The Sounders and Timbers renew their longtime rivalry at 7:30 tonight at Portland in U.S. Open Cup competition. (The billboard in this picture shows 7 p.m., but all I've heard or seen from every other source says 7:30. In any case, it will be shown live on FSN and broadcast on the usual radio outlets.)
Some 300-400 Sounders fans are expected to make the trip down, joining what presumably will be a sold out PGE Park.
The Sounders trained at the partly-renovated-with-much-more-to-come stadium Tuesday, and after practice we talked to coach Sigi Schmid about what he has learned about the Northwest rivalry.
On the rivalry's history: Obviously I’m newer to the Northwest, but I’m good friends with Jimmy Gabriel, and he’s told me about the rivalry from his standpoint when he was with the Sounders. .... I think this is going to be one of the premier games next year in this league. The game Seattle-at-Portland and the game Portland-at-Seattle will be two of the games. They can talk about the Classico in L.A., but I don’t think it’s going to compare to what’s going on here.
Last season: We got off the bus and we had some little girl screaming at us with some expletives. I thought that was sort of unique, especially that her father was very proud that she was screaming expletives. I guess that’s parenting of a different type."
On Seattle's 2-1 win last season: The atmosphere was tremendous. And I remember Roger (Levesque's) early goal – which was a good goal. And Stephen King got the second. But for sure the atmosphere was tremendous, and getting off to a good start at the very beginning of the game was very important for us.
On tonight: The keys for us is to be concerned about ourselves and to play well. We know Portland’s a good team, and they’re looking forward to coming up into MLS. They’re a physical team, they’re a strong team, they’re very good at set pieces. They’ve got good height on their team. So, we’re aware of all those things. But for us it’s important that we play our game to the best of our ability.
On the Timbers: I thought they played all right. I saw them play live at Kitsap, and I thought they dominated that game from start to finish and played very well. … They dominated a game they should have dominated and they put the game away.