Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, August 21 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)
Match Odds: Seattle 3/5 – Draw 14/5 – Portland 4/1
The Seattle Sounders host the Portland Timbers in the latest Cascadia Cup rivalry clash on Sunday night, with plenty at stake between these fierce Western Conference enemies, who are meeting over the next two weekends in MLS.
Seattle currently look like a different side to the team that has struggled to build any momentum all season, with Nicolas Lodeiro’s arrival sparking a three-game unbeaten streak and reigniting playoff hopes.
The Uruguayan playmaker has been exceptional since joining MLS and has also brought new energy to the likes of Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey, who are both now looking to help fire the Sounders into the postseason after a tumultuous campaign.
The visit of fierce rivals Portland on Sunday presents a huge chance to edge closer to the red line in the West. Seattle are in ninth place heading into the weekend, five points behind the Timbers, who occupy sixth place ahead of Week 24.
Portland know they must avoid defeat to keep their own playoff hopes on track as they remain on course to try and defend their MLS Cup title during the postseason.
However, it’s been a rough few weeks for last year’s champions, having lost three of their last four. They have now only won two of their last eight in MLS and need to pick back up to avoid falling off the pace at a crucial time.
This will be the 16th MLS meeting between these to northwest rivals. Seattle hold the advantage based on previous clashes, having won seven to Portland’s four, with five games ending in a draw.
The reverse fixture this season saw Portland win 3-1 last month, thanks to a fine Diego Valeri brace. The two sides know that no matter what happens on Sunday, bragging rights will again be at stake next weekend when they do battle at Providence Park yet again. Strap yourselves in.
The Sounders remain without Aaron Kovar and Roman Torres for the visit of Portland on Sunday, while Erik Friberg is a doubt with a thigh problem. Nicolas Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris will form an attacking trio that will look to hurt the Portland backline here.
Portland remain without defensive star Nat Borchers, while Zarek Valentin, Ben Zemanski and Darren Mattocks are all doubts. Diego Chara will return to the side following his suspension for the trip to DC United last weekend, while Vytautas Andriuskevicius will continue at left-back.
Seattle Sounders’ last five: L/L/D/W/W
Portland Timbers’ last five: W/L/L/W/L
Key Stat: Portland have not scored a goal on the road in 406 minutes of MLS action, with their last away goal coming in a 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake on June 18.
Key Player: Nicolas Lodeiro – The new Sounders DP has made an incredible impact since joining the Sounders earlier this month. He has helped the team go unbeaten since arriving and has three assists and one goal in his three MLS appearances so far. If he continues in that form, he’ll likely pick the Timbers apart in front of the home fans on Sunday night.
Seattle Sounders 3-1 Portland Timbers – The Sounders look like a different side with Lodeiro in the team. They have form and home advantage in their favour ahead of this one and should prove too strong for a struggling Timbers side on Sunday evening. Portland have still never won at CenturyLink Field in MLS and that record looks set to continue, though no matter the result, revenge will be up from grabs in a week’s time.