SOCCER

Pollsters in Timbers, recap: Cascadia collapse

ADVERTISEMENT

For the first time in a long time, the home team won a match between the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers. It looked like this game could be when the Sounders start to turn things around when Yeimar gave the team an early lead, but Portland took a 2-1 win with goals either side of the half.

First, a decidedly questionable penalty was awarded to Yeimar in the 41st minute when Eryk Williamson dove into him as the defender tried to get out of the way. Dairon Asprilla, who comes to life exclusively in games against Seattle, stepped in and sent Stefan Frei the wrong way as he headed home to even the score.

ADVERTISEMENT

Then, in the 51st minute, Seattle’s defense fell asleep from a free kick, leaving Asprilla and Sebastián Blanco unmarked at either post, allowing Blanco to fend off Asprilla’s cross and take the lead.

Seattle had a handful of chances to come back into the game, but the ball just wouldn’t fall on them. Jackson Ragen headed under the bar, but the rebound kept him from reaching the goal. Fredy Montaro took a hand on Williamson’s neck and descended into the box, but no penalty was called.

The Sounders haven’t done much to help themselves either. There were cheap and easy gifts from everyone, players lost their marks or failed to pick them up in the first place, and faced with a hill to climb, the team seemed to turn to individual efforts rather than a collective return to try to get something out. From the game. The 2-1 scoreline is almost flattering, as Portland beat Seattle 18-9, with 8 of those 9 Seattle shots in the second half and 7 of them after Portland took the lead. The Sounders took 1 shot between taking the lead in the 8th minute and falling behind in the 51st. Whatever ghosts haunt the team this summer, there may not be enough time to exorcise them before the end of the season.

8′ — The Sounders take the advantage on a corner! Yeimar leaps high at the far post to head home a looping cross from Alex Roldan on a short cornering routine. 1-0 Pollsters!

14′ — Free-kick specialist Bill Tuiloma lines up a shot from outside the box and hits it high near the corner, but Stefan Frei reads it and makes a bounding save.

34′ — Dairon Asprilla heads a cross to Yimmi Chara, who heads it in on goal near the penalty spot, but it’s Frei who catches it.

41′ — Eryk Williamson dives to win a penalty. Dairon Asprilla comes forward and hits him home. 1-1

44′ — Nouhou tries a completely unnecessary spinning move and kicks the ball high in the box, setting up a shot from Asprilla which Frei just swings away from goal.

51′ — Asprilla goes to the back post unmarked from a free kick and sends the ball back into the goal for Sebastián Blanco to strike home. Lead wood. 2-1

80′ — Nouhou hits a solid cross into the box which Jordan Morris dives to, but the header is just wide of the goal.

85′ — Jackson Ragen heads a cross from Alex Roldan over the crossbar, but the ball never crosses the goal line.

When the well dries up: I’m usually a “hope is forever” type. I don’t know, the 1995 Mariners made me a sports fan, I watched the 2016 season from start to finish, I just still have that inflexible part of my brain that thinks it might be okay . Sure, sometimes I have to choose to listen to that part more actively than others, but it’s still there. This season is really testing that part of me as the injuries pile up only to be overtaken by the pile of losses and disappointing performances. The Sounders could still turn things around and qualify for the playoffs, there’s still plenty of talent on a short roster, but time is running out and it’s looking less and less likely. Whatever happens over the next six weeks or so, with next season comes a new pit, and we’ll just have to wait and see how deep that one is.

Give as well as you get: I was intrigued and excited in the first 15 minutes or so by how the Sounders approached the game. Not from an approach or a style or a training system, but because they seemed to engage in a bit of the dark arts. Love it or hate it, dive or beautify, stay down a bit longer after being fouled, general “shits” are all part of the game as much as hard tackles and loud challenges, and c It’s up to you the referee to decide where to draw the line. To start the game, Seattle was showing a little more willingness to participate than usual, and it was clearly getting under Portland’s skin. But once the Timbers started putting it back on, Seattle looked thrown for a loop. This Sounders team has been hardened to the point of brittleness, and it doesn’t take much to break them.

Who do you want to influence a game? The number of touches a player has in a given game is not the only factor that determines the impact he has or whether or not he influences a game. Raúl Ruidíaz can completely change a game with a handful of keys, the same goes for Jordan Morris. It may be true for anyone that a single moment, a single touch can make a difference in a game, but some players thrive when they have their hands in every part of their team’s game. Nico Lodeiro is one of those players, as is Albert Rusnák. Even Danny Leyva is at his best when heavily involved in possession like he was against the Galaxy. Against Portland, Lodeiro landed an astonishing 98 touches, but Leyva and Rusnák had 29 and 31 touches respectively. This put them both in the bottom half of the team, and with less than half of the total against the Galaxy. Portland knocked them out of the game and forced Seattle to depend on Lodeiro to perform a miracle or Nouhou to unlock the defense. It won’t work.

1 – This is the first time Portland or Seattle have swept the season series against the other in MLS. It’s the first time the Sounders have failed to win a regular season game against the Timbers since 1981.


ADVERTISEMENT