Sounders Insider

Sounders return to training for Portland visit

portland_100After an off day Thursday, the Sounders are back at training this morning. I should have some updates and notes around noon. Until then, here are some notes from the club in advance of their 2 p.m. Sunday match at Portland:

On the Road against PortlandSounders FC has also found success on the road this season, securing the second-highest away point total (17) in MLS. Seattle's five away wins rank second this season, already surpassing the season total from 2012 and matching the total from the 2009 and 2013 seasons. The 18 goals scored away from home ranks second this season - just six goals from Seattle's club record of 24 road goals. Despite dropping its past three road outings, Sounders FC has strung together two impressive away streaks this season, going four games unbeaten from March 23-April 19 and three games unbeaten from May 24-June 28.

Portland has scraped for points at home this season, earning 16 points in 12 outings - the second-fewest total in the Western Conference. The Timbers began the campaign with a seven-game home unbeaten run from March 8 through May 17, and two of the team's three home wins have come in the past two home games. Portland holds the all-time series advantage at Providence Park at 2-1-3, with Seattle's win coming in the first-ever visit on July 10, 2011. Sounders FC has earned consecutive draws in the past two trips, including a late 4-4 draw on April 5.

2014 Cascadia CupSounders FC will enter Sunday's match at Portland with an opportunity to overtake the top spot in the 2014 Cascadia Cup standings. Seattle currently sits two points behind Vancouver and has played the most games of the three teams. Sounders FC secured its first rivalry win of the season on July 13 against the Portland Timbers, and will conclude the competition on October 10 against Vancouver.

Sounders FC won the Cup in its 2011, and the Timbers won the 2012 edition. Overall, Seattle has won the Cascadia Cup three times, including the USL era (2006, 2007 and 2011). The regional competition was founded in 2004 by the largest supporters groups of the three Pacific Northwest clubs: the Emerald City Supporters, Timbers Army and Vancouver Southsiders.

SEA-POR Series NotesSounders FC holds the advantage in MLS regular-season play at 4-2-4, outscoring Portland 17-12. The two rivals have already met three times this season as Seattle earned a 4-4 road draw on April 5 before ousting the Timbers from the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals on July 9 and winning 2-0 at CenturyLink Field four days later. In MLS regular season play, Sounders FC is unbeaten at home with a record of 3-0-2, outscoring the Timbers 8-2.

* Seattle has scored 12 of its 17 all-time goals in the second half while seven of Portland's 12 goals have been scored in the final 45 minutes. Both teams have scored three goals in the final 15 minutes.

* Sounders FC has scored in nine of its 10 meetings against the Timbers, including three or more goals on four occasions.

* In the 2014 series, Sounders FC has recorded six goals with eight assists in regular season games and added three tallies in the U.S. Open Cup, averaging 2.7 goals per 90 minutes.

About PortlandPortland currently sits sixth in the Western Conference with 31 points from 24 games, just two points behind Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff position. They rank second in MLS with 39 goals scored and fourth with 1.63 goals per game, but have an even goal differential and rank 16th with 1.63 goals allowed per game. The Timbers have won their past two road games against Chivas USA and Colorado, but have earned just 16 points (3-2-7) in 12 matches at home this season. Head Coach Caleb Porter's aggressive attack ranks in the top 10 in goals (2nd), assists (7th), shots (8th), shots on goal (4th), fouls suffered (1st), and offsides (1st).

Timbers NotablesPorter's attack is led by the Argentine duo of Diego Valeri and Maximiliano Urruti, who have combined for 15 goals and nine assists this season. Valeri, who signed as a designated player prior to the 2013 season, has 17 goals and 21 assists in 55 career MLS appearances. Urruti, in his first season as a regular MLS player, leads the club with eight goals in just 11 starts. Captain Will Johnson has added six goals and two assists while starting all 24 games this season, and has four goals since the start of June. New Nigerian Designated Player Fanendo Adi has four goals and three assists in nine starts since joining Portland in May.

Midfielders Darlington Nagbe (22 appearances) and Diego Chara (21 appearances) have been staples in the lineup this season, combing for two goals and six assists. Defending MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts has been consistent between the posts again this season, holding a 1.47 goals against average in 22 appearances this season.

SEA-POR ConnectionsKenny Cooper played the 2011 season with the Portland Timbers, scoring eight goals with two assists in 34 matches. DeAndre Yedlin (2011-12) played for Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter at Akron. Portland's Darlington Nagbe (2008-10), Michael Nanchoff (2007-10), Steve Zakuani (2007-08) and Ben Zemanski (2006-09) attended Akron as well. Zakuani spent the previous five seasons with Sounders FC after he was selected with the top overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Zakuani scored 17 goals with 14 assists in 80 career appearances for Seattle. Portland selected former University of Washington defender Taylor Peay with the 26th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Sounders FC midfielder Aaron Long was originally selected by Portland with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft before he was released and signed by Seattle in July.