MATCH: Portland Timbers (14-5-15, 1st, MLS West) at Seattle Sounders FC (15-12-7, 52 points, 4th, MLS West). TYPE: MLS Cup Playoffs, West semis, leg 1. WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 83rd all-time (Sounders lead 42-29-11 across all competitions; Timbers lead 4-1-3 in MLS play. TV: NBC. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
When the Sounders shocked planet futbol two months ago by signing Clint Dempsey, the expectation was that Dempsey would provide an immediate boost to a Seattle offense that struggled to score. Largely due to Dempsey's repeated absences -- obligations to the U.S. National Team, a number of injuries -- it didn't happen until Oct. 27 when Dempsey, scoreless in seven matches, finally found the net.