Chase for Cascadia
The Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders will be squaring off this Saturday in the latest edition of the Cascadia Cup, the competition between the Timbers, Sounders, and Vancouver Whitecaps to lay claim on bragging rights over Northwest soccer.
Kickoff: September 15, 2012 12:30pm PST
Portland, Oregon – NBC
As of right now, the Timbers sit in first place with seven points (2-0-1), the Sounders have four points (1-1-1), and the Whitecaps are bringing up the rear with two points (0-2-2).
The matchup between Portland and Seattle will have extreme ramifications as to who ultimately win Cascadia.
MLS‘ most heated rivalry, there is no friendly blood shared between the Timbers and the Sounders.
Not between the fans, not between the coaches, and especially not between the players.
An inner-beast awakens in each organization as the two teams duel on the field in order to vanquish their greatest enemy.
For the Sounders, this game means redemption and a shot to show Portland who the big brother in Northwest soccer is. For Portland, this game means an opportunity to jump out to a huge lead in the Cascadia standings and an opportunity to alleviate some of this painful, 2012 MLS campaign.
The Sounders are once again flying high as they have secured yet another MLS Playoff appearance. After starting out the season strong, the Sounders saw a drop in play during the month of June before a revitalization that has seen them win four of their last five games.
Seattle will be coming into the unfriendly confines of JELD-WEN Field seeking revenge after dropping their first match against the Timbers this year, 2-1.
The Sounders will be coming into this game boasting one of the most talented lineups in the MLS.
Led by Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnsonup front, the Sounders strike hard, strike often, and strike fast. They are a team that presses other teams in the hopes of creating mistakes and are virtually unstoppable once they get going.
It has been well documented that the 2012 MLS season has not exactly gone the way the Portland Timbers would have liked.
Discouraging play at the start of the season coupled with organization turnaround has led many fans to try and shut out all memories of what can be considered one of the more disappointing seasons in the MLS this year.
Yet, should Portland beat Seattle, all of that may change.
Not only would the Timbers have a strong hold over the Cascadia Cup, Portland could prove that it has what it takes to play against the MLS big boys and make an unbelievable run at the end of the season.
As of right now, the Timbers sit in last place in the MLS Western Conference with 27 points. To make it into the playoffs, the Timbers would, right now, need at least 10 more points.
With seven games left on the schedule, that is more than feasible should they go on a run at the end of the season.
A game against the Sounders may be exactly what Portland needs to turn things around.
Matchup to watch: Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson vs. Portland’s defense
As was mentioned before, Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson are the figure pieces of a Seattle attack that is absolutely ruthless.
The Sounders create pressure with their midfield and attack to make other teams make mistakes and successively capitalize on those mistakes by sending the ball into the box, where Montero and Johnson work their magic.
If the Timbers want to have a shot at winning this game, they will have to find a way to neutralize the pressure of Montero and Johnson by having one of their best defensive efforts of the season.