Three Things to Watch: vs Portland Timbers

Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal
Wednesday, July 9; 7:30 pm PT; Starfire Sports Stadium; Tukwila, Wash.
Webstream: SoundersFC.com

Four times since 2005 the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers met in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.  But never have the stakes been as high as they are on Wednesday when Sounders FC hosts the Timbers in the quarterfinals of the annual tournament.

Seattle will look to reach the Open Cup semifinals for the fifth time in six years as an MLS club while Portland aims to best the Sounders in Cup play for the first time since 2005. Here are three things to watch as the teams meet at Starfire Stadium.

LINEUPS

Seattle and Portland will face off twice in five days, with the second meeting coming on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field in regular season play. With that matchup in mind, how much will the lineups differ between Wednesday’s Open Cup match and Sunday’s regular season affair?

Seattle was missing nine players in a 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, but Head Coach Sigi Schmid said he suspected that a few could be back in time to face the Timbers, including the midfield tandem of Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda. Meanwhile, the Timbers will be without Diego Chara – suspended for yellow card accumulation – in the regular season match on Sunday, so he is likely to appear on Wednesday.

CLOSE CONFINES

CenturyLink Field could be at full capacity on Sunday, including a healthy number of supporters making the trip north from Portland. While Starfire only holds about 4,500 fans, those spectators are right on top of the field, creating a different type of frenetic environment and one that some Sounders players have said is even more fun as a home player to experience.

As friendly as it is for Seattle, it can be equally daunting for opponents, hence Sounders FC’s 13-0-1 record at Starfire in the Open Cup. That unbeaten run will be put to the test in the Cascadia clash.

RIVALS

There isn’t a more storied rivalry in MLS than Seattle and Portland. Whether it’s the MLS Cup Playoffs, a regular season match or even a coin flip to determine home field advantage in the Open Cup, the two sides will remain as competitive as ever. That will be evident on Wednesday at Starfire and fans across the country can follow it live on the video stream at SoundersFC.com.

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