, it’s unacceptable for us as a team, and it’s just unacceptable the last two performances. Everything you say is warranted because obviously we haven’t done anything in the last two games to show a difference.”
     
  • The nine goals allowed in the two games matched the total conceded by the Sounders in their previous 12 league matches, since a 2-0 loss in Vancouver on July 6.
     
  • “I feel like the rest of the team — horrible," said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. "It just wasn’t fun the last two games, there were 10 or 12 one-on-one situations where the striker can decide where he wants the ball. If you're lucky, you make some saves. If you're not, this happens. I can't say more because my mind is empty.”
     
  • Said defender Djimi Traore: “I don't know, maybe it's the pressure of the end of the season, the playoffs, the first time the club is in position to win the shield. It's not easy to deal with it. But now we need to show some character and as experienced players we need to step up and drive the team.”
     
  • Mauro Rosales scored the lone Sounders goal, his first since Aug. 10. “To accomplish we still have to make the points to qualify to be first in the conference. We can do it, we know the team has to step up and just be the guys we were the past games, not the last two,” Rosales said.
     
  • With Brad Evans away with the U.S. national team, David Estrada made his first start since Sept. 4, coming into a wide midfield role.
     
  • “It doesn't help. It doesn't help, just makes it a little bit harder, especially when you're struggling right now. So you have that and Zach Scott out for two games on cards, so you just have to juggle it. It is what it is. Every team has to go through the same thing,” Schmid said.
     
  • “I think we have to look at everything. I think we have to look at goalkeeper, I think we have to look at defenders, we have to look at midfield, and we have to look at attackers because the performance of the team hasn't been good enough. There's nobody that's a given right now,” said Schmid.
     
  • Obafemi Martins was able to return to the side after missing the Colorado match through injury. Clint Dempsey also made a return to the team, coming off the substitutes’ bench for the final 39 minutes, his first appearance since Sept. 13. His last start for the club came on Aug. 31.
     
  • Steve Zakuani made his first league appearance since April 20. He underwent sports hernia surgery after starting in each of the first six matches this season.
     
  • “I wasn't really thinking of [my return]. When I came into the game we were 3-1 down, so I was just thinking like every other player on the pitch on our team-just trying to find a way back into the game. There was no nostalgia, it was nothing about my first game back. It was just about trying to come in and try to give the team a lift,” Zakuani said.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Corey Rockwell; AR2 (opposite): Greg Barkey; 4th: Ricardo Salazar
Grajeda MLS Career: 96 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 16; pens: 14

DISABLED LIST: POR: Mikael Silvestre (season-ending injury); Ryan Miller (season-ending injury); Brent Richards (season-ending injury) … SEA: Josh Ford
SUSPENDED: SEA: Zach Scott (through Oct. 13)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ben Zemanski … SEA: Leo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Diego Chara, Will Johnson, Rodney Wallace … : SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Adam Moffat, Brad Evans
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: POR: Ryan Johnson, Alvas Powell (Jamaica); Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica) … SEA: Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 7 goals … Sounders 3 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
AT PORTLAND (3 meetings): Timbers 1 win, 5 goals … Sounders 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 1

2013 (MLS)
3/16: SEA 1, POR 1 (Johnson 13 – Wallace 92+)
8/25: SEA 1, POR 0 (Johnson 60)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. A Rodney Wallace goal in second-half stoppage time canceled out an early Eddie Johnson to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw, March 16 at CenturyLink Field. Johnson scored the game’s only goal for a Sounders home win on Aug. 25.
     
  • The Sounders have now defeated their Pacific Northwest rivals in three consecutive matches, all in Seattle. 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 42 times, Portland winning 28, and 10 draws.
     
  • Coaches' records: Sigi Schmid vs. POR: P7 W3 L1 D3 … Caleb Porter vs. SEA: P2 W0 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The game's only goal came right on the hour. Mauro Rosales whipped in a free kick from out on the left flank and Eddie Johnson sent a perfect glancing header into the back of the net.
     
  • Michael Gspurning was called upon to make four saves, including a pair of crucial stops in the dying minutes of the game, for the shutout.
     
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Brad Evans, Shalrie Joseph (Mauro Rosales 56), Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle (Djimi Traore 90) - Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson (Servando Carrasco 90).
     
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-4-1): Donovan Ricketts - Alvas Powell (Sal Zizzo 81), Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington - Jack Jewsbury (Ben Zemanski 86) - Darlington Nagbe, Kalif Alhassan, Diego Valeri, Rodney Wallace - Ryan Johnson (Jose Adolfo Valencia 61).