New on Sports Illustrated: Timbers-Sounders Preview

September 05, 2020 at 02:43AM

The Seattle Sounders resumed regular-season play with a resounding victory over the rival Portland Timbers. It began a path down different roads for each team.

This Cascadia rivalry is ready for another installment Sunday night in Seattle.

It's always a good time, and usually intense, when these rivals come together. In this case, it's a meeting of two sides seemingly headed in opposite directions.

Seattle (4-1-3) has totaled eight goals while going 2-0-1 since the regular-season resumed last month. The Sounders had won three straight official matches prior to Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake.

That stretch includes a 3-0 win over Portland on Aug. 23. Raul Ruidiaz recorded a goal with an assist and Kelvin Leerdam also scored as the Sounders left Providence Park with perhaps their most impressive showing of 2020.

For Portland (3-3-2), that setback opened an 0-2-1 rut that followed its run to the MLS is Back Tournament title. The Timbers have conceded 10 goals over those three contests.

However, both sides - from the standpoint of their respective coaches at least - enter this contest with attitudes somewhat reversed.

Seattle appeared headed for a 2-1 win at Salt Lake earlier this week, but it allowed the equalizer in the 85th minute. It was a valuable road point, but two were left on the table.

"Championship teams figure out ways how to close out games like that," straight-forward Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer told the official website of MLS. "The team has to understand that championship teams are able to close games out like that. It's two points dropped ... I just need to understand and make (the team) understand that these are moments where the team can close games.

"And, that's going to matter when it's later in the year, in the playoffs and all of that."

Portland trailed 2-0 early in the second half to Los Angeles FC on Wednesday, but showed fight in making it a contest in the 3-2 defeat. Diego Valeri became the third player in league history post 80 goals and 80 assists during regular-season play for a career.

"We try to be a team that tries to be more upfront and pressure a little higher," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese told the official website of MLS. "It comes with some consequences sometimes. We'll continue to work and I'm sure with the attitude I saw, there's going to be a lot more games that we're going to win."

Valeri (four goals, two assists in 2020) has six goals with 10 assists in 23 career matches versus Seattle. Ruidiaz has also shined against the Timbers, recording seven goals with two assists in just six career matchups.

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