|I wished he was playing. Not that guy, the other guy who drives them crazy|
If you look simply at the current MLS Western Conference standings, it's first place versus second place. The Sounders, current owners of a 10 match unbeaten streak since losing to the San Jose Earthquakes back on June 28, have vaulted up due to improved defense combined with finding their scoring touch at the right time. While Jordan Morris has been contributing all season, it's been the steady play of Cristian Roldan and Nicolas Loderio combined with the experience of Will Bruin and the resurgence of Clint Dempsey that has the Sounders thinking MLS Cup defense. Portland has been up and down through most of 2017 with defensive struggles, but the Timbers offense continues to surge behind the exploits of Diego Valeri, Fanendo Adi, Sebastian Blanco and Darlington Nagbe. The Timbers are tied for second in all of MLS in goals scored in 2017 at 47, but their defensive issues have kept the team from joining the discussion of elite teams in the league. Nothing emphasized that issue more than watching Toronto FC, arguably the best side all year, dismantle the Timbers a few weeks ago behind a second half avalanche of goals. In the race for Cascadia Cup 2017, the Timbers currently lead the standings with 7 points on 2 wins (both over Vancouver) and 1 draw (Flounders at home), and they could strengthen their position greatly with a win on Sunday. While Vancouver could theoretically catch the Timbers because they have 2 matches remaining to play after the Timbers - Sounders match, Portland currently leads in the first tiebreaker of goal differential.
|Everyone on the buses this weekend, travel safe & sane.|
We all know the Timbers history at Century Link during the regular season hasn't been good, especially in the MLS era where the Timbers have yet to post a victory. However, one of the Timbers biggest franchise wins took place on this very pitch back in 2013, and the Timbers earned a little hardware here back in 2010 that ranked high upon my own personal happy moments traveling to Flounder Land over the years. I know players change from season to season, but they get hyped up for rivalry matches just like the rest of us. Portland will have several questions to deal with in determining their lineup with David Guzman unavailable for accumulation suspension, plus the health of Adi, Liam Ridgewell, Jake Gleeson and Marco Farfan. Meanwhile, the Sounders will be missing the services of defender Joevin Jones, currently the team leader in assists for 2017, and a huge cog of their back line and attack. Replacing him will be tough for Sounders Coach Brian Schmetzer, while I could see 1 of 2 options for Porter to replace Guzman - straight swap with Ben Zemanski or put Nagbe next to Diego Chara and give either Dairon Asprilla or Victor Arboleda the start on the wings. But Porter will have learned and forgotten more about soccer that I might ever acquire, so I'm sure he has a plan at the ready. With that, what do our fearless predictors have to say about this weekend? Let's find out!!
|Another Timbers &%^#ing suspended for a Sounders match?|
Rick: Timbers 1, Sounders 1
Portland are W0, D2, L7 with a Goals For of 5 and Goals Allowed of 15 in Seattle. I'm thinking a draw would be a good results considering that Guzman (yellow card suspension) is out and Adi, Gleeson, Ridgewell (various injuries) and Asprilla (flu) are questionable starters.
|I promise not to get in front of the TV much, but no promises on swearing|
Kip: Timbers 2, Sounders 1
I completely understand the history at that venue for the Timbers, but history is not always doomed to repeat itself. While the Sounders are on a good run of form, we've seen the Timbers scrap at times on the road. I think this is one of those instances considering the stakes and the results the last time these sides met.
|I like fish, but not those guys up North. They smell funny.|
Tortie: Timbers 15, Sounders 9
I appreciate the optimism of the tortoise shelled ninja cat, who again put on a cacophony of noise during her prediction interview. Since it wasn't at meal time, I can only assume she's just excited about goals and the Timbers will get more. Now if the players could only oblige her.
|Yes, I did research this week. Now tell me, what the heck is a soccer ball?|
GB: Timbers 0, Sounders 2
GB is decidedly pro-Portland as he's lived here all his life. However, he was impressed with the 10 match unbeaten streak and that was enough to sway him in this case. He does wish that they wouldn't wear that unfortunate shade of green anymore. It's just not right.
|I'm excited about Sunday because the match is after dinner & I can nap!|
Lucy: Timbers 3, Sounders 2
Lucy has become one of the more vocal cats of our collective, as her meows alternate between shrieks and yells. She was very excited about this match, and meowed for each side. The Timbers got 3 shrieks while the Sounders got 2 yells, so we know which side she's rooting for.
|Contemplative cat is contemplating|
Spot: Timbers 0, Sounders 1
Well, she didn't call for a scoreless draw, but the cat princess is thinking the Timbers' fan will be unhappy during their ride home from the match. Spot doesn't like changes in routine, and knowing the history of Timbers matches up North, she's betting on things staying the same.
|I'm not just a cat, I'm a very good goalkeeper|
Moya: Timbers 0, Sounders 3
I'm disappointed in what the black cat said during her discussion, but she's a very good cat goalkeeper, so I trust her soccer skills. Without Fanendo Adi, Moya thinks the Timbers will have issues scoring. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
|Pilot smash! Doors bad.|
Pilot: Timbers 3, Sounders 0
Pilot is a very good cat, but he has recently resumed a habit he had when he was a kitten: running full speed into a door and trying to open it with his head. It worked a few times, so apparently he thinks it will work again. As far as soccer, he's going against his sister and pro Portland & Timbers. Anyone know where I can find a helmet for a cat?