PORTLAND, Ore. – Unbeaten in six consecutive road games across all competitions, the Portland Timbers travel to square off against Pacific Northwest-rival Seattle Sounders FC twice in a span of five days, beginning Wednesday with a 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. (7:30pm PT, Webstream).
Reaching the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, the Timbers are set to play their second straight road game of the competition after previously defeating Sporting Kansas City, 3-1, in a fifth-round match on June 24 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Midfielder Gastón Fernández has registered consecutive braces in the U.S. Open Cup, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over PDL side Orlando City U23s on June 17 at Providence Park and netting two more goals against Sporting Kansas City. Fernández is tied for the overall goal-scoring lead (4) in the tournament.
A top rivalry in North American soccer, the Pacific Northwest derby between the Timbers and the Sounders dates back nearly 40 years to the 1975 North American Soccer League (NASL) season – Portland’s first year as a professional club. There is history in the U.S. Open Cup as well, as Wednesday’s match marks the fifth all-time meeting between the clubs in the tournament’s history.
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Portland and Seattle first squared off in U.S. Open Cup play in 2005 as second-division sides with Portland earning a 2-0 victory at home. The sides met again during the tournament in 2007, 2009 and 2010, while Wednesday’s match marks the first-ever U.S. Open Cup meeting between Portland and Seattle during the MLS era for both clubs.
In league play, the Timbers have struck a recent run of good form against their rivals, going unbeaten in four consecutive matches in all competitions, dating back to the 2013 season. Portland has compiled a 3-1-2 record against Seattle since the start of the 2013 season, including home and away wins in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Portland (4-5-9, 21pts) meets Seattle on Sunday in a nationally televised match at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (7pm PT, ESPN2).
Sunday’s match marks the second of three regular-season meetings between the Timbers and Sounders FC. Portland and Seattle played to a 4-4 draw in a high-scoring affair on April 5 at Providence Park as midfielder Diego Chara netted a brace for the Timbers.
The Timbers are unbeaten in five consecutive regular-season road matches, dating back to April 27, and have earned at least one point in nine of their last 11 matches. Portland has registered two or more goals in four consecutive road games and enters the weekend second overall in the league with 30 goals scored. The Timbers rank second in both shots (247) and shots on goal (91) through 18 regular-season matches, while midfielder Diego Valeri is tied for the league lead with eight assists.
Sounders FC (11-4-2, 35pts) are currently in first place in the Western Conference and lead the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings through 17 regular-season matches. Winners of three straight U.S. Open Cup tournaments in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Seattle reached the cup final in 2012 before losing in penalty kicks to Sporting Kansas City. In league play, head coach Sigi Schmid’s side 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 while forward Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are tied for the team lead with eight goals apiece. Martins has added six assists.
Following consecutive matches against Seattle, the Timbers return to the Rose City to play host to the Colorado Rapids on Friday, July 18, at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 8 p.m. (Pacific) and the match will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.