Keys to Seattle Sounders-Portland Timbers Leg 2 | Playoffs Central

The Seattle Sounders picked up two key injuries at the most inopportune time. Two automatic members of the starting XI, two core members of the squad, each were forced to exit Sunday's first leg 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers in the first half. Cristian Roldan was able to limp off, Chad Marshall required a stretcher.


Marshall will miss Thursday's second leg (10:30 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes, TVAS, TSN) after undergoing surgery, while Roldan — according to head coach Brian Schmetzer — is a gametime decision with a hip-flexor injury.



But, absences breed opportunities. Bobby Warshaw wrote it well: "It’s someone’s chance to shine; someone’s chance to prove their value, to get paid. Everyone who has been claiming that they’ve been underutilized or underplayed all season, this is your shot."


It's not as well put as Eminem's "Lose Yourself", but, it's still strong.


Who are some of the options to step up for Seattle?


Roman Torres


For Marshall, Seattle already have an MLS Cup and World Cup experienced replacement. It's who Schmetzer turned to in-game against the Timbers, rather than dropping Gustav Svensson into defense and bringing on a midfielder. 


Roman Torres has started just seven games this season as the 32-year-old lost his starting spot to Kim Kee-hee after the South Korean international joined this offseason. Torres and Kim have started only two matches together, a 1-0 win at San Jose on July 25 and a 3-0 loss at the LA Galaxy on Sept. 23.


“Roman came on and did a good job,” Schmetzer said. “I enjoy the fact that he came on and brought a bit of physicality to the game. There were some good moments there. Certainly, that pairing hasn’t played a lot together, so we’ll do what we can to get them in sync, but they’re two very, very talented players. Román was waiting for his chance, and here it is. He’ll be ready.”


Waylon Francis


If Roldan is unable to go, Schmetzer could turn to who he replaced him for in-game on Sunday, just like with Marshall's replacement. 


A natural left back, Waylon Francis would be the more defensive of the options. With the context on their loss in Portland — Leg 1, on the road, already scored an away goal — it was a shrewd decision by the coaching staff to replace Roldan with him. 


But, on Thursday, the team is in need of a win, at least, to advance.


Harry Shipp


Harry Shipp had been impressive once he broke into the team just before their historic summer winning streak, but after injuring his hamstring, played his last regular season game on Sept. 19. 


He made the bench as an unused substitute on Decision Day presented by AT&T then made his return off the bench for the final 16 minutes against Portland. If he's ready to play the majority of the game, he'd be the favorite to start. His attacking outlet is much better than Francis, even if he had just three goals and three assists in 1,230 minutes. 


Handwalla Bwana


This would be bold. 


The 21-year-old made four of his five 2018 starts before May ended, when the Sounders looked a completely different team. Since, Handwalla Bwana has made just three substitute appearances and one start against Orlando City SC, which he capped with a goal.