Soccer

more stats

Confident Timbers ready to take down Seattle

Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Timbers made quite an impression in their first MLS playoff match on Saturday, going to Seattle and handing the Sounders a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal.

And that result gives the club plenty of confidence ahead of Thursday's return leg in Portland at JELD-WEN Field, which is a place that Timbers head coach Caleb Porter has labeled "a fortress".

"We're one step away," Porter said Saturday after the Timbers' win. "We obviously have to have a good performance next game Thursday at home. But they have to come on our home field and get a piece of us in order to get through, and I like our chances. Obviously, we have to play as well as we did in this game. We have to be as hungry, we have to fight as hard, we have to be as organized."

Portland knows that a draw on Thursday will be enough to reach the Western Conference final, while Seattle must do what only one team did this season, and that is win a match in Portland.

The Timbers put together the top home record in MLS, going 11-1-5 at JELD-WEN Field this season, and that lone defeat came March 9 against Montreal in the second regular-season game of the campaign.

Since Aug. 21, Portland has not allowed a goal at home, a streak that spans 450 minutes and includes five straight clean sheets.

With that in mind it is no wonder the Timbers are in a confident mood ahead of Thursday's match. However, the Sounders find themselves in a familiar position after the first leg, and are not fazed by the deficit.

In the past two seasons Seattle has lost the first leg of a playoff series by a 3-0 score, with the first coming to Real Salt Lake and last season against Los Angeles.

The Sounders were unable to overturn either of those deficits, but the 2-1 score they face is certainly not as big a hurdle.

"I know right now it's not nice, but it doesn't change how we approach the game in Portland," Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann said. "We still go out trying to win. That's all we have to do. We just need to win by one goal to get it to overtime."

The reason for optimism in Seattle is the late goal scored by midfielder Osvaldo Alonso which reduced the deficit to 2-1.

A first-half header from Ryan Johnson was followed by Darlington Nagbe's goal in the second half, putting Portland in complete control.

But Alonso scored in stoppage time to hand his team a lifeline, and head coach Sigi Schmid thinks his team is fully capable of going to Portland and getting the necessary result.

"It's halftime of the game," Schmid said after Saturday's defeat. "We feel very confident we can go to Portland and win. Just as Portland came here and won, we feel very confident we can go there and win."

Schmid's team would also be boosted by the return of both Obafemi Martins and DeAndre Yedlin, who are to training this week after missing out on the first leg against Portland.

With forward Lamar Neagle out through suspension because of an accumulation of yellow cards, Martins' return to the lineup would be huge, while Yedlin is hoping to recover in time from an ankle injury to take his place in midfield.

11/06 14:14:47 ET

Other Stories

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASCAR: Toyota Owner's 400 from Richmond

    Saturday at 7:00 pm on FOX50

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls at Norfolk

    Today at 1:05 pm on 620am

  • NBA: Bobcats at Miami

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Tonight at 7:05 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
1:10pm Today
NYM
ATL
1:10pm Today
MIA
SEA
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
1:35pm Today
WAS
STL
1:40pm Today
TAM
NYY
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
3:05pm Today
TEX
CWS
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
1:00pm Today
SAN
DAL
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
1st
NYR 2
PHI 1
 
3:00pm Today
BOS
DET
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR