MATCH: Portland Timbers (7-15-9, 30 points, 8th, MLS West) at Seattle Sounders FC (13-7-10, 49 points, 3rd, MLS West). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Sunday, 6 p.m. CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 79th all-time, 4th MLS (Sounders lead 40-28-10 all-time; tied 1-1-2 MLS). LAST 10: Sounders 5-2-3; Timbers 2-3-5. TV: ESPN. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
With their fourth consecutive MLS Cup playoff spot secured, the Sounders host the Portland Timbers in the club's final Cascadia Cup match of the season. The Sounders, who must win in order to have a chance of retaining the Cup, have distributed more than 66,000 tickets, virtually assuring the largest crowd ever for an MLS match at the Clink.
"It's a great tribute to MLS and to the Northwest rivalries," said Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid. "It's going to be an electric atmosphere."
"It's a special occasion for sure," added defender Brad Evans.
The Sounders, who drew 60,908 for the L.A. Galaxy Aug. 5, played to a 1-1 draw with the Whitecaps last week in Vancouver and sit fourth in the Western Conference, three points behind second-place Real Salt Lake and one point behind the Galaxy with a game in hand and head-to-head meetings remaining against both teams.
With the draw, the Sounders became the first MLS expansion team to reach the postseason in each of its first four seasons.
“It’s a tribute to the organization all the way down,” Schmid said. “We have a lot of stability and, as a result of that, there’s belief that we’ve been able to instill in our club. We’ve still got big goals this year. The No. 1 goal was to make it back to the playoffs and we can talk about the other goals from there.”
The BC Place draw also kept Seattle in the running for the Cascadia Cup. The Sounders (1-1-3, 6 points) are two points behind the Timbers (2-0-2, 8 points) in the Cascadia Cup standings. A loss or a draw with Portland Sunday would secure the Cup for the Timbers. Even if the Timbers lose Sunday, they can claim the Cup by winning Oct. 20 when Portland visits Vancouver.
Now 10 points ahead of fifth-seeded Vancouver with three matches remaining for the Whitecaps, Seattle is assured of finishing no worse than fourth, which means the Sounders will play at least one home playoff match.
The top five teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. The first tiebreaker is goals scored. Seattle has scored the third-most goals (45) in the West behind San Jose (65) and the Galaxy (55), and has one more goal than Salt Lake (44).
Seattle is one of three teams to qualify for the playoffs each of the past four seasons since joining the league in 2009.
The series is level at 1-1-2 after the Sounders drew 1-1 with the Timbers Sept. 15 in Portland. Both sides have scored six goals, and all of Seattle's goals have come in the final 45 minutes.
The Timbers (7-15-9, 30 points) are two points out of last place in the West, are winless in their past five (0-2-3), and had have just two victories in their past 15 outings (2-8-5).
Portland has also allowed the second-most goals in MLS (52) for a minus-20 goal differential. All seven of Portland's wins have been at home.
Portland's notables include Darlington Nagbe, who has six goals; Bright Dike, who has four; forward Franck Songo'o, who has one goal and four assists, and Jack Jewsbury. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has been sidelined since a collision with Eddie Johnson the last time the clubs met. Backup keeper Joseph Bendik has allowed six goals in four matches.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper -- Michael Gspurning. Defenders -- Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez. Midfielders -- Mauro Rosales, Christian Tiffert, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso. Forwards -- Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
TIMBERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper -- Joseph Bendik. Defenders -- Steven Smith, David Horst, Mamadou Danso, Kosuke Kimura. Midfielders -- Jack Jewsbury, Rodney Wallace, Darlington Nagbe, Franck Songo'o. Forwards -- Sal Sizzo, Bright Dike.
INJURIES (Sounders): Out -- FW Babayele Sodale (ACL tear), DF Andrew Duran (ACL surgery). Probable -- D Patrick Ianni (abductor strain), MF Michael Seamon (back pain).
DISCIPLINARY SITUATION (Sounders): Fredy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso will be suspended after their next yellow cards.
LAST MLS MATCH (Sounders, Sept. 29): The Sounders (13-7-10, 49 points) clinched a playoff berth after playing to a 0-0 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps (10-12-9, 39 points) at BC Place. Michael Gspurning registered his sixth shutout of the season. Both teams had strong opportunities to get a game winner in the final minute of stoppage time. Seattle's Fredy Montero collected a Christian Tiffert cross in the box, turned and shot, but his attempt went wide. Seconds before the final whistle, Camilo's wide-open shot in the box after a flick-on header went wide of the far post.
