PORTLAND, Oregon (November 5, 2018) – Seattle Sounders fans can take a sigh of relief for a brief moment, despite losing to the Portland Timbers, 2-1, on Sunday.
There are two legs in the MLS Cup Playoffs, so all hope is not lost for the Sounders.
Ruidíaz goal isn’t enough to lift Seattle Sounders over Portland Timbers
However, there are injuries that have fallen in Seattle’s path to a third-straight MLS Cup Western Conference title game. In Sunday’s loss to the Portland Timbers, Seattle was forced to substitute Cristian Roldan and Chad Marshall due to different injuries.
Roldan’s substitution came first, in the 31st minute. Waylon Francis was the man called on by Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer to take his place. Roldan collided with Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Antinella early in the first half.
After a few attempts at playing on, Roldan couldn’t hang on longer.
After assisting Raúl Ruidíaz’ lone tally for the Sounders in the 10th minute, Roldan’s day was done. Meanwhile, Chad Marshall went down with a leg injury around the 40th minute. Marshall, who is a contender for MLS Defender of the Year, went down on a non-contact injury.
However, according to Schmetzer, there is no ligament damage.
“He’s a tough kid,” Schmetzer said. “He’ll be back.”
Meanwhile, in front of their home fans, the Portland Timbers had a solid outing. It didn’t take long for Portland to respond to Seattle’s opening tally, refusing to give their league rival the lead for long. In the 17th minute, Jeremy Ebobisse found the back of Stefan Frei’s net.
About 12 minutes later, Sebastián Blanco split the centerback pairing of Marshall and Kim Kee-Hee for another goal past Frei.
What a finish from @RaulRuidiazM! ?#PORvSEA | #MLSCupPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/To1ev4QjYh
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) November 4, 2018
- Roman’s leadership shines through: This past season, Román Torres lost his starting spot when Kim Kee-Hee came in and shined while Torres was at the FIFA World Cup. However, Torres remained a leader, despite sitting on the bench. He’s come in plenty of times for Marshall, to give the veteran defender a break. However, before his substitution in the 40th minute, Torres was seen giving his teammates advice and orders. His leadership will be crucial in the second leg — as will his pairing with Kim, should Marshall not be fit to start.
- Seattle didn’t look bad, but they have to be perfect: The situation is simple for the Sounders for Thursday’s match: the team has to win. Should the Sounders draw, or lose, they will be out of the playoffs. Also, should the team only win by one goal, the Sounders would go into extra time, due to aggregate. In front of their home fans at CenturyLink Field, Seattle needs to be spot-on — and darn near perfect.
- Who goes in if Roldan can’t go? Waylon Francis substituting in for Roldan in this match was due to Harry Shipp and Handwalla Bwana not being able to go a full 90 minutes and Will Bruin entering would’ve changed the whole formation. However, should Roldan not be able to go on Thursday, starting Francis wouldn’t be the best option. Seattle needs to attack the goal, and Bruin is the best of the three players to do that. Francis is a defender. Put him in, only if Seattle gets a large lead.
Leg 2, let's do this! ?#YouWillHearUs pic.twitter.com/VYq2RqJEIw
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) November 5, 2018
PHOTO: Raúl Ruidíaz, of the Seattle Sounders FC, celebrates his 10th minute goal against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. The Sounders lost leg one, 2-1, on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.