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Sounders vs. Portland Timbers: Preview

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Preseason phase 2 continues the tradition of Cascadia rivals meeting in Arizona

MLS: Desert Friendlies-Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

In what is preseason tradition the Seattle Sounders are again in Tucson, though this year they are not part of the Desert Diamond Cup, nor its successor the Mobile Mini Sun Cup. Due to CONCACAF Champions League obligations the team is only playing a single match at the Kino Sports Complex. Facing the revamped Portland Timbers, Brian Schmetzer’s side is focusing on a few issues -- starting forward, Joevin Jones replacement and bench depth at CB and attacking mid.

Portland has bigger issues. They have a new coach after Porter quit on them. Giovanni Savarese won multiple titles in the latest version of the NASL, but now faces stiffer competition and leads a team that expects greatness, even if they so often fall short. They are also without Darlington Nagbe and some other dudes. Portland added a ton of new players as well.

Since this is Portland vs. Seattle there will probably be a flare-up of tempers, but both teams should be focused on how to win their second MLS Cup in 2018.

2017 Form

Portland

2017 Record: 15-11-8 +10, 1st in West regular season, Cascadia Cup

Top Scorer: Diego Valeri (21)

Assist Leader: Also, Diego “MVP” Valeri (11)

Sounders

2017 Record: 14-9-11 +13, 2nd in West regular season, 1st in West, Heritage Cup

Top Scorer: Clint Dempsey (12)

Assist Leader: Nicolas Lodeiro (11)

Roster Changes from 2017

Portland Out: Okugo, Mattocks, Zemanski, Nagbe, Arokoyo

Portland In: D - Julio Cascante (1/2/18 - transfer from Saprissa), M - Andy Polo (1/17/18 - loan from Morelia), F - Foster Langsdorf (1/19/18 - Homegrown), M - Eryk Williamson (1/23/18 - Homegrown), M - Andres Flores (1/24/18 - free), D - Modou Jadama (1/24/18 - free), M - Cristhian Paredes (2/2/18 - transfer from Club America)

Seattle Out: Mallace, Evans, Jones, Neagle, Miller, Kovar (loaned to LAFC)

Seattle In: D - Waylon Francis (12/14/17 - trade from Columbus), M - Handwalla Bwana (1/11/18 - Homegrown), M - Magnus Wolff Eikrem (1/30/18 - free)

What to Watch

How can Jordan Morris improve as the Sounders center forward? - Sounder At Heart
This promoted FanPost looks into details behind four ways Jordan can help the Sounders in 2018

Replacing Joevin Jones will take two players - Sounder At Heart
Finding someone else to provide assists is essential to Sounders success in 2018, while replacing him at left back is a two-player race.

Yes, the contest for 4th centerback is surprisingly important - Sounder At Heart
Usually depth in MLS is limited to three players per position group, but the Sounders will potentially lose two CBs during the World Cup.

Sounders will have big money sitting on the bench, and that’s a good thing - Sounder At Heart
Infusion of TAM means competition for the starting lineup as well as the bench.

Sounders beat Tijuana U20s 3-1 - Sounder At Heart
Bwana scores once, assists once

How to Watch

Date/Time: Feb 3, 5 p.m. Pacific

Venue: Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Arizona, Surface of Sun

Streaming: By the Timbers