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Soccer In Cascadia: Seattle Picks Up A Point, Timbers Remain Pointless

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Soccer In Cascadia: Seattle Picks Up A Point, Timbers Remain Pointless

A bit of a cheeky title, perhaps, but true all the same: The Portland Timbers remain the only MLS team in Cascadia to have not picked up a point yet in 2011. Granted, Portland, and their fellow newcomers Vancouver Whitecaps, have only played two games, so it's likely too soon to talk about relegation. Oh, and the fact that it's impossible to be relegated from Major League Soccer. So take heart, Timbers fans -- there's no drop zone to worry about, plus your club has nearly sold out every one of its home matches. A point will come.

Portland Timbers

Toronto FC came into Saturday's match still smarting from their 3-1 defeat to Vancouver in Week 1, and determined that another flashy upstart wasn't about to have their way with the team. Sure enough, Toronto's home opener brought a 2-0 win, both goals scored by Javier Martina. Portland certainly tried, with Kenny Cooper making the most noise, but effort counts for nil until the club can finally get a point in their first MLS season.

Of course, Portland would also take a win on Tuesday, against Chivas USA in their Open Cup play-in match. The Timbers' third-choice keeper, Jake Gleeson, will get his first start after Adin Brown left the Toronto match with a strained hamstring. Gleeson will likely also see his first MLS start, against the New England Revolution on Saturday, as Troy Perkins is expected to be out another week. With the Timbers already having allowed five goals through a rather porous back line, it's easy to see that this might be detrimental to their hopes of finding a point.

Seattle Sounders

Sounders fans shouldn't get too smug about their bitterest rivals, Portland, having nary a point -- it took 260+ minutes for Seattle to score its first goal of the season, and it still remains unclear exactly how Steve Zakuani got the ball in the net. The Sounders had 26 shots in Friday's 1-1 draw with Houston Dynamo, forcing Tally Hall to make seven saves, whereas the visitors needed just six shots to score their single goal. That's not to say that Seattle were outplayed on their home turf, as the Sounders thoroughly dominated possession and dictated the pace of the game. But, as ever in soccer, goals are necessary to grab more than a point, and one goal, thrilling as it may have been, was likely never going to be enough in this match.

And so now the Sounders travel to San Jose, set to take on the Earthquakes on Saturday night. The Quakes beat FC Dallas 2-0 last week, recovering well from their 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake in the first week. Chris Wondolowski scored both goals and will clearly be a concern to the Seattle defense. While right back James Riley might be better that getting forward than defending, it would surely reassure fans to see Riley reclaim his spot from Zach Scott. Of course, it would be even more reassuring to see the Sounders score a few goals, although O'Brian White had at least two shots on target last week, so progress is being made. Now if Fredy Montero could just score a goal to ease his obvious frustration...

Vancouver Whitecaps

The Whitecaps traveled to face the Philadelphia Union and left with nothing but a suspended striker, Eric Hassli having been sent off with a second yellow in the 57th minute. That made it rather easy for the Union to score their goal in the 77th minute, with both Sebastian Le Toux and Carlos Ruiz getting behind the back line. Ruiz was left unmarked at the far post and easily put in the ball from Le Toux to score his first goal for Philly.

Now it's back home to Vancouver to try and take advantage of the 12th man, hosting Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. The Sporks are without a win in 2011, perhaps proving that silly name changes that give people reason to poke fun at them are not a sign of true advancement at the club. The 'Caps will be without Hassli, of course, and although the team must be thrilled with the news that Omar Salgado will be free to play before his 18th birthday, he likely won't be involved for a couple more weeks. Davide Chiumiento is likely still sidelined with injury. Can Vancouver overcome all this to record another win? Or even a draw?

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