Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Portland Timbers v Seattle Sounders: Neville calls on hosts to put foot down in derby

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 May 2024

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Phil Neville believes the Portland Timbers have not picked up the points their performances have warranted this season, but he knows the time has come for them to put their foot down ahead of Sunday’s Cascadia Derby against the Seattle Sounders.

Portland sit 12th in the Western Conference standings, below the Sounders on goal difference, after going eight MLS matches without a victory.

Their 10 points through 11 games in 2024 represents their joint-worst return at this point of any MLS campaign (alongside 2014).

Neville, however, believes they have deserved more as they prepare for a run of three home games in their next four.

“I think the first thing to say is we are not making any excuses – the results have not been as good as we wanted,” he said.

“We’ve not got our just rewards but now we look forward to a stretch where we’ve got to perform better and get better results, we’ve got to put our foot down on the gas.”

The Sounders have also struggled this term, though they have taken four points from their last two MLS games against the Philadelphia Union (3-2) and LA Galaxy (0-0).

They then overcame Louisville City on penalties in the U.S. Open Cup in midweek, and coach Brian Schmetzer hopes they can carry on their momentum from that game on Sunday.

“This club has had a long history in the U.S. Open Cup, I like the tournament. It was certainly a challenge against a good, well-coached Louisville team,” Schmetzer said.

“We came out on top and hopefully this propels us a little bit in our league play.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Portland Timbers – Maxime Crepeau

Portland have conceded at least once in a club-record 17 successive regular-season matches, allowing 37 goals in that time.

Goalkeeper Crepeau has faced 41 shots so far in MLS this term, preventing 1.13 goals according to Opta’s expected goals on target (xGoT) model, conceding 14 times from 15.8 xGoT faced.

Seattle Sounders – Raul Ruidiaz

Ruidiaz has 12 goals in 16 previous MLS matches against Portland (including playoffs), the most goals scored by any player against the Timbers in MLS play.

It’s also the most goals scored by any MLS player against a single opponent since Ruidiaz made his debut in the competition in July 2018.

MATCH PREDICTION – PORTLAND TIMBERS WIN

The Timbers are unbeaten in six straight matches against the Sounders (four wins, two draws), the longest streak in all competitions by either team in the MLS era of their rivalry.

Portland have also won their last two home matches against Seattle after the Sounders won four of the previous five meetings at Providence Park.

Seattle’s 10 points through 11 matches this season are tied for the second-worst start in club history, having only collected eight points at this stage in 2018. Though the Timbers have been in dismal form themselves lately, this fixture could come at a good time for them.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Portland Timbers – 41.5%

Seattle Sounders – 30%

Draw – 28.5%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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