All to play for tonight – put that 2-1 win aside for a bit and try not to think about it – it’s another 90+ minutes of full-on, in your face, football at JELD-WEN!
Habits developed over the season will be at near instinct level this game and while I won’t give an edge one way or the other I will offer that Seattle have juggled different approaches since Dempsey joined the team; so for me that’s an edge to Portland…
What to watch for…
Direct balls up top and deep into the Portland defending third – the approach Seattle take to penetrate should be pretty obvious as the game begins – the later the score-line remains one goal in favor of Portland the more direct Seattle will probably go.
Counterattacking for either team – there may be lull periods in this game where both teams will look to control the ball without pushing the ball – both coaches are tacticians of the game so poking and prodding for weaknesses and overplay will have just as much value as stopping play with a foul.
Disrupting play will probably increase for Seattle as the game and time pass – true both teams will look to set the tone early but I’d be surprised if there’s a early harsh foul.
The only piece not clear for Portland is their striker up top – we could see any one of four players if they are all healthy – the same can’t be said for Seattle – Johnson will either pair up with Dempsey or Martins with Neagle out.
My guess is we see Rosales earlier instead of later as Moffat doesn’t really have the pace and is more tuned to a slow build-up.
It doesn’t matter if Yedlin starts or not – Seattle must shut down the Timbers attack at all times – I would be surprised to see Yedlin push forward and risk being out of position on a Timbers counterattack . Now if time passes and the screws tighten Schmid will certainly pull out all the stops.
Should be a great game and my guess is the sensation and passion from the Timbers supporters will start early and last throughout.
Next up Match Analysis…