Seattle Sounders FC 2 prepares for first clash with Portland Timbers 2 of 2016

TUKWILA, Wash. - Following a disappointing draw at home, Seattle Sounders FC 2 travel down I-5 to Providence Park to take on bitter rivals Portland Timbers FC 2 for the first time this season on Thursday at 7 p.m. PT.

With S2 undergoing plenty of roster turnover in the offseason, it will be the first time experiencing the Cascadia rivalry for many of the young players. According to head coach Ezra Hendrickson, the excitement and the stakes are not lost on the new guys.

“That’s always going to be a game that’s circled on the calendar,” Hendrickson said. “It’s a game that the players are very much looking forward to.”

Coached by ex-Sounder Andrew Gregor, Timbers 2 are currently 10th in the West with 10 points and will be looking to bounce back after a two match losing streak. Midfielder Neco Brett and forwards Kharlton Belmar and Ben Polk have combined for six goals so far this season and will be the focal point for Hendrickson and company.

“As far as them as a team, I think they’re playing well,” Hendrickson told reporters. “It’s always an issue to contest with the pace up front. And when they’ve got those three guys up front that are that pacey, it can cause problems for defenses.”

S2 was nearly flawless against Timbers 2 last season, going a perfect 4-0-0 and only conceding a single goal. Hendrickson expects T2 to be out for revenge this time around and with S2 scraping the bottom of the USL standings, it feels like a must win for him and team.

“It’s a very good team and it’s always going to be a very competitive match when we play those guys,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it.”