I never know what to expect when we play Portland. I’ve seen the Sounders go to Portland and get trounced. I’ve seen the Sounders go to Portland and score with ease. I’ve seen all sorts of things happen when we play in Portland and I still have no idea what to expect.
I’ll tell you what, my soul might as well have been injured when Chad Marshall was laying there. It was one of those “life flashes before your eyes” moments. I saw it all in that moment. Thankfully that moment was the worst that it got. Things can and should get better.
This goal goes in just after the clock hits 10 minutes. What happened in the next 80 minutes was obviously not great, but this goal is what salvages the entire evening. And it’s a great goal. Raúl Ruidíaz’s movement and Cristian Roldan’s cross is the highlight, obviously, but the celebration is also top notch.
The first half was a disaster, obviously, because Seattle let in two fluke goals and Marshall & Roldan went off injured. But the attack in the second half was actually very good. The weak spots were the left side with Nouhou and Waylon Francis crossing, but they consistently outplayed Portland. The Timbers m.o. is to allow teams to have all the possession and hit them on the counter. Seattle did have the majority of possession, but they did well to not allow Portland to break on the counter very often. This is a good sign for things to come on Thursday night.
By Thursday night the Timbers will have played 3 games in 8 days, and 4 games in 12. the Sounders having the bye in the knockout round will show itself to be advantageous, plus the short turn around allows them to move on quickly after the unfortunate events in Portland.
The major moments of the match all went the wrong way for Seattle. Roldan should’ve won a penalty in the sixth minute — the play that caused the injury that eventually saw him come out. On Portland’s first goal, Jeremy Ebobisse is offside before Valeri sends him through with a perfectly weighted pass. Portland’s second goal came when Waylon Francis was waiting to sub on for Cristian Roldan.
As Stefan Frei said after the game, “That’s soccer.”
The biggest talking point from the game is obviously the injuries to Roldan and Marshall. At the time of writing this, both of their statuses are unknown. DPs aside, I don’t think there are two worse outfield players to have injured in a single game. Marshall is the best defender in league history, and Roldan has played all but something like 7 seconds this season. After the game Brian Schmetzer confirmed that Marshall is a tough kid and that nothing is torn. So, the absolute worst case scenario is out of the picture. For now.
I suppose it was never going to be easy against Portland. The mission on Thursday is simple, and was reiterated by everyone in the locker room on Sunday night: win the game by 2 goals, and the Sounders advance to their 3rd straight Western Conference Final. Sure, there are other results that see the Sounders advance, but the team doesn’t seem interested in making things complicated. And, for the sake of our nerves, I hope it’s not.