MLS: Rival Timbers, Sounders have more than bragging rights at stake

When the Seattle Sounders visit the Portland Timbers on Friday, it will be more than just a Cascadia Cup clash. There will be serious playoff implications at stake.

Since 2015, at least one of the two teams have advanced to the MLS Cup Final, although both will enter Saturday’s game under the playoff line in the Western Conference.

The Timbers (7-8-12, 33 points) can wrap up their first Cascadia Cup title since 2017 with a win or tie. The annual three-team competition also includes the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“There’s so many, so many things to talk about (with) this game that makes it so interesting,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “But the good thing is that the guys have been working well, they’re mentally focused on this game. We have already spoken about last game enough and we’re ready to play.”

In that last game, the Timbers absorbed a 4-1 road thrashing by Sporting Kansas City, giving up the first three goals of the game in an 11-minute flurry during the first half. Only a 90th-minute goal by Sebastian Blanco avoided the shutout. Blanco has six goals on the season, while Jaroslaw Niezgoda leads the club with nine.

After a 10-game unbeaten run (4-0-6), Portland has been dominated in consecutive games, also falling to Toronto FC 3-1 on Aug. 13.

The Sounders (10-13-3, 33 points) will enter off a 3-3 tie on the road against the Los Angeles Galaxy last Friday. Seattle’s Jordan Morris scored the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute, his team-leading seventh of the season, before Galaxy equalized in stoppage time.

The Sounders have failed to score a goal in the last two meetings against the Timbers, with both of those games at home. But they did earn a 6-2 victory at Portland last season.

In fact, the road team has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the teams. Portland has a slight 18-16-7 advantage in the all-time series.

“When I look over the course of the games (against the Timbers), they’re all different,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said, when asked about the success of the road teams in the series. “We went through some of the past games the last couple of years. It’s definitely an interesting story line.”

The Sounders will be without midfielder Cristian Roldan, who will be out four to six weeks after groin surgery. Roldan has four goals and five assists.

–Field Level Media

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