So you want to beat Portland as much as I do and that's why you want to know what they fail at so you know how and when to expect Obafemi Martins goals and backflips. Well, in short, they suck at everything. I don't say this out of spite or hatred for them really, just out of anti-Caleb Porter, Porterball, and 85% of their roster. I really do not like a lot of their players and I think they are misused. Overall, nothing has changed since I wrote this one on the Timbers love of fouls and counters, I mean they play no differently now than when we lost in Portland.
Portland has waived Gaston Fernandez (no not that Gaston from Beauty and the Beast) after...meh who cares. They didn't get along, he wanted money, they didn't want to pay or want him playing much anyway. When that happens you have to cut a player; it's that simple. For the Sounders, this does not mean much for this game as he's typically just an annoying substitute. Since he left, they are 2-1-0, beating Chicago and RSL and then drawing Houston. Coinciding with his release was a trade for Michael Seaton (not that that matters) and DP signing Lucas Melano.
Melano has played in five matches, starting the last two. In his just over 200 minutes he's scored one goal and picked up one assist, both in his only 90 minute appearance against Houston. He's been a pretty good scorer everywhere he has played, so expect him to keep up his scoring that he did against Houston ... but not against us. Neither was a show of skill from Melano, just right place and poor defense, but it takes knowing your teammates to get into those positions and he is starting to show some chemistry.
Fanendo Adi was replaced by Melano in the starting lineup last week. While the Timbers could go to a 4-4-2 with Diego Chara missing this week, it is unlikely. Melano adds a little more speed and technical ability while Adi is just a bruising poacher. Melano creates more of a threat running at the CBs while Adi is a threat in the air, although this is less of a concern with Roman Torres staring him down.
So as I just name dropped, Diego Chara is out. Red card for violent conduct in stoppage time against Houston. Pretty cool, huh? A much weaker midfield without him in means that the Sounders should be able to have a level of dominance that was unavailable to them in Portland. Without Chara, the team will rely even more on Liam Ridgewell to step up and stop attacks as they materialize. With Ridgewell's penchant to foul as well, expect Martins and Valdez (and Deuce if he can play) to wreck the Portland backline.
The offense that should be on the field will have their way with a lackluster Portland defense and a weak midfield that likely features Will "I Will fight you" Johnson and Jack "Tastes like Schnozberries" Jewsbury (although Johnson could be out due to leg soreness). The risk for the Sounders will be the wings. Portland has speed and attacking prowess (even though they convert as well as Fernando Rodney can in the 9th inning) that can pin Tyrone Mears and his leftback partner back the whole match. Torres and Marshall are good players, but they are not burners and could get beat by the speedy Timber wingers.
Overall, without Chara, the Sounders will guaranteed score a few, but there will be plenty of nervy moments for all 63,000+ (hopefully 69,000+) as Diego Valeri beats Dylan Remick getting off a cross that Stefan Frei makes a beautiful save, starting a counter attack, which ends in a Lamar Neagle tap in. To celebrate Sounder at Heart's 7th birthday, this game ends in a reverse of the last score, 4-1 Seattle.
Are you ready for this???