PORTLAND — After cooling slotting home the the game-winner against bitter rivals Seattle, Portland’s Sebastian Blanco ran behind the sideboards and placed on his head the mask of Chucky, the wicked doll who became one of the most recognizable faces in the horror film genre following his debut in “Child’s Play."
Asked if he knew Blanco had stashed the mask away, Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese beamed. “Yes. [Chucky] is what they call him in Argentina. So that's why he put it on.”
It was a moment of levity to a physical rivalry game played on a hot surface pitting two defensive-leaning formations, Portland’s Christmas Tree against Seattle’s 5-4-1, against each other. All of which resulted in match in which both teams’ were limited to a combined three shots on goal as the Timbers took home a 1-0 win at Providence Park.
“These are derbies. These are clasicos, as we call it,” Savarese said in his postmatch remarks, “In every derby they’re physical and they’re a battle. You have a plan in place, but then it takes over the other plan. The important thing is that we matched up. They came strong, but we came strong as well and at the end it was great to be able to get a win.”
With the Timbers three-game winning streak in peril, substitute forward Samuel Armenteros was able to maintain possession of the ball outside of the 18-yard box. Armenteros then delivered a low throughball between two Sounders defenders for Blanco to run on to. Noting that Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei was “very fast”, Blanco was able to chip the keeper winning the game and sending the home crowd into delirium.
“It’s always it's important to win this game,” Blanco said calling the Portland-Seattle rivalry, “a different game."
So why the nickname?
"[It] is my nickname in Argentina, when I started to play in Lanus because I am small.” Like the player with his nickname, the El Chucky mask came with Blanco from Argentina. “I have the small Chucky shirt too,” Blanco said, pausing to add, “I have a whole collection.”