The Seattle Sounders are looking to keep pace with the San Jose Earthquakes for the top spot in the Western Conference. To a certain degree, there is no better team to face than the bottom feeders in the west the Portland Timbers.
But the again, this is a Cascadia Cup match. So emotions will be running high, and as bad as the Timbers have been on the road this year, the Sounders are traveling down to Portland - and it will most likely be an intense match.
The game will be televised on NBC and coach Sigi Schmid answered the gamut of questions on Tuesday as the club finished training at Starfire. Of course the question came up regarding the rivalry between the Timbers and the Sounders which receives almost as much national attention as it does locally.
Rivalries are always fun. It's always fun. I think it's good for the sport. It's good for the sport in this country, it's good for the sport in the northwest. I think these are games that as the soccer fans in our country become aware-and as they have become more aware-of the rivalry, it's something they want to tune in and watch because the games are full of pageantry and atmosphere, from what's happening in the stands to what's happening on the field. From that standpoint, it's a good advertisement for the sport.
Luckily, the Sounders should be able to give a good advertisement of the team at a pretty solid level of strength. They have dealt with injuries all season, and David Estrada had a full day of training on Tuesday. Mauro Rosales took a bit of time off today but Schmid plans on getting him in full for the next practice on Thursday. Newly acquired Christian Tiffert also took it easy but Schmid hopes he is ready for Saturday's derby match.
The Sounders have had good success lately with forwards Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero playing off each other off top. Johnson won the MLS Player of the Week last week after scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over Chivas USA.
I think Fredy Montero has filled different roles for us at different times this season-playing as a lone striker, he's stretched the defense, as well, he's dropped underneath. I think he's really, when you look at his game, he's added a great deal of versatility to his game. As a result, as they get to understand each other and our players understood them better, they've become a very dangerous combo. I think what happens is, if an opponent concentrates on one then the other one gets some space and gets to do his thing. When the opponent concentrates on the other one, all of a sudden it works the other way.
The game will be receiving a national telecast, but that isn't the most important part for Schmid. He just wants his team to come away with three points - no ifs, ands or buts.
We try not to worry about it that way. The game means a lot for us because Cascadia Cup is important to us and also right now we're six points behind San Jose and we want to put ourselves in a position that if they slip then we can close that gap. So it's important for us for the points and because of the Cascadia Cup.