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Sounders vs. Timbers, recap: Firing blanks

Seattle come up empty in spite of attacking fervor in Portland.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers broke a recent trend that had seen the road team win in six consecutive games between the two sides. On Wednesday night in Portland, the Timbers came out on top with a 1-0 win. That result put Portland into second place in the West, even with Seattle on 21 points. This was only the Timbers’ second win at Providence Park of the season, and their first since March 8.

The first half felt familiar for a Cascadia rivalry match, even without fans in attendance. The Sounders looked like the better team, creating chance after chance, but Portland were the ones to take the lead against the run of play. Seattle repeatedly found Raúl Ruidíaz and Jordan Morris with the ball, but when their shots were on goal they seemed to be right at Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark. The second half was largely the same, but with more speculative shots and fewer clear cut chances for the Sounders as the Timbers dropped into a deeper block.

An injury to Joevin Jones minutes into the second half made things all the more difficult. At half time Gustav Svensson subbed in for Nouhou, moving Cristian Roldan to right midfield and Jones to left back. With Jones forced to come off, Alex Roldan entered the game at left back and the Sounders missed his ability on the ball, as well as the presence of a naturally left-footed player along the left side of the field.

Key Moments

5’ — Jordan Morris gets a good chance following a short corner, but hits his shot well over the goal.

11’ — Morris finds himself with the ball in space at the top of Portland’s penalty area and plays the ball Ruidíaz, whose first time shot is right at the ‘keeper.

13’ — Yimmi Chara beats the back line with a run from the left and finishes past Frei to give Portland a 1-0 lead.

16’ — Ruidíaz found himself in on goal and Steve Clark stuck in no-man’s land, but his chip from about 25 yards went wide.

36’ — After a nice bit of control from Kelvin Leerdam, he found Ruidíaz in the box but his shot from close range hit the side netting.

37’ — Nouhou gets a yellow card that could have been red for a late tackle to stop a Portland Counter.

56’ — Referee Alan Chapman goes to VAR to look at a retaliatory kick from Ruidíaz, but the forward only gets a yellow.

69’ — O’Neill makes a big defensive play to stop a promising Portland attack as Eryk Williamson appeared to be in on goal.

Quick thoughts

In need of a lock pick: The Sounders have lots of players who do lots of things well. They have goal scorers and defenders, and plenty of players who can pick out a pass. Even Morris has turned into something of a creator, but with the Timbers bunkered even more than their usual counter stance it was clear what Seattle are sorely lacking is the kind of player who can slip the security measures and unlock a defense. Victor Rodriguez and Harry Shipp aren’t walking through those doors, though.

Making the case for Brad Smith: There has been talk about how the starting left back spot isn’t automatically Smith’s just because he’s back. Nouhou and Jones are both going to have a shot at making the spot theirs, and Nouhou had a pretty clear chance against Portland to make his case. Instead of doing that, Nouhou had the poor headed clearance that directly led to the goal, had another missed header that nearly became a goal, and easily could have gotten a red card for a late, dangerous tackle that earned him a yellow. With Jones picking up a knock it seems like everyone’s making the case for Smith to start as soon as possible.

It’s just like that sometimes: Sometimes you just have a bad day. You seem to have done just about everything right, but things turn out wrong. That’s what it looked like for the Sounders as they took 19 shots, nine of them from inside the box, and put six on target and had three blocked shots. They got into good spots, created good chances, and then either hit their shots right at Steve Clark or blasted them off frame.

Did you see that?!?

It was just one of those nights. Ruidíaz probably sinks this shot 9 times out of 10.

He said what?!?

The game in one stat

16 — Opta credited the Sounders with 16 chances created, but they turned those into zero goals. Sometimes you play really well and don’t score.


Man of the Match

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Shane O’Neill
    (21 votes)
  • 73%
    João Paulo
    (162 votes)
  • 4%
    Raúl Ruidíaz
    (10 votes)
  • 12%
    Cristian Roldan
    (27 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now

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