The Seattle Sounders go down to Providence Park for 2016’s first installment of the biggest rivalry in MLS. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about the game.
WHEN AND WHERE: Kickoff is Sunday at 12:00 p.m. PT at Providence Park.
WHERE TO WATCH: The game will be telecast on FOX. Full list of Sounders FC Pub Partners here.
WHERE TO LISTEN: The game will be aired on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM with a pregame show beginning at 11:30 a.m. PT and El Rey 1360AM in Spanish.
RECORDS AND STANDINGS: Sounders (6-10-2, 20 pts., 9th in Western Conference), Timbers (6-6-8), 26 pts., 7th in Western Conference).
ALL-TIME HISTORY: The Sounders own a 36-21-9 all-time record dating back to the first time the sides met in 1975 (record includes regular season NASL, A-League, USL and MLS). The Sounders are 7-3-4 against their neighbors to the South in the MLS era.
LIKE NO OTHER: It’s a rivalry like no other in the United States. Dating back to 1975, it draws the biggest crowds, produces the most intricate supporter-created tifo displays and captures the attention of soccer fans worldwide. It has been ranked as one of the top 50 derbies in the world by FourFourTwo and featured in Copa90’s “Derby Days” series. Sunday marks the first of three matches to be played by these two sides in 2016 and Seattle and Portland await with anticipation.
5-0: The Sounders had scored the fewest amount of goals in all of MLS…until July 13. After an uncharacteristically flaccid first half of the season, the Sounders came out on Wednesday and steamrolled the Supporters’ Shield leaders FC Dallas by a score of 5-0. It was not only the most goals scored by the Sounders all season but it tied a club record for largest margin of victory. The performance could not have come at a better time for the Sounders who will play one of the biggest matches of the season on Sunday.
DEMPSEY DEFICIENT: Not all was rosy in the Emerald City on Wednesday. After tallying a goal in the sixth minute and an assist in the 22nd minute, forward Clint Dempsey was red carded for an altercation with Dallas midfielder Juan Esteban Ortiz. The incident was deemed as “violent conduct” by Dempsey, whose hand came in contact with Ortiz’s face during a tackle. The offense will force Dempsey to miss Sunday’s match at Portland.
INJURY UPDATE: Defender Brad Evans was back in the lineup on Wednesday and contributed to the Sounders clean sheet against FC Dallas. Forward Nelson Valdez and defenders Tyrone Mears and Zach Scott were absent from the lineup on Wednesday but all sources indicate that the exemptions were purely tactical due to the amount of matches over the next two weeks. It can be assumed that the Sounders lineup will be healthy for Sunday.
On the Portland side, forward Darren Mattocks will miss the next 8-10 weeks with a hamstring injury, and goal keeper Adam Kwarasey is questionable with a finger injury but the big story is midfielder Diego Valeri. The Argentine suffered an ankle injury in the Timbers June 29 Open Cup match against LA Galaxy and missed Wednesday’s match against Montreal. “He’s having trouble kicking the ball,” said head coach Caleb Porter. “We’re hopeful with another four, five days from now until Seattle that he’ll be able to progress and play in that game.”
DEFENDING CHAMPS: While the Sounders have the wins, the Timbers have the cup. Portland has not been shy about their achievement in last year’s playoffs and now hold the coveted MLS Cup, the one honor the Rave Green have been unable to achieve in their MLS history. The trophy undoubtedly strengthens the intensity of this rivalry even more and expect both sides to play every match like it this season.
PRIDE OF CASCADIA: The MLS Cup isn’t the only trophy on the line in this series. The current Cascadia Cup table stands with Vancouver at the top, Portland in the middle and Seattle at the bottom with Seattle having played the fewest matches however. The Sounders have the opportunity to leapfrog the Timbers on Sunday with a win.