Who You’ll Watch
For the second time in three years, the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers will meet in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Only three words need be uttered when referring to the last time these two faced off in the Open Cup — Red Card Wedding.
In the meeting prior to the RCW Seattle defeated the Timbers 3-1 on their way to winning their fourth Open Cup trophy. The Sounders will look to make a run to play in their sixth Open Cup Final.
The Sounders are tied with the Chicago Fire for the most Open Cup trophies by an MLS team, and are just one trophy away from tying the all-time mark of five held by Bethlehem Steel and Maccabi Los Angeles.
Osvaldo Alonso currently has six Open Cup goals in his nine-year career with the Sounders and is the leader among active players. The next closet? Brad Evans with two.
The Timbers have never won an Open Cup trophy, and have never even played in an Open Cup Final (that’s what happens when you lose to amateurs). The farthest that they’ve ever made it was in 2013, when they lost to Real Salt Lake in the semifinals.
The Sounders enter this mid-week match having not played since June 4, a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Portland on the other hand played this past Saturday, a 2-0 win over FC Dallas.
Clint Dempsey wouldn’t be able to play in this game, regardless of national team duties, due to the suspension he received after ripping apart Daniel Radford’s notebook. Jordan Morris might be available, but, at best, will likely be limited considering his time with the USMNT and the fast turnaround to get him to Seattle in time.
In their last five MLS games, Portland is 2-2-1, while the Sounders are 3-2-0.
Injuries & Callups
The Timbers have a lengthy injury report heading into this game. Gbenga Arokoyo (Achilles tear, out for season), Chance Myers (hamstring injury), Jeff Attinella (hamstring injury) and Jack Barmby (ankle injury) are all listed as out. Darren Mattocks (adductor injury) is listed as questionable. They’ll be missing Darlington Nagbe (USA) and David Guzman (Costa Rica) due to callups. Liam Ridgewell and Roy Miller both went down over the weekend, though news on the severity of their injuries has yet to be released.
The Sounders should enter this game the healthiest they have been all year. Henry Wingo (right ankle sprain) is the only player the is currently listed on the injury report, and Harry Shipp (hip) has been dealing with a nagging injury but is likely ready to go. Six other players will be missing due to national team duty, as well: Dempsey (USA), Morris (USA), Joevin Jones (Trinidad & Tobago), Roman Torres (Panama), Jordy Delem (Martinique) and Oniel Fisher (Jamaica).
What to Watch
Both teams come in with significant roster limitations that make it nigh impossible to predict who will be on the field. There will, somehow, be a winner from this match. Deep down, both coaches are probably hoping they aren’t the ones, though I doubt they’d ever say it to even their family.
Of course, Seattle has long given priority to Open Cup matches that other teams haven’t, and a USOC championship would be the easiest way to further solidify qualification for whatever competition is sussed out by CONCACAF for 2018.
We can also glean a bit from the rosters and starters who the front office thinks is closest to a first team contract.
Who can gel the fastest? Aside from the CB injuries, Caleb Porter didn’t substitute a single player Saturday, and that likely means most of the big guns - Diego Valeri, Fanendo Adi, Sebastian Blanco, and Diego Chara - won’t make an appearance.
The C/C+ lineups that come out will rely heavily on unproven, unfamiliar talent, and that’s a recipe for a choppy match. There will certainly be talent on the field, however. Marco Farfan and Jeremy Ebobisse will almost certainly start for Portland, while Nouhou Tolo and Seyi Adekoya will likely get an opportunity to shine. The team that’s able to find a common rhythm fastest will want to push the advantage.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Tuesday, June 13 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Starfire Sports Complex
Radio: KIRO 97.3 FM (English), El Rey 1360 AM (Spanish)