It’s that time again, derby day. Portland and Seattle have a rivalry that transcends soccer, sports, and coffee. These two cities are timeless adversaries in almost every way. Trophies and awards are good and well, but almost nothing beats the feeling of seeing the northern fishing village lose.
Portland is on the verge of being at full strength for the first time in 2015. Unfortunately, that won’t happen in time for tonight’s match. Will Johnson played about 60 minutes last night for Timbers 2 against Arizona United and should be back within the next couple weeks. However, it’s possible that we could see Diego Valeri tonight. I don’t expect it at all, but the maestro of Portland could see several minutes of action against the Flounders. As Timbers fans know, that’s all he needs to make an impact on any game.
The best news for Portland this week is Seattle’s loss of Chad Marshall. However, his replacement, Zach Scott, isn’t going to roll over and let the Timbers score. Scott held off Adi very well last year and I don’t doubt he’ll attempt to do the same. Still, Portland’s speed in the midfield could take advantage of the missing MLS Defender of the Year. Asprilla and Powell should get some good opportunities to cut in on Dylan Remick and take Scott on.
Timber to watch: Darlington Nagbe. It has to be, he’s the club’s best player so far this season and if anyone can capitalize off of weakened defense it’s going to be him. I also think that he, Yartey, and Asprilla can be a definite threat when given room to run. Their speed and creativity meshes well and could lead to a Nagbe goal. It’s about time he gets one.
Portland Timbers: Kwarasey; Villafana, Ridgewell, Borchers, Powell; Jewsbury, Chara; Yartey, Nagbe, Asprilla; Adi
Seattle Sounders: Frei; Remick, Scott, Evans, Mears; Neagle, Rose, Alonso, Pappa; Martins, Dempsey