Date: Sunday, April 26, 2015
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Wash.)
Forecast: 59 degrees, scattered showers
Referee: Allan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Mike Rottersman
Fourth Official: Daniel Radford
National TV: FOX Sports 1/FOX Deportes (Spanish)
Talent: John Strong (play-by-play), Alexi Lalas (analyst), Julie Stewart-Binks (sideline)
English Radio: 750 The Game (KXTG 750AM, 102.9FM)
Talent: Keith Bleyer (play-by-play), Ross Smith (analyst)
Spanish Radio: La GranD (KGGD 93.5FM, 1150 AM)
Talent: Josue del Castillo (play-by-play), Ozkar Ramos (analyst)
Sunday’s match between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC marks the first meeting of the season between the two Cascadia rivals. Portland enters the nationally televised match following a 1-0 win against MLS-expansion side New York City FC on April 19. The Timbers are 1-1-1 on the road this season with a win over NYCFC and a draw at Sporting Kansas City. Sunday’s match marks the second straight road game for the Timbers, who will play four of their next five away from home. Seattle Sounders FC comes into the game following a 3-1 win on the road against the Colorado Rapids on April 18. Sunday’s match marks Seattle’s first home game at CenturyLink Field since a 1-0 win over Houston on April 4. Following Sunday’s game, Seattle plays its next three matches on the road.
LAST MATCH RECAP
The Timbers registered a 1-0 shutout victory against MLS-expansion side New York City FC as winger Dairon Asprilla tallied the game-winning goal in the second half and goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey made five saves to earn the clean sheet in front of 21,891 fans at Yankee Stadium on April 19. Portland attempted 12 shots, including nine in the second half, and Asprilla netted the game-winning goal in the 79th minute with a powerful strike from the top of the penalty box. With the clean sheet, Portland has logged a shutout in three of its last four road games, dating back to the 2014 season. For the second straight match, the Timbers compiled a passing accuracy above 80 percent (81.2), while also holding their opponent to five or fewer shots on goal for the 10th straight game, dating back to the 2014 season.
ALL-TIME SERIES NOTES
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.
Sunday’s match marks the 89th all-time meeting between the clubs. The Timbers have registered an overall record of 31-45-12 all-time against Seattle and a record of 4-6-4 during the MLS era, in all competitions.
Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field is the first meeting of the season between the bitter rivals and is one of three regular-season matches during the 2015 season. Portland squares off against Sounders FC twice on the road (April 26, Aug. 30) and once at Providence Park (June 28).
SCOUTING SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Entering Sunday’s match, Seattle Sounders FC rank tied for third in MLS with nine goals and tied for second overall with nine assists. Forward Obafemi Martins is tied for second among MLS players with four goals in five appearances, while forward Clint Dempsey is tied for fifth in MLS with three goals in four games. Dempsey also ranks tied for second with three assists. Head coach Sigi Schmid’s side has won two of its last three matches and enters Sunday’s game with a 2-1-0 mark at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Sounders FC return home for Sunday’s game following back-to-back road games against the LA Galaxy (1-0 loss on April 12) and the Colorado Rapids (3-1 win on April 18). Against Colorado, forward Lamar Neagle tallied a brace, while Martins added a goal and goalkeeper Stefan Frei made eight saves. Entering Sunday’s match, Seattle will be without defender Chad Marshall due to a league-imposed, one-game suspension for dangerous play against the Rapids.
SPREAD THE LOVE
Entering the week, the Timbers have had an array of contributors on the offensive end with nine different players having either a goal or an assist for the club. Portland is tied for the league lead with Vancouver, Toronto FC and New England, with five teams tied for the second-most with eight. Leading the way is forward Fanendo Adi, who has three goals and one assist for the Timbers.
The Timbers have had five players play every minute of the club’s matches so far this season. No other team in MLS has had as many players play every minute of their team’s matches in 2015. Liam Ridgewell, Adam Kwarasey, Nat Borchers, Alvas Powell and Darlington Nagbe have each gone the full 90 in Portland’s seven matches (630 minutes).
Entering the week, Timbers defender Alvas Powell ranks second among all players in MLS with 36 tackles. A Jamaican international, Powell has played all 90 minutes in each of Portland’s first seven matches.
HITTING THE ROAD
The Timbers will look to continue their past success on the road as they will play four of their next five matches away from home, including two matches at Eastern Conference opponents. Last year, Portland compiled a 7-6-4 mark on the road. Starting with last Sunday’s match against New York City FC, Portland will travel a minimum of 17,776 miles (calculated using direct air distance) in 35 days for MLS regular-season matches.
Midfielder Jack Jewsbury will make his 310th career MLS appearance should he see action on Sunday against Seattle Sounders FC. It will also be his 115th career appearance for the Timbers since 2011.
Midfielder Diego Chara will make the 125th appearance of his MLS career on Sunday if he plays against Seattle. Chara is tied for the Timbers MLS career lead in starts (123) with midfielder Darlington Nagbe and leads the Timbers MLS career record books with 10,896 minutes played.
Gastón Fernández’s next appearance will mark his 40th career match for the Timbers.
FIRST MEETING IN SEATTLE
Since 2011, the Timbers are unbeaten in their first meeting of the season against Seattle Sounders FC. Portland has compiled a 1-0-3 record (including a mark of 0-0-2 on the road) in the first match of the year between the two Cascadia-rivals. The sides have combined for 15 goals in their first game of the year since 2011 with Portland holding an 8-7 advantage in scoring.
Since 2013, Portland’s 11 road losses (11-11-15) ranks as the fewest in MLS, three fewer than the next closest team. Additionally, Portland is 6-2-5 overall when scoring first on the road since 2013.
PUSHING THROUGH THE FOULS
Portland ranks first overall in the league in dribbles completed (79), according to Opta. The stat tracks moments when an individual player successfully dribbles around an opponent while retaining possession. Midfielder Darlington Nagbe (27) and defender Alvas Powell (20) rank second and third, respectively, in the league behind FC Dallas’ Fabian Castillo (29). Highlighting the stat is the fact that the Timbers are the second-most fouled team in MLS (110). Nagbe has been fouled 21 times (fourth-most in MLS).
Showcasing the team’s ability to get forward during games, the Timbers rank fifth in MLS in chances created (69). Midfielder Darlington Nagbe ranks tied for second in the league in chances created by an individual player (19). The Timbers are tied for second in MLS with 38 corner kicks, while also placing tied for fifth among all teams with 31 shots on goal. Portland also ranks fourth among league leaders in total shots (90).
ON THE NATIONAL STAGE
The Timbers know how to put on a show for national television - combining with opponents for an average of 3.13 goals per game on national broadcasts since the 2011 season.