It’s finally here.
On Sunday, the Seattle Sounders will host their Cascadia rival, the Portland Timbers, at CenturyLink Field (6:30 p.m. PT; FS1, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS). With over 100 head-to-head matches in this storied rivalry, Sunday marks the first of two games featuring the bitter adversaries in the 2019 MLS regular season.
Here are five reasons to attend the match, with tickets still available on SeatGeek, the Official Ticketing Partner of Sounders FC.
As the holders of the 2018 Cascadia Cup, a win over Portland on Sunday would ensure that the Sounders retain the regional title. Since the start of the rivalry’s MLS era (2011), only the Whitecaps have repeated as champions, lifting the trophy in 2013 and 2014, while the Sounders have emerged victorious from the competition on three occasions (2011, 2015 and 2018). Three points on Sunday would put the Rave Green on seven points, securing the 2019 trophy.
BATTLE OF THE STRIKERS
Sunday’s match will feature two of the most efficient goal-scorers across the league, with Raúl Ruidíaz lining up for Seattle and Brian Fernández representing Portland. A ruthless, relentless poacher in the box, Ruidíaz has already racked up 20 goals in 27 appearances for the Rave Green across the regular season and playoffs. Although his sample size is much smaller, Fernández has nine goals in 10 appearances across all competitions, including a brace in Portland’s 2-1 win over the Sounders in the U.S. Open Cup. With Ruidíaz and Fernández on the pitch, expect plenty of fireworks.
Dating back to the old North American Soccer League in the 1970’s, the Sounders and Timbers have gone head-to-head in over 100 matches across all competitions. Every iteration of the rivalry, whether in the NASL, USL or MLS, has featured heated contests and instant classics. With the Timbers looking to climb the standings and the Sounders hoping to solidify themselves as one the top teams in the league, Sunday will be no different.
GOALS, GOALS, GOALS
Since the Timbers entered MLS in 2011, the two sides have squared off 23 times. And in those 23 matches, there has never been a scoreless draw in regular season play. The Sounders and Timbers have combined for 74 goals, making this one of the most thrilling, end-to-end rivalries in all of North American soccer. In derby matches, usually reliable predictors like form, injury and league standing go out the window. But one thing is for sure: expect plenty of goals on Sunday.
Although the result was disappointing, there’s no denying that last season’s postseason clash between the Sounders and Timbers was one of the most iconic series in league history. The Sounders nearly overcame a first-leg defeat, as well as injuries to Chad Marshall and Cristian Roldan, courtesy of Ruidiaz’s heroics in Leg Two. The way this season is shaping up, it’s entirely possible that Portland and Seattle will meet again in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. You won’t want to miss the match on Sunday, as it should be harbinger for the postseason.