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Sounders back at training with eyes on Timbers

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Oct. 2, 2012 at 9:06 am with No Comments »
October 2, 2012 9:08 am

After a couple of days off, the Sounders return to training this morning, looking forward to their 6 p.m. Sunday home match against the Portland Timbers.

Here’s an early overview from the club:

With its fourth consecutive MLS Cup Playoffs berth secured, Seattle Sounders FC returns home to host the Portland Timbers in the club’s final Cascadia Cup match of the season on Sunday evening. The match will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and played in front of an expected crowd of more than 66,000, which would mark the largest crowd for an MLS match at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT.

Calling the match for ESPN will be Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas. The match will also be carried live on 97.3 KIRO FM with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call.

A limited number of tickets for Sunday’s derby match are available through www.SoundersFC.com, all Ticketmaster Outlets, CenturyLink Field Box Office or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL.

Sounders FC (13-7-10, 49 points) confirmed another postseason appearance on Saturday with a scoreless road draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, extending its unbeaten streak over the Caps to five games (2-0-3) in MLS play.

Seattle is one of just three teams to qualify for the playoffs each of the past four seasons since joining the league in 2009. Sounders FC is the only expansion club since the league began expanding in 2005 to qualify for the postseason in its first four seasons.

The club currently sits fourth in the West, three points behind second place Real Salt Lake and one point behind the LA Galaxy with a game in hand and a head-to-head meeting remaining against both teams.

Sounders FC is 10 points ahead of fifth seed Vancouver, and with just three games to go for the Whitecaps, Sounders FC can finish no lower than fourth in the West, ensuring Seattle of at least one home playoff match.

The draw at BC Place kept Seattle’s goal of retaining the Cascadia Cup well within reach. The Rave Green (1-1-3, 6 points) are just two points behind the Portland Timbers (2-0-2, 8 points) in the Cascadia Cup standings. Sounders FC must win on Sunday to have a chance to win the 2012 Cascadia Cup. A draw or a loss would secure the Cup for the Timbers. The final Cascadia Cup match of the season is October 20 when Portland visits Vancouver.

The Portland Timbers (7-15-9, 30 points) are eighth in the West, nine points out of the final playoff spot. Portland must win its final three matches to remain in playoff contention.

It will be the 79th meeting between Seattle and Portland soccer teams, dating back to NASL play in 1975. Seattle leads the all-time series at 40-28-10, and the Timbers lead the season series with a 2-1 win and 1-1 draw at JELD-WEN Field.

Sunday’s match will surely set the 2012 single-game attendance record, which was previously 60,908 when Sounders FC hosted the LA Galaxy on August 5. Seattle is 3-0-0 in MLS games played in front of over 55,000 fans, outscoring opponents 8-1.

Sunday’s game kicks off a stretch of four consecutive home games as Real Salt Lake (October 17) and FC Dallas (October 21) also visit CenturyLink Field, along with CD Marathon (October 24) in Seattle’s final CONCACAF Champions League group stage match. The 2012 MLS regular season concludes for Sounders FC on Sunday, October 28 in Carson, Calif., in a matchup against the LA Galaxy.

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