Matchday Central: vs. Portland Timbers

Matchday Central: vs. Portland Timbers

The Sounders open their Western Conference Semifinals series with the Portland Timbers tonight at CenturyLink Field.

Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers
MLS Cup Playoffs; Western Conference Semifinals
November 2, 2013, 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network; 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)

Portland’s Record: The Timbers finished first in the Western Conference and third overall at 14-5-15 (57 points). On the road, Portland was 3-4-10.

Head-To-Head: This season, the Sounders and Timbers played to an even 1-1-1 record, both teams allowing two goals in the series.

All-Time Series: In MLS regular season play, Seattle is 3-2-3 all-time against the Timbers, with both losses coming at JELD-WEN Field. Dating back to 1975 in the North American Soccer League and including games across the WSL, USL and U.S. Open Cup along with MLS, Seattle holds a 42-29-11 edge, including a 3-2-0 record in playoff matches.

Injury Report: Sounders FC – OUT: GK Josh Ford (R patella fracture); M Steve Zakuani (adductor). QUESTIONABLE: M Shalrie Joseph (R knee sprain); F Obafemi Martins (groin). Timbers – OUT: D David Horst (L knee sprain); D Ryan Miller (L tibia stress fracture); F Brent Richards (ACL surgery); D Mikael Silvestre (ACL surgery); D Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (concussion). QUESTIONABLE: F Maximiliano Urruti (L hamstring strain); M Diego Valeri (adductor strain).

Key Player: Midfielder Diego Valeri had an MVP-caliber season with 10 goals and 13 assists in 31 appearances this year. He played just 131 minutes over the final four matches of the season, but still managed two goals and one assist in the first half of a 5-0 shellacking of Chivas USA to close out the season last week.

Projected Lineup: GK: Donovan Ricketts (32 GS, 13-5-14, 14 SO, 0.97 GAA); D Jack Jewsbury (26 GP, 0 G, 1 A); D Mamadou Danso (16 GP, 0 G, 1 A); D Pa Modou Kah (20 GP, 0 G, 0 A); D Michael Harrington (33 GP, 0 G, 1 A); M Diego Chara (31 GP, 0 G, 3 A), M Will Johnson (28 GP, 9 G, 5 A), M Diego Valeri (31 GP, 10 G, 13 A); F Darlington Nagbe (34 GP, 9 G, 4 A); F Jose Valencia (21 GP, 1 G, 3 A); F Rodney Wallace (27 GP, 7 G, 6 A). Others: M Kalif Alhassan (30 GP, 3 G, 3 A); F Ryan Johnson (29 GP, 9 G, 1 A); F Maximiliano Urruti (5 GP, 1 G, 0 A); F Frederic Piquionne (21 GP, 3 G, 3 A); D Alvas Powell (5 GP, 0 G, 0 A).

Notes: Sounders FC will be playing without goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who received a red card in the final minutes of Seattle’s 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in the Knockout Round on Wednesday. Forwards Eddie Johnson and Lamar Neagle both received yellow cards in the match and will be suspended for the next match if either receives another caution. … The second leg of the series will be at Portland’s JELD-WEN Field on Thursday. … Six current Sounders FC players have appeared in an MLS Cup Final. … In its last six MLS Cup Playoff matches, Seattle is 4-1-1. Sounders FC is 3-1-2 all-time in the playoffs at CenturyLink Field. … Portland’s back four of Jewsbury, Danso, Kah and Harrington has started the last six matches, going 4-0-2 with just two goals allowed.

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