MatchDay: Timbers at Sounders

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



Timbers at Sounders FC

Kickoff: 7 p.m. today at CenturyLink Field.

TV/radio: ESPN2 (Cable Ch. 36/736) / AM 750.

Tickets: Only limited single seats remained through Ticketmaster on Saturday. A crowd in excess of 66,000 fans is expected.

Where they stand: Portland (9 wins, 12 ties and 3 losses) is tied for second in the West with 39 points. Seattle (10-4-8, 34 points) is seventh in the West, but has played fewer games than any other MLS team.

Head to head: This is the second of three MLS matches between the teams in 2013. The rivals played to a 1-1 draw in Seattle on March 16, thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Rodney Wallace. Seattle visits Portland on Oct. 13. In six previous MLS meetings, Seattle has two wins and Portland one with three draws.

Cascadia Cup update: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1-2-1, 5 points) leads the standings, followed by Seattle (1-1-1, 4 points) and Portland (three ties, 3 points. If there is a winner today, that team will jump to the top of the standings. The Timbers won the regional trophy in 2012.

Timbers story: Portland was ranked atop multiple MLS power rankings at the start of the week — for what it’s worth — but lost a chance to actually take over first place on Wednesday when Real Salt Lake scored in stoppage time to earn a 3-3 draw. Diego Chara, a key defensive midfielder, is suspended for yellow card accumulation and will miss this match. Also uncertain is the health of other midfielders Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski and Jack Jewsbury. Ryan Johnson has a team-high nine MLS goals. Darlington Nagbe has seven league goals this season. Diego Valeri has a team-record 11 assists, second best in MLS this season.

Seattle story: The first home game for recent addition Clint Dempsey has added plenty of buzz to a rivalry that never lacks intensity. A 3-1 loss at Houston last Saturday halted a three-match win streak for the Sounders. Seattle is unbeaten in its last nine home games, with six wins and three draws at CenturyLink since a 1-0 loss to Montreal in the March 2 season opener. Nigerian forward Obafemi Martens leads the Sounders with seven goals in 21 league games since signing with Seattle on March 15. Brad Evans and Mauro Rosales each have five assists.