Keybank Scouting Report Matchday Preview: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers | U.S. Open Cup
U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal Round
Date: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
FIFTH ROUND MATCH RECAP
The Timbers advanced to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the second consecutive year with a 3-1 win against Sporting Kansas City before 11,138 fans at Sporting Park on June 24. Midfielder Gastón Fernández registered a brace in a second consecutive U.S. Open Cup match for the Timbers, opening the scoring in the 30th minute with a low shot from the middle of the penalty box following a deflected pass from midfielder Kalif Alhassan. Fernández, who leads all Timbers players with 10 goals in all competitions this season, n etted his second goal of the match in the 68th minute. Putting the Timbers ahead by three goals, Fernández was in the right place, depositing a rebound off forward Maximiliano Urruti’s initial effort into an open goal. Midfielder Will Johnson netted a goal in the 57th minute, converting a penalty kick after midfielder Steve Zakuani dribbled through the Sporting Kansas City defense and into the penalty box when defender Aurelien Colin committed a foul.
SCOUTING SOUNDERS FC
Sounders FC, the current leaders in the 2014 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings with 35 points (11-4-2) through 17 regular-season matches, advanced to the quarterfinals by way of a win in penalty kicks against the San Jose Earthquakes on June 24 at Starfire Sports Complex. Head coach Sigi Schmid’s side won three consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles, lifting the trophy in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before falling short on penalty kicks in the 2012 championship match at Sporting Kansas City. In league play, Seattle is coming off a 1-0 loss against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday at BC Place in Vancouver. Sounders FC have won nine of their last 13 regular-season matches. Forwards Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are tied for the team lead with eight goals each, while Martins has added six assists.
CASCADIA RIVALS: OPEN CUP HISTORY
One of North American soccer’s longest and most heated rivalries, the Pacific Northwest derby between the Timbers and Sounders dates back to the 1975 North American Soccer League (NASL) season, Portland’s first year as a professional club. The two sides first played each other on May 2, 1975, in Portland’s first match in the NASL, with the Sounders taking a 1-0 win in front of 8,131 fans at a rain-soaked Civic Stadium (now Providence Park) in Portland. The two rivals have met four previous times in U.S. Open Cup play, first squaring off in the 2005 tournament with Portland earning a 2-0 win at home. Seattle has earned three straight results against the Timbers in Open Cup play, including wins in 2007, 2009 and a penalty-kick victory in 2010. Wednesday’s match marks the 86th all-time meeting between the two clubs in all competitions since 1975.
Timbers midfielder Gastón Fernández has tallied a brace in consecutive U.S. Open Cup matches, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over the Orlando City U23s on June 17 and netting two more goals in a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on June 24. Fernández leads the Timbers with 10 goals in all competitions this season and tied with Blake Smith of USL PRO side Indy Eleven for the overall goal-scoring lead in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
AGAINST SOUNDERS FC
The Timbers have struck a recent run of good form against Sounders FC, compiling a 3-1-2 record against their Cascadia rivals since the start of the 2013 season. Portland is unbeaten in four straight games in all competitions against Seattle, including consecutive wins during the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Current Timbers assistant coach Cameron Knowles appeared in two U.S. Open Cup matches against Seattle, taking part in tournament games in 2007 and 2009. Portland Thorns FC assistant coach Scot Thompson appeared in three matches (2007, 2009 and 2010), while Timbers midfielder Steve Zakuani made a substitute appearance in the 2010 match, playing for Sounders FC.