Preview: Seattle Sounders desperately need a victory over Portland

Seattle Sounders

Preview — The Seattle Sounders FC are adjusting hard to losing two centerbacks. Ever since Chad Marshall retired, it’s been a struggle for Kim Kee-hee to find his groove. Meanwhile, Roman Torres being suspended for 10 games means Xavier Arreaga was forced to step up.

But that’s the job of a soccer player — or athlete in general.

When one player goes down, the other must step up. Marshall was injured before and Kim performed fine. The situation of Kim and Arreaga is interesting. Neither player speaks the same language and can’t close the gap with English. Kim speaks Korean and Arreaga is fluent in Spanish. That worked well when he shared the pitch with Torres. However, it doesn’t help with the South Korean centerback.

It’s a learning curve, but Seattle has been here before. The Sounders are still in a healthy playoff position. However, the race for spots in the Western Conference is tight. After hanging onto second place for weeks, Seattle now drops to fifth place.

And Portland has been their Achilles heel all season.

The two sides have already met up twice this year — once in league play and the other time in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. They were cast out of the tournament by their rival. Also, Seattle fell to Portland again in league play.

Right now, this club desperately needs a win. They haven’t won a match this entire month, losing to Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake, but managing a 3-3 draw against the New England Revolution. The Sounders also drew with the LA Galaxy, even as they were up a man the entire match. Seattle needs an August victory bad. They have the talent to do so. They just need to shape up on defense.

Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders
2019 MLS Regular Season
Providence Park
Aug. 23, 2019 — 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET


The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

The defense won’t get any help from Brad Smith for another week. After his loan was extended with Seattle, the Australian international hurt his right adductor. He’s listed as out for tonight’s clash. However, according to Ari Liljenwall, Smith trained in full with the team on Aug. 20.

Meanwhile, joining him on the injury list is usual suspect Victor Rodriguez. The Spanish midfielder can’t catch a break with injuries, and is dealing with a right hamstring strain. Alex Roldan is also out with a left ankle sprain.

Also looking to be available tonight is Emanueel Cecchini. He was unavailable against Real Salt Lake, due to visa issues that needed resolved. Seattle traded an MLS SuperDraft pick to Vancouver for an international slot yesterday.

Portland Timbers

Jeff Attinella isn’t in goal anymore.

Right now, it’s the Steve Clark show. Attinella received right shoulder surgery at the end of August, marking him out for the rest of the season. Three defenders join him on the injury list, as Marco Farfan is dealing with a left knee injury. Meanwhile, Modou Jadama is out with a left food injur yand Larrys Mabiala is out with a left thigh injury.

Prediction: Seattle 1, Portland 1

It’s an attempt to be extremely optimistic.

The defense will certainly come together. Right now, things are being shaken up. In the tweet above, it’s mentioned that Nouhou didn’t practice, but he’s not on the injury list. Seattle is playing around with pieces on their defense, with Smith out. Kim and Arreaga should be the starting centerbacks, no doubt. Kelvin Leerdam anchors the right extremely well. The left is a question mark.

However, Seattle has risen above adversity before — and they can do it tonight.


PHOTO: Raul Ruidiaz will look to get back on the scoresheet against the Portland Timbers tonight. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Wasson/Seattle Sounders FC.