The Seattle Sounders return to play this weekend against their fiercest rivals, the Portland Timbers. It may be the strangest game in the history of this storied rivalry, given that it’s being played in the middle of a pandemic and in front of an empty stadium. Well, we thought we’d catch up with Stumptown Footy, the Timbers SBNation blog ahead of the match.
Sounder at Heart: The Timbers managed to win the MLS is Back Tournament. What sort of boast has that given the team and fans?
Stumptown Footy: While the tournament obviously wasn’t a ‘real’ season, we are proud to have won the tournament and the place in the Concacaf Champions League. What’s more important though is that our attack has been pretty awesome. New signing Jaroslaw Niezgoda looks to be worth a DP spot so far and Jeremy Ebobisse picked up right where he left off. Portland was definitely pleased with the performances from all of our big names.
SAH: While winning the tournament, the Timbers didn’t keep a single shutout. Does the defense worry you?
STF: Defensively, we have some issues. We gave up five penalties in the tournament which is far too many to be coincidence. The silver lining is that one could argue that if we could have stayed disciplined, we wouldn’t have allowed any of those goals. Still, we conceded goals from open play too and if not for our attack firing on all cylinders, we probably wouldn’t have lifted the cup.
SAH: All things are clicking offensively. What’s working well?
STF: Our ability to adapt and employ different kinds of attacking play was commendable. In the final we bunkered down and soaked up pressure and played on the counter-attack but throughout the tournament we would usually impose ourselves on other teams. Things usually looked well-constructed like we were really following a plan and within that framework, Blanco and Valeri were able to pull their strings and express themselves freely which is what ultimately gave us the tournament.