In the annals of North American soccer history, no rivalry quite has the history of Portland Timbers-Seattle Sounders. Now part of the three-team Cascadia Cup, the two Pacific Northwest teams can draw a direct line to the NASL. That line has stretched over several leagues and was renewed at the MLS level earlier this year when the two teams played to a 1-1 tie.
Since then, the Sounders and Timbers have been heading in completely opposite directions. The Sounders have just one loss (5-1-3), while the Timbers have won just once (1-5-1) in that time.
As they say, though, you can throw out the records when it comes to rivalry games. The two sides' supporters have been trading barbs over the Internet during the last week. Nearly 19,000 fans will be packed into Jeld-Wen Field, at least 500 of whom will be supporting the Sounders. The atmosphere will be electric and filled with raw emotions.
As bad as it's gone for the Timbers lately, this is still the same team that won five straight at home and one that is as dangerous as any on the set piece. Head coach John Spencer should have no problem rallying the troops. Expect Jack Jewsbury to once again play a key role on their attack. The big question remains how well their defense will hold up. The Timbers have allowed 14 goals in their past six, including nine goals in their past four at home.
The key to the Sounders' turnaround has also been tied to their defense. The Sounders have allowed seven goals in the nine matches since the last meeting with Portland, including four shutouts. They've also become quite dangerous on set pieces, with 11 goals on dead-ball situations this season. Mauro Rosales has emerged as an offensive leader, partially helping make up for the lack of production they are getting from Designated Player Fredy Montero.
A national TV audience will be on hand. One way or another, it should be interesting.