The Sounders need a victory over the Portland Timbers Sunday at CenturyLink Field to keep hope alive of retaining the Cascadia Cup.
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.
Its a tribute to the organization all the way down, Schmid said. We have a lot of stability and, as a result of that, theres belief that weve been able to instill in our club. Weve 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
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|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|
COACHES: Sigi Schmid became first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
Gavin Wilkinson: Is a former New Zealand footballer who became interim head coach of the Timbers when the club ousted John Spencer in July. Wilkinson served as manager of Portland Timbers in the United Soccer League before their promotion to Major League Soccer beginning with the 2011 season. Wilkinson represented New Zealand’s national team 40 times.
COMING UP: Sunday kicks off a stretch of four consecutive home matches as Real Salt Lake (Oct. 17) and FC Dallas (Oct. 21) also visit CenturyLink Field, along with CD Marathon (Oct. 24) in Seattle’s final CONCACAF Champions League group-stage match. The 2012 MLS regular season concludes Oct. 28 in Carson, CA., in a match against the LA Galaxy.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(13-7-10, 49 points, MLS; 2-0 CCL; 4-1 U.S. Open Cup)
|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||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=International friendly; &=U.S. Open Cup