SEATTLE SOUNDERS (6-10-2, 20 POINTS) AT PORTLAND TIMBERS (6-6-8, 26 POINTS)
Noon, Sunday, Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
TV: Ch. 13
Radio: 97.3-FM. 1360-AM
Head to head: This is the first of three matches this season between the Cascadia Cup rivals. The Sounders were 2-1 against Portland last season. This is the 93rd all-time meeting between the teams, and Seattle leads 47-33-12. Since Portland joined the MLS in 2011, the Sounders lead that series 7-3-4.
Notes: The Sounders gained a much-needed win on Wednesday, downing FC Dallas, 5-0, to snap a four-match winless streak in Clint Dempsey’s return from national team duty. However, Dempsey picked up a red card for a hand to the face and will miss this game. He will be missed: The Sounders are just 1-5-2 on the road this season… This is an important game not only because of the Cascadia Cup — which has Portland in second, with three points; Vancouver in first with six points and Seattle without a point — but because of the Western Conference playoff implications. Both teams are below the playoff cutline, with Portland sitting in seventh place (first six make the playoffs) and the Sounders in ninth place. … The Timbers, who are the defending MLS champions, enter the match on an eight-game unbeaten streak. The last three have been draws including Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Montreal. … Portland should get back designated player Diego Valeri. The midfielder leads the team with five assists and also has six goals. He’s missed the last three matches with an ankle injury. During his time out of the lineup, the Timbers scored just one goal. … Two other Timbers to watch: Striker Fanendo Adi, who has a team-high nine goals, and midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who’s coming off a stint with the U.S. National team.
Next: The Sounders play at LA Galaxy in a quarterfinal match of the US Open Cup. Seattle returns to MLS play on July 24 at Sporting KC.
Darrin Beene, staff writer