By 750 THE GAME STAFF
The Portland Timbers have had the number of their rivals to the north in recent years.
Winners of four straight meetings, an all-time record in the rivalry, the Timbers hope to make it five straight victories on Saturday afternoon at Lumen Field (1:30 p.m. on 750 The Game).
It won’t be easy, of course. Seattle enters the match in first place in the Western Conference standings sitting on 26 points through 16 games played (8 wins, 6 losses, 2 draws). They are coming off a 1-0 defeat at home midweek to San Jose.
Portland is tenth in the standings on 16 points through 15 games played (4 wins, 7 losses, 4 draws). One of those four victories came against the Sounders, 4-1 on April 15th at Providence Park. Seattle led 1-0 before a ridiculous bicycle-kick goal from Dairon Asprilla sparked an avalanche of four goals in less than twenty minutes for the home side.
Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese joined Talk Timbers this week on 750 The Game and said history doesn’t mean a thing when preparing his side to face their rivals.
“Every game, any time we play Seattle, it’s different,” Savarese said on 750 The Game. “We need to prepare very, very well. Because history never counts. In these games, a squad’s preparation (is what matters). And it’s necessary for us to make sure that we get there with the right mentality.”
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer made headlines after his team’s most recent loss to Portland when he questioned if Seattle truly valued the rivalry at the same level as the Timbers. Savarese said he expects his counterpart to have his team emotionally fired up to turn the tables.
“I know that Brian (Schmetzer) mentioned right after our match that they needed more, they needed to feel more of the rivalry, that this is a big game. And for that reason, I know for sure that Brian will prepare the team the best possible way to be as ready as they can be for this match.
“I know it’s going to be that extra part of it that’s going to make it more difficult. But our players always know that Seattle is a team that we have to make sure that we give everything that we have for our fans, for the three points, for the rivalry, and I’m sure that the guys will come and be a hundred percent ready to play in Seattle.”
Listen to Savarese’s full comments on Seattle and what is at stake this weekend at the 15:10 mark of the podcast below.
You can listen to ‘Talk Timbers’ each Wednesday 6-7 p.m. on 750 The Game.
Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday on 750 The Game, Apple TV (free), and FOX. Radio pregame coverage starts at 12:30 p.m.