LAST VS. TIMBERS (Sept. 15): The Sounders could have clinched a playoff berth and also could have moved into a first-place tie in the Cascadia Cup standings, but did neither by settling for a 1-1 draw in front of a sellout crowd of 20,438 in Portland. The Sounders couldn't even take advantage of the fact that the Timbers played a man down in the last few minutes of the match. Fredy Montero knocked down a free kick from Michael Gspurning and rocketed the ball past a startled Joe Bendik for his 12th goal and a 1-0 Seattle lead.
SERIES: Dates to May 2, 1975, when Portland played its inaugural match in the old North American Soccer League. In all leagues, the Sounders and Timbers have met 78 times. Sounders are 40-28-10 in those matches. Since Portland joined MLS, the Timbers and Sounders are 1-1-2 head-to-head.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Overall: 13-7-10. Last 5: D-W-D-L-D. Home: 9-4-1. Road: 4-3-0. Vs. East: 4-1-4. Vs. West: 9-6-6. March: 2-1-0; April: 2-0-1; May: 3-2-2; June: 0-2-2; July: 2-0-2; August: 3-1-0; September: 1-1-3. Goals For: 45. Goals Against: 31. Differential: +14.
- MLS TEAM RANKS: Goals: 45 (5th). Goals Scored Avg.: 1.50 (5th). Goals Allowed Per Match: 1.03 (2nd). Shots: 385 (10th). Shots On Goal: 124 (15th). Fouls Committed: 391 (7TH). Fouls Suffered: 395 (4th). Yellow Card Cautions: 47 (12th).
- Eddie Johnson received word Friday that he will be a call-up for the U.S. Men's National Team.
- Sounders are 6-0-1 when leading at the half, 7-2-8 when tied at the half and 0-5-1 when trailing at the half.
- Sounders are 12-0-3 when scoring first and 1-7-4 when conceding first.
- In the 207 all-time games against Portland and Vancouver soccer teams since June 9, 1974, Seattle leads with 102 wins, 74 losses and 31 draw.
- Michael Gspurning ranks first in MLS with a 0.79 goals against average, and also leads the league in winning percentage at .706 (10-3-4).
- Mauro Rosales ranks third in MLS with 13 assists and tied for first with five game-winning assists.
- Eddie Johnson ranks sixth in the Budweiser Golden Boot Race with 13 goals and Fredy Montero is eighth with 12 goals.
- Seattle has not lost consecutive MLS games in 62 outings (31-12-19), the longest stretch in league history.
- Seattle has the second fewest losses (7) in MLS this season.
- Sounders are 12-0-3 when scoring first. Seattle's 29-game unbeaten streak (23-0-6) when scoring first is the second-longest active streak in MLS (New York, 56).
- Coach Sigi Schmid has used 28 lineups in 30 games.
- With 66,000 tickets distributed for Sunday's match, the Sounders FC have set the MLS average attendance record at 38,581 and a total attendance record at 655,878 with two more home games remaining.
- The match will be the largest single-game attendance since last year's San Jose home match, and could rank as the second-largest crowd for a MLS match in league history. The largest single-game attendance in MLS history for a stand-alone match was 69,255 for the league's inaugural match at the Rose Bowl in 1996. The record for a MLS match is 92,650 on Aug. 6, 2005 at the Los Angeles Coliseum for Chivas USA vs. New England as part of a doubleheader with Barcelona-CD Guadalajara.
|Starts||Alonso 26, Evans 25, Parke 25|
|Goals||Johnson 13, Montero 12, Estrada 5|
|Assists||Rosales 13, Montero 6, Caskey 4|
|Shots||Montero 108, Johnson 67, Alonso 33|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 39, Johnson 23, Evans 11|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 58, Johnson 37, Alonso 33|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 60, Alonso 45, Johnson 43|
|Offsides||Johnson 33, Montero 18, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 65, Tiffert 22, Fernandez 16|
|Cautions||Alonso 7, Johnson 6, Montero 5|
|Ejections||Hurtado 1, Fernandez 1, Montero 1|
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/26||&at San Jose||7:30||Webcast||W||1-0||3-0-0|
|6/30||^at New England||4:30||KONG||D||2-2||7-5-5|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||W||4-0||10-5-7|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||GolTV||L||2-1||4-1|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KONG||L||2-1||10-6-7|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||D||1-1||12-6-8|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||---||---||---|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||---||---||---|