Sundays 100 darby match between the Seattle Sounders( 2-5-2, 8 points) and Portland Timbers(4-3-2, 14 points) was what one would expect in the storied rivalry. A tough, physical game with neither side willing to concede a blade of grass, ball possession and heaven forbid a goal. Such is the way with darby matches, you throw out records, no concern for what players are not participating and focus on who is on the pitch when the whistle blows to start the game.
Just for relatedness sake, it’s fair to mention that the Sounders were without Will Bruin Nicolas Lodeiro and Osvaldo Alonso. The Sounders did have a well-rested Clint Dempsey on hand. The Timbers were on a three-game winning streak and looking to make it four in a row at the expense of their hated rivals.
Despite missing a good chunk of their midfield in Alonso and Lodeiro the Sounders the Sounders won the ball possession in the second half after conceding the ball possession in the first. The ball possession battle between the two rivals was razor thin. The Timbers ended the game with a 51.8% advantage compared to the Sounders 49.3%.
While each team had long possession spells with the ball, the two rivals struggled when creating shots. The Sounders managed just one shot on goal, while the Timbers had just two shots on goal both in the second half Seattle’s five-man backline looked to have worked for a second consecutive game. Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer used a five-man backline in the teams 2-1 Wednesday night win at Toronto FC.
Unfortunately for Schmetzer, the injury bug reared its ugly head with a devastating bite that forced two changes to Seattle’s back line in a twelve-minute span. Fullback Nouhou was replaced by Jordan McCrary in the 59th and Kim Kee-Hee was replaced by Handwalla Bwana. No official announcement has been made regarding the injuries to the players.
With a depleted backline than lacked communication, it was just a matter of time before the Timbers were able to unlock Seattle’s defense by flooding the heart of the Sounder defense with players.
Portland came to scoring in the 83rd minute when defender Larrys Mabiala got on the end of a Diego Valeri free kick, nodding the ball just wide of the far post. Portland broke the deadlock three minutes later when a well-placed through ball from Samuel Armenteros slipped Sebastian Blanco in behind the Seattle defense, with the midfielder cleverly chipping the ball over Frei, who was charging off his line to close down the angle.