Timbers at Sounders
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Sunday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Radio: AM 750.
Cascadia Cup: Both teams are in need of a win to climb within striking distance of the Vancouver Whitecaps, who lead with two wins and a draw in the battle for Cascadia supremacy. Seattle has one loss and two draws and Portland one loss and one draw.
Timbers (4-5-9, 21 points) — Injuries continue to limit the options for coach Caleb Porter, particularly at center back where Pa Modou Kah is expected to miss another game and Norberto Paparatto is doubtful. That likely means Danny O’Rourke and Rauwshan McKenzie manning the middle of the defense, as they did in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal. New designated player Liam Ridgewell has arrived from England, but is not expected to play after only two training sessions with the Timbers. Also missing will be defensive midfielder Diego Chara, who serves a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation — not for the red card he was shown in overtime on Wednesday. If he plays, this will be Steve Zakuani’s first match at CenturyLink since joining the Timbers in the offseason. Zakuani played 80 matches over five seasons with the Sounders. One of the more popular Sounders, Zakuani was picked up by Portland when the Sounders left him available for the MLS version of free agency.
Sounders (11-4-2, 35 points) — Seattle owns the best record in MLS, and its 35 points from 17 games is four more than any other team. That is despite missing key players Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin during the World Cup. Dempsey is expected to return to the Sounders lineup today. Yedlin played 90 minutes in Wednesday’s Open Cup match against Portland. In addition to their World Cup stars, it is possible the Sounders will be bolstered by forward Obafemi Martins, whose eight goals shares the team lead with Dempsey. Veteran defender Leo Gonzalez might also return to the lineup. The teams played to a 4-4 draw in Portland on April 5 when Dempsey scored three goals, two in the final few minutes. Prior to that match, the Timbers had beaten the Sounders three consecutive times. After playing in front of 4,500 fans at the Starfire Sports Complex on Wednesday, a crowd of more than 60,000 is expected for today’s match.