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Scouting Report: Cascadia rising

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Seattle will look to remain unbeaten at home and all but lock up the Cascadia Cup.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

What You’ll Watch

The Seattle Sounders welcome the Portland Timbers to CenturyLink Field this weekend for the first of two encounters this season. Seattle will look for their third straight win and Portland will look to make it five unbeaten on Sunday night.

Portland currently sits in ninth place in the Western Conference with a record of 7-8-4 (25 points in 19 games played; 1.32 ppg) and the Sounders climbed to second place in the West with a record of 10-5-5 (35 points in 20 games played; 1.75 ppg). Last time out, Seattle came away with a 2-1 victory at home against Atlanta United last Sunday and Portland is coming off a 1-1 tie at home against Orlando in a mid-week match.

This will be the 24th all-time MLS regular-season meeting between the two Cascadia rivals. Overall, Seattle is 10-7-6 with 38 goals scored and 34 conceded. In 11 games at home, Seattle is 7-1-3 with 18 goals scored and eight conceded.

This game also holds importance in the Cascadia Cup standings. With a win, the Sounders would clinch the regional trophy, as they’d be assured of finishing ahead of the Timbers and would win the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Tale of the Tape

Seattle

Last Five: L-W-L-W-W

Leading Goal Scorer: Raul Ruidiaz, seven goals

Assist Leader: Nicolas Lodeiro, nine assists

Portland

Last Five: L-W-W-T-T

Leading Goal Scorer: Jeremy Ebobisse and Brian Fernandez, six goals

Assist Leader: Diego Valeri, 10 assists

Injury Report, Suspensions and International Duty

Portland

Out: Marco Farfan (left knee injury)

Questionable: Larrys Mabiala (left thigh injury), Jeff Attinella (right shoulder injury), Modou Jadama (right lower leg injury), Jorge Villafaña (left thigh injury), Aljaz Ivacic (back injury)

Suspensions: N/A

International Duty: N/A

Seattle

Out: Will Bruin (torn ACL) and Victor Rodriguez (left hamstring strain)

Questionable: N/A

Suspensions: N/A

International Duty: N/A

Match Officials

REFEREE: Drew Fischer

AR1: Jeremy Hanson

AR2: Matthew Nelson

4th: Alejandro Mariscal

VAR: Tim Ford

AVAR: Kevin Klinger

What to Watch

  • There seem to be two main camps of thought when it comes to how good the Timbers are. On one side, there are the folks at MLSsoccer.com and their ilk, who are entirely focused on recent form and come to the conclusion that this is one of the best teams in the entire league. The other camp is a bit more on the fence. They acknowledge that the Timbers came out of their record-long road trip to start the season pretty well, but are also quick to point out that they’re still just 16th in the Supporters’ Shield standings. Sure, they’ve played just five home games, but they’re a middling 2-1-2. Those two ties came in the last week against the Colorado Rapids and Orlando City, neither of which are exactly juggernauts. It’s not like they’ve been dominant at home, even if their 5-7-2 road record is pretty good.
  • So what kind of team are the Timbers? As anyone who watched them play the Sounders in the Open Cup can attest, they are absolutely deadly on the counter-attack. That’s how they beat LAFC in that tournament. That’s how they beat the Sounders. They absolutely feast on teams that let them get out in transition.
  • As usual, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco are still doing their thing. They’ve combined for eight goals and 12 primary assists this year. There’s a new wrinkle to their offense that has made them even more dangerous, as Brian Fernandez has been on fire ever since coming to MLS from Liga MX. The Argentinian has scored six goals in MLS play and three more in the Open Cup, including two against the Sounders. His goals per 90 in MLS play is a rather astounding .91, which ranks him among some elite company.
  • Defensively, it’s tougher to know what to make of them. No one on their backline has stood out with particularly strong seasons and it’s scary to imagine how bad they might be defensively if not for Diego Chara having another standout season. They’re particularly vulnerable on attacks down the wing.
  • If there’s one thing working in the Sounders’ favor, it’s rest. This will be the Timbers’ fifth game in two weeks, the first four of which didn’t feature much rotation. The Sounders, meanwhile, have played two fewer competitive matches in that time and should be reasonably well-rested.

How to Watch

Date/Time: Sunday, July 21 @ 6:30 PM PT

Location: CenturyLink Field — Seattle, WA

TV: FOX Sports 1

Streaming: YouTube TV, ESPN+ (out of market, affiliate-link)

Radio: 950 KJR AM (English), El Rey 1360AM (Spanish)

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