Seattle Sounders Update: Taking on the Timbers
When: 2 p.m.
Where: Jeld-Wen Field
Radio: 97.3 KIRO FM; Spanish broadcast available on La Gran D 99.3 FM.
The league's best rivalry is what takes center stage today, but setting aside all of the hype for a moment, this is also simply a game between two teams that are desperate for a win. The Timbers (3-6-4) are coming off another loss and are near the bottom of the standings in a season they hoped would see them take a leap forward in their second MLS season. Sounders FC (7-4-4) may have a better record, but is winless in six straight. Despite Portland's struggles, the Timbers are a team with many attacking weapons that will challenge Seattle's defense.
"They're a team with quality players," Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said. "Kris Boyd is a quality goal-scorer. He's scored goals for a number of years, and he's finding his footing right now in our league, but he's been dangerous pretty consistently in games. Darlington Nagbe continues to improve for sure. They've added Danny Mwanga, so that gives them a little bit more of a more powerful look up front... When a team is as hungry as Portland is right now, because the season hasn't gone as well as I'm sure they would've hoped at this point, and for us right now the games aren't going as we would've hoped, so I think it's two teams that are very eager to get a good result."
Portland has the advantage of rest, having not played since last weekend, but will be without a starter in back with defender Hanyer Mosquera having been suspended three games for violent conduct in the Timbers' last game. Seattle is playing on short rest having played Wednesday, and also has to deal with another game Tuesday when it plays in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, but Schmid is confident his team can handle the busy schedule having had to do so frequently in the past while juggling multiple competitions.
"We've had to do that so often this season and in years past," Schmid said. "... So we're going to prepare for the Portland game. We're going to look at who's healthy, who's able to go, who's prepared to go. Then after that game we'll look at the next one. We sort of look at them as independent things."
Seattle could bolster its depth by bringing Steve Zakuani off the bench for the first time. Zakuani, who has not played in a league game since breaking his leg early last season, was available off the bench Wednesday for the first time this year, but did not get into the game. Sounders FC Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is available after serving a one-game suspension, but midfielder Alvaro Fernandez will have to sit out having earned a red card late in Wednesday's game. Schmid could also have Leo Gonzalez back from a quad injury to play left back if he wants to give Marc Burch a break.
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