image courtesy of Seattletimes.com
The Sounders were trounced in the first half by the Timbers and a second half rally was too little, too late. The Rave Green drop the 3rd derby match vs the Portland Timbers 4-2.
Things we learned
Brian Schmetzer Makes his First Mistake
Fenando Adi started at Center Forward for Portland on a beautiful summer day at Providence Park. The good weather must have energized him, as he proceeded to destroy the Seattle defense for the next 45 minutes. This was predictable given that Adi came on last Sunday and make quick work of the Seattle defense and scored Portland’s only goal.
His movement, skill, and physical tools are all very good, and his ability to body up defenders and play with the ball at his feet gave Portland an advantage because it took the Seattle’s advantage in the air out of the game. Why do I say that Schmetzer made a mistake? It was apparent that Adi was dominating Chad Marshall and Brad Evans within the first 10 minutes.
A change needed to be made and quick. Brad Evans was getting manhandled by Adi. It was a mismatch. Mismatches lose all sporting contests. Zach Scott (for all of his mistakes would not get physically dominated by Adi) or Roman Torres needed to be on the field. Torres did come on at the half and looked good. He held his own versus Adi. Why wasn’t he starting or brought on earlier?
Brad Evans looks way better at Right Back than at Center back.
At halftime the Sounders made two changes to the lineup. Brad Evans moved to right back replacing Tyrone Mears. Herculez Gomez was subbed on for Alvaro Fernandez at right midfielder/forward, and Roman Torres was brought in for Mears and inserted at center back next to Chad Marshall. These changes immediately helped Seattle stymie the Portland assault and start to put pressure on the Portland defense. These changes and Schmetzer’ s halftime speak sparked something… Pride, tenacity, something.
The Sounders immediately pushed two goals into the back of the net. Brad Evans was a menace to the Portland left back, Vytas. He made several dangerous runs that sadly weren’t spotted by Nico Lodeiro right off. This should change in the weeks to come as I believe that Evans will be the starting right back moving forward.
No Dempsey, No Chance for Lodeiro.
Without his running mate, Clint Dempsey sidelined due to a heart issue, Nico Lodeiro struggled in the first half in Portland. He was harassed and harried and had no dangerous partner to punish the Portland defense playing man-to-man defense on him. In the second half he was able to partner better with Andreas Ivanschitz and Jordan Morris. He also was able to find Christina Roldan and Brad Evans on the right side. However someone else needs to help lead the attack.
Morris misses another great chance
Morris missed another great chance on Sunday. He was put in on a breakaway counterattack. He was able to look at the defense, pick his spot and he showed great confidence by shooting on goal. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to put it away. The good news? He was willing to shoot and showed confidence on the attack. The bad? He just can’t seem to get a brace, or that amazing breakaway goal.
SSU Man of the Match
Torres is the Man-Beast.
Torres is a physical force. He is dominant in the back. Look at the box score for him here. He was able to blunt the Portland attack. If you compare Adi’s first half and second half stats on the tool above, you will see that he was completely stymied by Torres and Seattle in the second half. This is a good portent of things to come.
Next Side Up
September 10 7:30pm @ San Jose Earthquake
The Sounders sit in 8th in the MLS Western Conference. They have 31 points, that is 4 less than Portland. They will play San Jose in their next game. San Jose is 1 point ahead of Seattle. Seattle has a fixture advantage on Portland, Sporting, and Vancouver. Please see my earlier article on the topic.