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Sounders gear up for rivalry rematch against Timbers on Saturday

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After the Seattle Sounders’ 4-1 Cascadia defeat to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park back in April, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer didn’t mince words at his postgame press conference.

“I told them I don’t feel that it’s a rivalry,” Schmetzer said. “[That’s] my initial gut-thought. At 1-0 [ahead] we have to have that killer instinct against a team that’s beat us three games in a row, that’s had our number. Stick the knife in, kill the game. I don’t give a s— if it was the second goal or extended possession. It doesn’t feel like rivalry. 

“...It’s not another loss. It’s against the Timbers. And we have to get back, all of us, have to get back to understanding that this is rivalry. That’s what I said to everybody.”

Re-establishing that dynamic is front of mind for Seattle ahead of Saturday’s highly-anticipated rematch at Lumen Field as part of the doubleheader with OL Reign (1:30 p.m. PT; FOX, Watch free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS), which will give the Sounders a chance to atone for that recent dip in form against their most heated adversaries.

Sounders FC & OL Reign Doubleheader

Sounders FC & OL Reign Doubleheader

Two rivalry matches against Portland, one ticket. You won't want to miss the biggest PNW soccer event of the year!

Such a wake-up call ideally shouldn’t have been necessary, but following the match veteran defender/midfielder Kelyn Rowe said that’s exactly how the squad should be looking at it as they prepare for future matches against the Timbers.

“Next time we play Portland I think you’re going to see a lot more tackles flying around, you’re going to see tenacity and hopefully we’re smarter in those moments,” Rowe said.

“Do I see the rivalry going anywhere? Absolutely frickin’ not. I know that these guys, young, old, middle, whatever – guys that have been in the rivalry for a while, guys who have not, this is one we always have circled on the schedule. Can’t wait to play them again.”
 
While the Timbers have had the better of the rivalry in recent matchups, all it takes is one match to flip the narrative. 

Coming off a frustrating result against the San Jose Earthquakes in midweek action, Rowe maintained a similar message heading into this weekend’s doubleheader. 

“For me, the next game is the most important,” said Rowe, who made his return from a knee sprain injury against San Jose. “And luckily for us, it's in three days and it's probably the biggest one of the year thus far, because it is Portland. It’s a rivalry match. It’s a match that we need to show at our home who we are.”

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