The Seattle Sounders are just days away from facing what is considered one of the biggest rivalries in Major League Soccer.
The Rave Green head to Providence Park on Saturday to take on the Portland Timbers (7:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV app) for their first matchup of the 2023 season.
“Amongst all MLS teams, our rivalry is special, I believe,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “It's one of the originals that goes back a long ways and it has a lot of meaning, a lot of personal meaning.”
The rivalry between the two teams has been an ongoing battle dating all the way back to 1975 during the NASL days.
Since transitioning to MLS in 2009, the Sounders hold a 16-18-8 record against the Timbers in regular season play. Seattle is looking to close that gap this weekend with a win in Portland.
“We're looking at it as a game that can keep us going top of the table, three points, just a confident showing out there to keep us going in this long season,” said defender Alex Roldan. “These are the games that really matter…If you win against a team like that, a rivalry game at their place, you're moving forward in the season with a bit more confidence.”
While the Timbers currently sit toward the bottom of the Western Conference with one win to show from their first seven games this season, the Sounders recognize that this weekend’s match will be a difficult one.
“Obviously, rivalry week adds a little bit of intensity,” said forward Jordan Morris. “We've been playing well but we can't get complacent and rest in that…We know they're going to be a little bit desperate with the results they've been having, especially at home, they need to get a result against us, so we know they're going to come out flying.”
The last three matches between the two clubs have resulted in losses for the Rave Green, but the Seattle squad remains hopeful they can bring the same fire as they did when they defeated the Timbers 6-2 in August of 2021 — especially with the team’s supporters making the trip down I-5 to Portland.
“We know we're going to have a good traveling crowd and we want to feed off their energy,” said Morris. “Whether we're playing it at home or away, [the rivalry] means a lot to us as a club and you have to kind of carry that into the game."
Every Match. Every Screen.
Watch PORvSEA at 7:30 p.m. PT on April 15 on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app.