The Portland Timbers are headed north to wrap up their stretch of five games in fourteen days with a clash against their local rivals, the Seattle Sounders. After a pair of disappointing draws at Providence Park, the Timbers will be looking to bounce back and stay in contention for a playoff spot in the Western Conference with a result in Seattle.
Breaking down the Sounders at home will be no easy feat. Seattle are 8-0-2 at CenturyLink Field, the second best home record in MLS after only LAFC’s slightly more absurd 8-0-1 mark. Of course, the Timbers’ road record of 5-7-2 is one of the best in the league as well.
How the match against the Sounders shapes up will have a dramatic effect on the Timbers’ likely effectiveness on their Cascadian cousins. If the Sounders are looking to dominate the match on their home turf and take the game to the Timbers, space should open up for the likes of Brian Fernandez and company to go on the run. Hitting teams on the counter remains the Timbers’ bread and butter, so taking a tactical approach that will maximize their ability to hit Seattle in transition will be vital for the Timbers.
Equally important to the match will be who is healthy and available for the Timbers. While Julio Cascante will be returning from suspension and Bill Tuiloma seems to be back from injury, the number of Timbers players who have played significant minutes during the busy stretch of the season is large and figuring out how Giovanni Savarese will manage that has been difficult in recent matches.
Storylines: “The Sounders are coming off a midweek friendly, and used mostly rotation players, though a few starters were sprinkled in as well. I wouldn’t expect anything less than a first choice 11 from Brian Schmetzer, especially in a Cascadia derby with Cascadia Cup implications. Seattle currently holds on to the cub and is tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps while the Timbers have yet to pick up any points.”
Watch it on: FOX Sports 1
Where: CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA
When: Sunday, July 21st at 6:30 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 7-8-4, 9th place in the Western Conference, drew 1-1 vs. Orlando City SC
Seattle Sounders: 10-5-5, 3rd place in the Western Conference, won 2-1 vs. Atlanta United