The Seattle Sounders are hosting the Portland Timbers on Sunday (7:30 p.m. PT; ESPN, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) in an OL Reign-Seattle Sounders doubleheader. Here are three matchups to watch:
Raúl Ruidíaz vs. Dario Župarić
The MLS Golden Boot leader loves scoring against the Timbers. Following his brace against the Timbers two weeks ago, Ruidíaz now has the most goals by a Sounder in the rivalry’s MLS history with 10 goals in as many matches. Croatian center back Župarić will have the unenviable task of trying to keep the Sounders off the score sheet, something Portland has struggled with all season. The Timbers have the second-worst defense in MLS, having conceded 39 goals in just 20 matches this year.
Nicolás Lodeiro vs. George Fochive
The good news for the Timbers is that Lodeiro didn’t start against them two weeks ago. The bad news for the Timbers is that when Lodeiro came on at halftime, the Sounders bagged four goals in 45 minutes. The Sounders captain is back to starting matches, and Seattle is 4-0-1 in all competitions since Lodeiro’s return from injury. It’ll be a tough ask defensively for Fochive — anyone, really — to deal with the reigning MLS Best XI midfielder.
Yeimar vs. Dairon Asprilla
It’ll be a battle of two Colombians on Sunday as Yeimar returns fresh off a 2021 MLS All-Star Game appearance to try and shut down Asprilla. Known primarily for his postseason heroics, Asprilla is coming off a goal at Austin FC and now has five on the year, the most in his seven seasons in Portland. Yeimar, meanwhile, is the MLS leader in interceptions, headlines the league’s best defense and is likely on his way to an MLS Defender of the Year nomination.