Thu, 26 Nov 2020

Timbers, Sounders square off for first place in West

Field Level Media
22 Oct 2020, 10:19 GMT+10

Twice in the past week and a half, the Portland Timbers had a chance to break a tie with the Seattle Sounders and move into sole possession of first place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference.

They'll get a third chance Thursday night when they travel to Seattle to face their Cascadia Cup rivals and conference co-leaders.

"We play in Seattle, which is the team that is on top of the table with us," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. "We need to be ready to make sure that we don't get to Decision Day to try and make the playoffs, that we get to Decision Day and try to clinch the top of the table, and that's what we're looking for. That's what we're fighting for and that's what we're competing for."

On Oct. 14, the Timbers had a chance to move in front when the Sounders' match against Colorado was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns in the Rapids' organization. However, Portland took a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake that night, its only defeat in the past eight matches (5-1-2).

The Timbers had another chance Sunday, when the Sounders played to a scoreless draw at San Jose, but Portland allowed a goal in second-half stoppage time in a 1-1 tie against visiting Los Angeles FC.

"We have to right now continue to make sure that we learn from (Sunday's) match, move to the next game, be able to be strong the next game," Savarese said.

The Sounders (9-4-4, 31 points) have a game in hand on the Timbers (9-5-4, 31 points) and currently own the tiebreaker with a better goal differential (plus-18 to plus-8).

Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei posted a shutout against San Jose in his 250th career appearance in all competitions for the club.

"He's going to keep going," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said about his 34-year-old goalie. "He feels it."

The Sounders are 12-10-6 against the Timbers in MLS regular-season play, including 8-3-3 at home. However, Portland is 3-0-1 in its past four matches at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.

--Field Level Media

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