Saturday, May 12, 2018

Prediction Thread - Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC 5/13/18

This never gets old
I know what was posted in my last update after the epic win over New York City FC - the prediction thread that used be housed at my old site and brought over here was returning for May 5 for the San Jose match. But a funny thing happened on the way to actually sending out the emails to my crack staff of soccer analysts and cats - nobody responded. Whether it was a lack of respect for the opponent, not wanting to jinx the result or paying attention to so many other things, the prediction thread just never got started. With a busy day at the house, I was only able to pop in and out to watch the highlights of the match and apparently it was a total slog fest. The Timbers were having issues staying upright on the "pitch", but in the end, it was Diego Valeri who won the match off one of the most incredible free kick goals that I've seen. The win is Portland's third in a row since the disheartening loss in Orlando City to end their early season road trip, and has given the season some early life.

And this couldn't come at a better time with the next match on the fixture list - a date with the Seattle Sounders at home on Mother's Day. Rivalry matches always have a ton of spice to them regardless of records or current team form, but this match also represents the 100th meeting between the two side over various leagues. With both teams being founded in the 1970's, there have been several memorable moments between them over the years - my first ever Timbers match was in 2001 when the Portland Timbers were resurrected in the A-League and they hosted the Sounders at the renovated PGE Park. My first road trip in the Timbers Army was the 2004 playoff match in Seattle, I've made the trip up north more times that I can count, and it never really changes in many respects - winning never gets old and losing always is frustrating. But that's the difference between other matches and rivalry matches - the stakes are automatically heightened because of the opponent. I can still remember the 2010 Sounders Community Shield match at Century Link when the Timbers were invited to participate in the new competition, and Portland shocked the hosts by winning the cup in a tense 1 to 0 battle. I've never enjoyed a bus ride home more.

Of course this would be the first match upon the return, and it's taken a bit of time to get back into the form and structure. My original goal was to have a full panel of writers and cats for this, but for this week, it's a skeleton crew of three panelists this week. We'll do our best to add to the collective as the weeks go on:

Kenny the cat
Rick & Kenny: Timber 2, Sounders FC 0.

My readings of (King) Kenny's litter box last suggested that he was leaning towards a 6 to 4 Timbers victory. That was before he found out about the Sounders unexpected 2 to 1 win in Toronto, fielding a weakened team. Upon re-examination, it appears he was suggesting that we'll go with a 4-4-2 formation. The number of toy mice at my feet and a total lack of any interest in a fish supper I prepared indicates a 2 to 0 victory.

All hail the queen of the blanket
Tortie: Timbers 9, Sounders FC 3.

Tortie was the only cat that wanted to chat about the match when I asked, and she eeped 9 times for the home side versus 3 for the visitors. When I asked her why, she said, "eep blergh meow eep purr bloot". I can't argue with that reasoning one bit.

Me in my natural state waiting for a bus. 
Kip: Timbers 3, Sounders FC 1.

Portland is on a roll and I feel it will continue at home. The Sounders have collectively struggled in 2018 on all aspects, but shocked many by beating another struggling team in Toronto FC midweek. This has all the makings of a trap game, but I don't think the Timbers will look past their opponents. I expect them to press early and often to send the home fans home happy.

After the interview, it appears that many of the other cats got more interested so I would expect to see them in the coming weeks. As far as Jennifer's prediction, she said that the Timbers will lose in an incredibly spectacular way, and the player's tears will cool off the pitch as they come face to face with the impacts of the crushing loss.

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