Derby Day is always important. Especially between Cascadian rival cities Portland and Seattle. But with both clubs losing midweek and the playoff race in the Western Conference tighter than ever, tonight’s match in downtown Portland, Oregon is setup to be a classic.
Midweek didn’t go well for either Portland or Seattle. Both teams lost to and were shutout by opponents lower on the table, the Sounders by one of the worst teams in the league and the Timbers by five goals. While Seattle has to deal with the effects of two straight games away from home, the PTFC played a pretty ideal XI in LA and failed. I think any advantage in rest is a wash.
The Timbers lineup is a bit of a question mark for me. Valeri started midweek andif fit enough Valeri probably should be on the field. Otherwise, Gaston Fernandez would take his place. However, La Gata’s usual strike partner, Max Urruti, went the full 90 in LA. Hopefully he’s fit enough to start again if Fernandez is used, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Fanendo Adi up top.
In the midfield Will Johnson will return to pair up with his usual partner Diego Chara. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed to see Jack Jewsbury back on the bench.
Liam Ridgewell picked up a stupid red card against the Galaxy and will have to sit this one out. In his place will be Norberto Paparatto and I’m not too upset by the change. Paparatto fits well with Nat Borchers and is great in the air.
On the Seattle side of things we’re going to be seeing Chad Marshall and Tyrone Mears, both of whom were held out of the match on Wednesday. Aside from that it’s a toss-up. Lamar Neagle could start up top again or he could move back with Mansaray starting at forward, someone I picked up in fantasy just in case he gets a start.
This is going to be a chippy match. After the US Open Cup spectacle between these two clubs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than a couple yellow cards or a player sent off. If nothing else, there’s going to be a lot of fouls. I’m predicting a direct free kick goal, hopefully from Valeri or Villafana.
Portland Timbers: Kwarasey; Villafana, Paparatto, Borchers, Powell; Johnson, Chara; Wallace, Fernandez, Nagbe; Adi
Seattle Sounders: Frei; Remick, Scott, Marshall, Mears; Pineda, Azira; Neagle, Pappa, Roldan; Mansaray