The Seattle Sounders returned to training at Starfire Sports Complex on Tuesday as the team prepared for its Cascadia Clash against the Portland Timbers on Friday.
Entering the derby on a difficult run of form – the Rave Green have picked up two points from their last four outings – the players and coaching staff believe the rivalry match can be a catalyst for returning to winning ways.
“It’s going to be a massive game for us and the fans,” said midfielder Gustav Svensson. “We just need to go back to basics a little bit, find the things that make us what we are, and try to work harder [and] help each other even more.”
The last meeting between the two sides featured everything you’d expect from a bitter rivalry with so much history: end-to-end action, lots of chances, physical play and extracurriculars after the final whistle.
Each edition of a rivalry adds to its history and lore, informing the nature of matches in the future. Between the disappointing result at CenturyLink and the heated postgame exchanges, the Sounders are looking forward to getting a bit of revenge on Friday.
“The only thing I can say is that I hope we do that in the game and not after the game,” said Svensson. “I hope we put everything and more in the game, and not after it.”
Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer echoed that sentiment, adding that the nature of the rivalry could spark the turnaround the team needs if it hopes to secure favorable seeding in the postseason.
“Good performance, good result, always boosts you, regardless of the time of year,” he said. “Whenever you’re struggling a little bit, you need a win or a good performance. And then you double down with having it be your arch-rival and a little bit of pay back for what happened up here at CenturyLink. It will be added motivation.”
When the Sounders take the pitch at Providence Park on Friday (7:00 p.m. PT; ESPN, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM), they’ll be prepared for a fiery battle.
All it takes is one win to get back on track. Getting three points in your arch-rival’s house would provide the necessary confidence and swagger to push on for the playoffs.