SEATTLE SOUNDERS (9-12-4, 31 points) at PORTLAND TIMBERS (8-10-8, 32 points)
2 p.m, Sunday, Providence Park
TV: ESPN. Radio: 97.3-FM. 1360-AM.
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Head to head: The season series is tied, 1-1, after the Sounders defeated the Timbers last Sunday, 3-1, at CenturyLink Field. The Timbers won the first match by the same 3-1 score. The Sounders lead the all-time series, 48-34-12.
Notes: The Western Conference playoff race, realistically, is down to four teams for the No. 6 spot. Portland’s tied with San Jose for that spot, and those are the two teams the Sounders play next, with their Cascadia Cup rivals up first. (Vancouver is the other team in the mix at 30 points, and Seattle plays them on Sept. 17). So Seattle has a chance to continue its comeback into playoff relevance should they keep their roll going. In their last five games the Sounders are unbeaten — three wins and two ties — under interim coach Brian Schmetzer, with a big assist coming from Nicolas Lodeiro. Lodeiro bailed the Sounders out in Houston on Wednesday with a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time to earn a 1-1 tie against the last-place Dynamo. Lodeiro will be called up for national team duty by Uruguay, but Schmetzer said Lodeiro should play vs. the Timbers. ... The Sounders will be without Clint Dempsey as he undergoes medical evaluations for an irregular heartbeat. Dempsey also missed the Houston game and the offense suffered, with Houston out-shooting the Sounders 22-6. Dempsey had earned player of the week honors for his two-goal effort vs. Portland. ... On Friday Schmetzer said center back Ramon Torres, who has not played since tearing a knee ligament last September, could make his season debut on Sunday. ... Portland did not play a midweek game so they should be rested for this Cascadia Cup game. Timbers striker Fanendo Adi (12 goals) did not start in the last game but did score Portland’s only goal. He’s expected to be available.
Next: The Sounders play at San Jose on Sept. 10.
Darrin Beene, staff writer