While America’s Major League Soccer does not get much respect as a top level league worldwide (or at home, sadly) two of the leagues best supported franchises will renew a tempestuous rivalry Saturday afternoon in Portland, Oregon as the Seattle Sounders take on the Portland Timbers.
Both teams are coming off a successful 2013 campaign, the Timbers reached the Western Conference finals after defeating rival Seattle in the semifinals. Portland then lost 5-2 on aggregate goals to Real Salt Lake, the runners up to Sporting Kansas City in the MLS Cup Final. However the new season hasn’t started out as strong as the two sides would prefer. Seattle has won and lost twice, while Portland is seeking their first victory after losing twice and earning two draws to start the season.While Timbers fans may be wary of starting win-less, last season the club went through the same stretch of poor form to start the season. At this point last year, Portland won twice before reeling off a 13 game unbeaten streak and making the Conference finals.
The two sides have met 8 times in MLS regular season play, Portland has won twice while scoring 8 goals, Seattle has won 3 times scoring 11 times, and they have finished level the three remaining matches. Both of Portland’s wins have come at home.
Portland will be taking on their arch-rivals without the services of reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts, serving the second game of a 2 game suspension. Stepping in for the Timbers is Andrew Weber, who is a former member of the Sounders. Weber was the Sounders ‘keeper in a 2-1 Portland win in 2012. Seattle star Clint Dempsey was available for selection following his own two game suspension, however it appears he won’t be starting due to his involvment for the United States Men’s National team (not so) friendly against Mexico, which ended in a 2-2 draw.