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Ship’s Log, May 10: Now or never

A trip to Portland provides a prime opportunity to change the narrative and turn things around.

Last Updated
4 min read
© Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need reminding that the Seattle Sounders play the Portland Timbers on Sunday, a team that they haven’t beaten once in their last six meetings. The last time the Sounders bested their little brothers to the South was a euphoric 6-2 victory down at Providence Park on August 15, 2021. That’s going on three years of nothing but pain.

Portland has outscored Seattle 13-4 in those last six games, with four wins and two draws – twice winning in Seattle and taking home three clean sheets from Lumen Field. It has been decidedly unpleasant, and only marginally less unpleasant when the two sides have met in Portland. This six-game stretch has also seen the Timbers move into a sizable lead in the head-to-head record in MLS play, going to 20-16-9 against the Sounders since joining the league. It’s been bad.

Rivalry games are weird. It’s a football cliche that form goes out the window for these matches, and we’ve seen that play out more than a few times with an in-form side coming away the loser in Cascadia clashes against an opponent struggling to keep their head above water. That’s the kind of result that can turn a season around, that can revitalize a team’s energy and vibes.

We just happen to be coming into this game with both teams needing that kind of outcome. Seattle and Portland come into this game mired at the bottom of the Western Conference, with Seattle sitting in 11th and Portland 12th. The two sides are level on points, points-per-game, and wins. The only thing separating them in the standings is goal difference, as Seattle have scored and allowed 13 goals while Portland have scored 20 but allowed 23, to put them on a -3 goal difference.

It’s not literally do or die, now or never for the Sounders. Not in the season, and not in the rivalry, but it’s about as close as a team gets outside of a Major League, 1995 Seattle Mariners-type situation where players are legitimately playing for the future of their club. Rock bottom can always get rock bottomer if you let it, so it’s best to learn the lessons of a humbling experience sooner rather than later and turn things around now. This is a perfect opportunity to do that for the Sounders. They need to start beating their rivals again. Give Phil Neville something to get upset about. Start the turn around now, and deal Portland a blow at the same time.

Catching up on Sounder at Heart


Next match: Sunday, May 12 Seattle travel to face Portland in MLS play at Providence Park (1:45 pm PT / Apple TV - Free, FOX)

Reviewing the Open Cup defeat of Louisville City FC



Next match: Saturday, May 11 the Reign travel to face Portland in NWSL play at Providence Park (7 pm PT / ION)

Reviewing the 0-0 draw against KC Current

Looking forward to the Thorns

Defiance play Friday May 10 at Timbers2 at 7:30 pm PT on MLS Season Pass.

Velocity host Union Omaha Saturday May 11 in the USL Jägermeister Cup at ONE Spokane Stadium (6 pm PT / KREM, ESPN+)

Looking back at the news

Everything else you need to know

U.S. Open Cup at a crossroads: What’s next for the tournament? U.S. Soccer needs to do more to support the historic tournament, but MLS also needs to get their act together and stop threatening it and blaming others.

The Sounders find themselves in 22nd on Sportico’s list of the most valuable soccer teams this year.

MPLS City announce Minnesota Made. The club is launching an NIL collective to address what’s arguably the biggest issue in amateur soccer in the U.S.

FIFPro threatens to take FIFA to court over Club World Cup. The calendar congestion issue is potentially going to become a legal matter.

FIFA defends Club World Cup schedule, unsurprisingly.

Amnesty International presses FIFA for 2022 WC labour report. A well-warranted call for transparency from a notoriously opaque organization.

Argentina to work with U.S. to ban violent Copa América fans. With the Copa América coming to the states this Summer, organizers are working to weed out some bad actors.

Azteca luxury box owners challenge FIFA over 2026 World Cup. Box owners are supposed to have unlimited access to their boxes, per a 60 year-old agreement.

Why Oakland Roots vs. San Jose was the “anti-John Fisher game”. If you’re a fan of a team, every game should be the “anti-John Fisher game” or at least an “anti-owners like John Fisher game”.


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