When push comes to shove…
The Portland Timbers host the Seattle Sounders tonight at JELD-WEN (6PM National TV @ESPN) and the stakes just keep getting higher.
No doubt most are aware of the embarrassing defeat The Sounders took against Vancouver the other night… so with their last two games Seattle have gone from sounding out their presence in the West to floundering about on a rocky beach gasping for air.
For a fisherman who fancies a flounder the time couldn’t be better to pick it up and slap it on the grill for a fine fry! I like mine with chips and vinegar please!
So what about the game tonight?
Hard to say; most likely it takes the shape of a cup game while also pulling on the kit of a knock-down, drag-out ultimate fight match where neither team will be willing to give an inch.
Games like these are more about emotion and the adrenaline rush of energy that goes with it than simply a tactical match where tried and true practice habits immediately surface on the pitch.
That’s not to say all the time and energy put in throughout this season won’t come into play – it will and most probably during a breakdown off a set-piece for or against — the immediate counter is always a danger with both squads given their speed; my only regret is I won’t be there to watch it and feel that tingling burst as the National Anthem closes and the game begins.
When it’s all said and done…
This is the third time Portland will have had the chance to vault into first place out West – and I don’t think that critical three points is lost with this team.
While the match is a penultimate one, given both Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA await, the bottom line on this one is it is likely the winner of this match decides who is best placed to take the Supporters Shield given a strong close-out.
Without further ado…
Three points push this team to the pinnacle; one point sustains a top position in the playoff race while nil-pwa makes the next two games even harder… Last season Merritt Paulson made a promise to repay the fans; he’s done that and more by bringing in a top Head Coach who’s simply brilliant at getting the most out of his players.
With Rodney Wallace and Ryan Johnson both on International Duty it would seem reasonable that if Diego Valeri is healthy we see Kalif pop out on the left in place of Rodney – but a surprise move might include seeing Valencia (or Piquionne) riding in tandem with Urruti up top.
Hard to say but the back four is most probably the same with both Chara and Johnson rotating between a single and double pivot down the middle.
All that remains is kick-off and ninety minutes of full-on, full-speed, in-your-face, football with one commercial break sandwiched between 45 minutes of pure action… pity @ESPN doesn’t have the “football” talent with their staff to offer up the same in-depth analysis they offer on two of the most boring sports in this country…
Next Up my in-depth match analysis…