I have already written this post about 10 times trying to get it right. I am not sure I can so I am going to post the relevant facts I know and move on. Due to the passion I have for this game, I have very little in the way of compassion for the Portland Timbers, The Timbers Army or anything else from Portland like VooDoo donuts and Stumptown Coffee. If anyone is offended in the reading of this post sorry it will be better tomorrow after 90 minutes of footie.
Qwest field is going to be on fire. Fans will be in a frenzy and there will be so much trash talking, Waste Management better run a few extra crews. This week has been building up to the first whistle. ESPN, Fox Soccer, and every soccer blogger in America and beyond has been talking about the rivalry that started back in the seventies here in the pacific northwest. A rivalry that casual soccer fans have only heard about, will tune in tonight on ESPN2 to see what this is all about. I will be at the game in full voice ready to chant and yell like always but I will have my eyes open on what will be going on around me. I know ECS (Emerald City Supporters) will have something big for this game and I am sure the Timbers Army will have something in their section.
Leading up to this, the first of 6 Cascadia Cup games the front offices of all three clubs (Seattle, Portland and Vancouver) worked with the league and settled on a 500 ticket limit on supporter tickets. This has lead to a lot of questions from all of the supporter groups as to why? We know that in Seattle alone we could sell 10k supporter tickets without thinking about it if there is a demand. I have a feeling that the Sounders did not want to give without some get and limited it to what the other groups are willing to give due to space but thats just a guess. I know there are going to be safety concerns and tonight’s match will set the tone for the rest of the season if not the rest of the time all three teams play in MLS.
OK, on to the important stuff I guess for you all. The Sounders are coming into this game pretty beat up, Brad Evans looks to be back but Mauro Rosales is still a game time chance. I expect the line up to be close to last Saturday’s game with Jaqua and Montero up top, Fernandez, Alonso, Evans and Friberg in the middle with Riley, Ianni, Hurtado and Gonzalez in the back line with Keller as your captain. Expect to see Levesque and Fucito as subs. This team will be floating on the cheers of the home team crowd. Expect to see production from all sections of the team with lots of wing work from Riley and Gonzolez working off of Friberg and Fernadez rushing in and working the Portland back line.
Portland will likely have their starting line from last week as that line remains healthy. Expect to see Kenny Cooper (he wears my number 33 and use to play for my 2nd fav Bundesliga team TSV 1860) up top running hard and taking chances. Futty has also been on fire this season, expect to see him making hard runs and looking dangerous around the 18 yard box. Portland will need to make sure to check back as they have not had the best clean sheet record this season but their goals for at home have helped off set that a bit.
Neither team will be without players due to suspension so minus the injury report the full 18 for both clubs should be ready to go. National TV coverage will be on ESPN2 with a 11 PM eastern start time. I will be live at the game and will do my best to provide a bit of mid game tweeting via http://twitter.com/leerayl. This will be a big game with a big outcome for the winner who could shoot toward the top of the standings with three points. I am sure as much as the coaches want the three points the fans will want their pride intact.
(image courtesy of soundersfc.com)