SEATTLE – Seattle Sounders FC will head into Sunday’s Cascadia Cup derby against the Portland Timbers with an exceedingly bitter taste in their mouths after giving up an equalizer at the death against Orlando City SC at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday.
Then again, what better chance is there to right the ship than in the Sounders’ biggest game of the season against their fiercest rival, says Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
“It’s obviously a big game and the emotions are going to be high in conference against another good opponent,” Frei told reporters after the draw against Orlando. “So it’s six points on the line there, if you will. Maybe we look at it as an opportunity that we can go out there and reclaim some points that you gave away at home and get them on the road.”
If the Sounders are to make a run at defending last season’s MLS Cup title, more results on the road will have to follow.
Seattle are 4-1-3 at CenturyLink but have one road victory in nine games so far in 2017. Their task on Sunday at Providence Park (10 pm ET | ESPN2, TSN2 in Canada) -- one of MLS’s most intimidating venues -- certainly isn’t easy. But Frei said the hope is that the high-stakes nature of the matchup will bring out the best in his side.
“We have to take care of business at home, but even if you do that, at some point you have to do something on the road,” Frei said. “What better way to do it than try to go down there to Portland? They tend to be a good side at home and I’m sure will be up for it, but we’re going to make sure we’re up for it to try and get something out of it.”
Meanwhile, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has some personnel decisions on his hands ahead of Sunday’s match.
Seattle forward Will Bruin scored another goal against Orlando on Wednesday for his team-leading fifth of the season in just 640 minutes. The 27-year-old was brought in this offseason with the idea that he would be a sparkplug substitute behind Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris, but his productivity so far has exceeded his colleagues.
“He played well again tonight,” Schmetzer said. “He played very well tonight. We’ll make [those] decisions and we’ll try to get the right team out there [against Portland].”