KANSAS CITY, Kan. — After following a 15-game unbeaten run by losing three straight matches, the Portland Timbers will attempt to find the teachable moments heading into Sunday's home Cascadia Cup clash against the Seattle Sounders (9:30 pm ET | FS1 - Full TV & streaming info) as part of Heineken Rivalry Week.
“You learn more from losses than you do from [going undefeated] 15 games in a row or going on that streak. The streak is well behind us. We’re currently on a streak that we don’t want to be on,” goalkeeper Jeff Attinella said. “At the end of the day, we’ve all got to look in the mirror and figure out what it’s going to take to get the win on Sunday because obviously, it’s a massive one.”
Seattle is currently on a six-game winning run of their own. And with the Cascadia Cup on the line, Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese is more confident facing an in-form opponent when a full week's preparation means he won't need to rotate his starting XI.
“We learned a lot of things this week in the three matches that we played," Savarese said. "We tried to do certain things that didn’t work out. As I said, we learned a lot this week for us to make sure that we’re prepared better."
Aside from the benefits of playing at home and having a chance to rest this week, the Timbers understand the importance of the long-standing rivalry and look forward to applying these newly-learned lessons.
“It’s the perfect game to bounce back,” Samuel Armenteros said.
Added Attinella: “They’ve obviously figured it out a little bit, but this rivalry always kind of finds a way to have extra storylines. They’re going to come in feeling pretty good about themselves. We’re going to come in fully focused on the task at hand. I’m expecting a good one.”
Portland, Seattle and the Vancouver Whitecaps are all tied with three points for the Cascadia Cup. The Timbers are defending just their second Cascadia Cup triumph during the trophy's MLS era.