Preview: MLS finally gets a taste of Sounders-Timbers
One of the greatest rivalries in North American soccer history makes its MLS debut as Seattle Sounders FC play host to the Portland Timbers at Qwest Field in the first game in the Cascadia Cup. Sounders FC return home following a two-game Eastern road trip that ended with a 1-1 draw at the Columbus Crew. The Timbers head back out on the road after maintaining their perfect home record in league play in a 1-0 win against Philadelphia Union.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Tyler Ploeger MLS Career: 112 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 28; pens: 40
INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (L leg surgery); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (hamstring strain) … PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (R Achilles tendinitis); FW Brian Umony (R knee MCL sprain)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Leo Gonzalez
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Rodney Wallace
ALL-TIME (MLS): First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 7/10: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 1 p.m. PT (ESPN)
• While it’s the first meeting in MLS between the clubs, they have a long history against each other, dating back to the North American Soccer League. In more recent times, the teams met in back-to-back years in the U.S. Open Cup, with the MLS Sounders defeating the D-II Timbers in both 2009 and 2010.
• Versions of the club have faced one another in the NASL, Western Soccer League, APSL/A-League/USL First Division and now MLS.
• Coaches record: Sigi Schmid v POR: first game … John Spencer vs. SEA: first game
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC completed their two-game Eastern swing and maintained their unbeaten record in Columbus, playing to a 1-1 draw with the Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. Sounders FC have 13 points from 10 games on the season, sitting in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference.
• Sounders FC took the lead after seven minutes. Erik Friberg flighted in a cross from 35 yards out on the right to the center of the box, where Fredy Montero slipped between Crew defenders Chad Marshall and Julius James and flicked a header past goalkeeper William Hesmer.
• But the Crew pulled level after the break, again from the penalty spot. Referee Mark Kadlecik ruled Patrick Ianni pulled down Chad Marshall on a corner kick, and Emilio Rentería sent the resulting spot down the middle for the equalizer.
• Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that fell 2-1 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Jeff Parke and Leo Gonzalez came into the back four for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Tyson Wahl, Servando Carrasco started in the midfield for Brad Evans, and Roger Levesque came in up top for Nate Jaqua.
• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller – James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez - Erik Friberg (Nate Jaqua 66), Servando Carrasco, Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 89) - Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 84).
• Sounders FC managed just one shot on goal at Columbus, but it was enough to secure a point as Fredy Montero scored his second goal of the season.
• "Obviously, we're pleased with getting the tie," coach Sigi Schmid said. "Tired legs, I think, got the best of us in the second half. The Crew played with a lot of energy and we had to hang on at the end."
• Montero’s goal came in his fourth consecutive start after returning the lineup, a run that began April 22 vs. Colorado – when he scored his first goal of the year.
• “It was an important goal. He needed to score that one and he needs to score many more. We need multi-goal games from him and we need him to continue to raise his level. He’s a very important player for us," Schmid said.
• Servando Carrasco made just his second start of the season, his first since the March 19 game vs. New York, while Roger Levesque made his first league start of the campaign.
• Midfielder Brad Evans, who had scored three goals in the previous two games, was a late scratch with a quadriceps injury.
• "We're OK with the point. We're happy," goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. "Anytime you lose a lead, you think about what you could have done differently. But, in the end, they turned the pressure on us and I'm proud we were able to hold onto a point. You've got to give the Crew some credit. They really put the pressure on us."
• The Seattle-Portland rivalry began May 2, 1975, in the North American Soccer League. All told, Seattle has a 39-27-8 overall edge in the series spanning a number of leagues.
• "I think it's going to get a little bit nasty," Levesque said to the Seattle Times. "I think players definitely feel that intensity and pride. I know all the guys on our team have that pride in the Sounders symbol and I know their guys do as well with the Timbers. I think that starts on the field and will definitely carry over to the fan groups."
The Portland Timbers maintained their perfect league record at home, defeating Philadelphia Union 1-0 on Friday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers have 13 points from 8 games, sitting in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference.
• The game's lone goal came in the 71st minute. Jack Jewsbury curled in a free kick service for Mamadou "Futty" Danso to head home between Union ‘keeper Faryd Mondragón and the upright.
• Timbers coach John Spencer made no changes to the team that defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 at home.
• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Jeremy Hall, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace – Diego Chara – Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 57), Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan (James Marcelin 81) - Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Ryan Pore 92+).
• The Timbers recorded a second consecutive shutout and won for the fourth time in four league games at home in defeating Philadelphia.
• “If you keep clean sheets you can’t ask any more. I truly believe that in the modern game you’ve got to be a good athlete, you’ve got to have that desire to compete from the first minute to the 90th minute because if you don’t, you’re not going to win games,” John Spencer said. “Right now, we’re competing and we’re winning games.”
• The Timbers have scored three goals from free kicks this season – most in MLS – and four goals out of their 11 for the year have come from set pieces.
• “We’re getting such great service from Jack Jewsbury. I said to Futty (Danso) and Eric (Brunner) at halftime, ‘You’re going to get another chance, you’ve got to hit the target with it, just make the goalkeeper make a save,’” Spencer said. “Luckily enough, we get one and Futty puts it in the back of the net. I thought it was a tremendous header.”
• Over the last nine goals the Timbers have scored, Jewsbury (three assists) and Kalif Alhassan (four assists) have played a part in setting up six of them.
• Danso became the second defender to score for Portland this year, along with Rodney Wallace (with two goals).
• “We’ve got some big bodies in there so the job for me is just to get it in a good spot and let them try to get on the end of it. I thought we were dangerous on multiple occasions, Brunner had the one in the first half and it was nice to get Futty (Danso) on the end of one because he’s been so close the last couple games,” Jewsbury said. “We’ve been good and hopefully we can continue that.”
• Twelve of the Timbers’ 13 points this season have come at home. Their last road trip came April 23, a 3-0 loss at the LA Galaxy when they conceded a season-high three goals (also allowing three at Colorado to open the season).
• “Now we have to go on the road and do the same thing next weekend and these two wins at home are really going to help carry that momentum for us,” goalkeeper Troy Perkins.