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May 11, 2024 5:30 pm

Sounders, Timbers meet with plenty of ground to make up

Raul Ruidiaz

Bragging rights in the Pacific Northwest will be up for grabs again Sunday when the visiting Seattle Sounders face the Portland Timbers in the latest edition of the Cascadia Derby.

Portland and Seattle boast identical 2-5-4 records with 10 points through 11 matches. The Timbers are 12th in the Western Conference table, one spot ahead of the Sounders by virtue of the goal-differential tiebreaker.

The Timbers are winless in their past eight games (0-5-3) and fell 2-0 to Charlotte FC last Saturday.

“I see the next 14 games before the Leagues Cup as massive games for this football club, and now we need to start picking up points,” Portland coach Phil Neville said.

The attack isn’t much of an issue, having scored 20 goals, third most in MLS entering Saturday’s schedule. Evander and Felipe Mora lead the way with four goals each. Evander, who also has four assists, leads the team with 10 shots on target.

The other end of the pitch is a different story. The Timbers have conceded 23 goals, second most in MLS entering Saturday’s play. Neville has yet to find a go-to backline and the team has leaned heavily on 38-year-old midfielder Diego Chara.

“We need to be a team that’s ruthless enough to go on and win games of football,” Neville said. “And we haven’t seen that apart from a couple of occasions.”

The Sounders have struggled to string together points. They’re 1-0-1 in their past two MLS games after back-to-back defeats. That was preceded by another win and draw, which was preceded by two defeats. They have yet to earn points in three straight matches.

Unlike their rivals, the Sounders’ goals have been few and far between. Seattle has scored 13 times, tied for ninth fewest in the league. Raul Ruidiaz leads with six. The rest of the roster has combined for seven, with no other player tallying more than once.

“We’re a good team. We have some really talented players,” coach Brian Schmetzer said, according to the Seattle Times. “We’ve just got to get them to believe that they can score and believe that they can win.”

Seattle has been shut out five times, four of which have come in the past seven matches. That includes their most recent outing, a scoreless draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy last Sunday.

“We need to get shots off,” Schmetzer said. “We need to get crosses off. We need to get that final piece of quality that we’ve been lacking all year.”

–Field Level Media

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