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Sounders v Portland Timbers Western Conference Semifinals Leg One - ELEVEN Questions

The two MLS Cup Playoff clubs are as familiar with each other as possible, yet they can still learn more. Saturday's first leg promises to have everything that makes for historic moments (national TV, rivalry, high stakes and a huge crowd).

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Already exchanging about a dozen questions in previews with Michael and the Stumptown crew there would seem to be little new. This exchange about the big MLS Cup Playoff Western Conference Semifinals is different. Eleven rapid fire questions and answers to help you get ready for Saturday's 7 PM match. Some are clearly meant in good fun, others offer insight not yet shared between the two sites. Today, it's Eleven Questions.

Previewing the match with the help of Michael Orr from StumptownFooty as we exchange 11 rapid fire questions.

From Sounder at Heart to StumptownFooty.

1. What did Caleb write in his scouting notebook after watching Seattle?

"Spacing and composure beats this team"

2. How much worry is there that Donovan Rickets will be Donovan Rickets against soon (asks the guy who just saw a major keeper gaffe)?

None whatsoever. He's minimized the goofiness this year and been very solid throughout the season.

3. If the Timbers add a third captain to the club who would it be?

Pa Kah, leader of the locker room pranks.

4. What's the brief history of Timbers v Sounders playoff matches?

Timbers won the first in 1975. Since then, it's been mostly Sounders, including series victories in 2004 and 2005.

5. Porter expects the #9 to stretch the field rather than be a target. What's that mean for defenses?

It means Diego Valeri could be just as likely to be playing in the forward's area as the no. 9. Also means simply dropping in to defend won't necessarily account for various attacking bodies.

6. The Wall of Gambia is good or fortunate?

Both. They work well together and are much less risky than when either is paired with Andrew Jean-Baptiste. Kah will not be as crazy as last time in Seattle.

7. How does the team look when going against diamonds?

The worst opponent this year for Portland has been Real Salt Lake, which has mostly used a diamond. So not as well as against other set ups.

8. Who is an under-appreciated regular who will play on Saturday?

Either Michael Harrington or Jack Jewsbury could be the answer here. I'll go with Harrington, as he has received almost no attention despite being a regular, good starter all year.

9. Are there fan expectations for leg one?

Timbers have only given up two goals in two games in Seattle, yet won neither. A draw is a very good result.

10. How excited are fans that Vancouver is rooting for Portland?

Not particularly interested. Though happy to have given the Whitecaps the Cascadia Cup.

11. If you were Porter what weaknesses of Sounders FC would you exploit?

Marcus Hanhemann. Experience can't make up for old age and dodgy keeping. Expecting a strong Seattle effort on Saturday but testing the goalkeeper early could be fruitful.

* * *

1. Is DeAndre Yedlin going to play?

We don't know yet. My bet is no.

2. Is it true that Marcus Hahnemann predates the entire Timbers/Sounders rivalry?

This is a fact. So do I. So do the Sounders.

3. Brad Evans: better right back or midfielder?

Better midfielder as he's not a great crosser and still learning where to be when. The second part is certain to come.

4. Will Obafemi Martins be back?

Maybe as a sub in leg one. Much stronger chance for leg two.

5. Eddie Johnson: most likely to score against Portland or second most likely?

Most likely. He's quite like Montero in that he gets up for matches against the darker green.

6. Will fatigue play a part on Saturday?

I don't think so. This is a team that has years of multiple games in a week.

7. How devastating would a loss at CenturyLink Field be?

The series would be over.

8. Is Sigi Schmid going to be the coach next year if this game/series don't go well?

If it winds up like the crushing losses in 2010 and 2011 yes no.

9. Be honest, you hate the football lines and wish the Sounders had their own stadium, don't you?

I hate football lines but I'm happy that the city didn't spend the money to build three 40,000+ stadiums in downtown.

10. What is the most likely change to the XI (injuries aside) from Wednesday to Saturday?

They're all injury related but it could mean that Scott starts at RB, or Rose/Rosales at RM, or Burch at LM. There's lots of ways the lack of Yedlin could force changes.

11. If you were Schmid, what weakness of the Timbers would you most want to exploit?

Kah and Chara being a bit foul prone. Having a set-play specialist on the field could be huge.

A projected lineup exchange will happen Saturday.

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