The Sounders were off Monday, but they begin training today for their noon Saturday nationally televised Cascadia Cup match at Portland. I should have some updates after the training session. For now, this look ahead from the club:
The 2014 Cascadia Cup begins on Saturday as Seattle Sounders FC visits the rival Portland Timbers for a nationally televised road contest. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. PT from Providence Park in Portland, Ore.
Saturday's match will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network with John Strong and Kyle Martino calling the action. Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller can be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, and Spanish radio is available on ESPN Deportes 1490 AM with Rene Aleman and Noe Menendez.
Sounders FC (2-2-0, 6 points) sits fourth in the Western Conference standings and ranks eighth in MLS with an average of 1.5 points per game. Despite newcomer Kenny Cooper scoring his first club goal, Seattle suffered a dramatic late defeat to the Columbus Crew last Saturday, falling 2-1 on a stoppage time game-winner.
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Forward Obafemi Martins holds the second-longest streak in MLS with a goal (1) or assist (2) in his past three games, and Clint Dempsey and Cooper have both scored (1) or assisted (1) in their past two games. Sounders FC has scored in the first four games of the season for the first time in club history, with all five goals scored by different players.
Sounders FC will now kick off the month of April with three-straight road games, looking to extend its April unbeaten streak to 11 games after going 6-0-4 over the past three seasons. In its first road contest of the season, Seattle downed the Montreal Impact, 2-0, on March 23.
Saturday will mark Seattle's first game of the season against a Western Conference opponent and will be the team's first of six Cascadia Cup games. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC currently hold the Cup after Seattle (2011) and Portland (2012) won the Cup the first two years it was contested in MLS. Sounders FC will play the most road matches (4) in the regional competition this season.
The Portland Timbers (0-2-2, 2 points) are still searching for the first win of the season, marking the slowest start in club history. The Timbers have suffered two-straight losses after starting the season with consecutive home draws. Portland's 11-1-5 home record in 2013 was the best in MLS and the club has not lost at home since March 9, 2013.
Sounders FC and the Timbers have met 10 times in MLS play, including the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Seattle-Portland soccer rivalry dates back over four decades to 1975, with the Sounders holding the all-time advantage at 42-31-11.
Following Saturday's match, Sounders FC will continue its three-game road stretch with a visit to FC Dallas on April 12 and a trip to Chivas USA on April 19. Seattle will return home to conclude the month with a match against the Colorado Rapids on April 26.
Tickets for Sounders FC home matches, including the Tottenham Hotspur friendly, are available now at www.SoundersFC.com and 1-877-MLS-GOAL. The 6-Match ticket package is also available now with expanded seating to include the upper bowl at CenturyLink Field.
Competition Schedule (All times Pacific; subject to change)April 5, 12 p.m. - Sounders FC at Portland Timbers, Providence ParkApril 12, 5:30 p.m. - Sounders FC at FC Dallas, Toyota StadiumApril 19, 7:30 p.m. - Sounders FC at Chivas USA, StubHub CenterApril 26, 1 p.m. - Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, CenturyLink Field
Start to Season SixSounders FC has earned six points through the first four games of the 2014 season, marking the fourth-best start in club history. Seattle earned seven points through the first four games in 2010 and 2012, and the top mark was set in 2009 when the club won its first three matches. In 2011 - Seattle's best-ever regular season - the team started slow with just two points through the first four matches, and didn't earn its first win until the fifth game of the season. If Seattle takes all three points at Portland on Saturday, it will be the second-best start in club history, one point shy of the 2012 start.
Club Record through Opening Four GamesYear Record Points Result in 5th Game2009 3-1-0 9 pts. L, 0-22012 2-1-1 7 pts. W, 1-02010 2-1-1 7 pts. D, 2-22014 2-2-0 6 pts. N/A2011 0-2-2 2 pts. W, 2-12013 0-3-1 1 pt. D, 0-0
April AnswersSounders FC will play three of four April matches on the road, and will face four opponents from the West. The month begins at Portland on Saturday, marking Seattle's first Cascadia Cup match and Western Conference game of the season. The schedule continues with trips to FC Dallas (April 12) and Chivas USA (April 19), and concludes with the lone home match against Colorado on April 26.
Sounders FC is unbeaten (6-0-4) in April over the past three seasons and has posted an all-time April record of 9-4-6. The last April loss was April 25, 2010, at Toronto FC. Kenny Cooper is second amongst active players with 17 career goals in April, trailing Landon Donovan by four tallies. Seattle's Chad Barrett (T-11th with 8 goals), Marco Pappa (T-13th with 7 goals) and Clint Dempsey (T-19th with 6 goals) all rank in the top 20 for active goal scoring leaders in the month of April.
On the RoadSounders FC began its 2014 road campaign with a 2-0 win against the Montreal Impact on March 23 and will look to continue its winning ways with three-straight road games this month. Seattle has historically been one of the top road teams in MLS, earning the second-most road points (30-28-14, 114 points) since 2009 (LA Galaxy, 117 points).
Osvaldo Alonso has played the most career road games (68) for Sounders FC, logging 5,757 minutes. Kenny Cooper has scored 30 career road goals (the most among active Sounders FC players). Head Coach Sigi Schmid holds a .464 winning percentage on the road, and his 71 road wins are the most in league history.
In a RhythmSounders FC is in a rhythm of playing games every Saturday. Nine of the team's opening 10 games of the season are scheduled on Saturdays, with the lone non-Saturday game falling on Sunday after the match at Montreal was postponed. The next non-Saturday game is scheduled for Sunday, May 11, at New England. Overall, 23 of the team's 34 regular-season games in 2014 will be played on Saturday.