Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Seattle Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers
are set to do battle on Sunday in one of Major League Soccer's most glowing
The Cascadia Cup, involving all three of the league's teams located in the
Pacific Northwest, has become one of the crown jewels of MLS, but there will
be more than just bragging rights on the line at Jeld-Wen Field.
Both sides are in dire needs of points as Portland is tied for last place in
the West and Seattle is without a win in its last six league games.
As if that was not enough, one Portland player in particular is looking to
bite the hand that once fed him.
Mike Fucito holds the distinction of being the first player to change sides in
the heated Portland-Seattle rivalry, but he was quick to abolish any
suggestions that he has a soft spot for the visiting team.
"You're supposed to hate the other team," said Fucito. "These are games you
look forward to on the schedule every year. Just the history and the rivalry
is very unique and very special, and to be a part of it is a great thing."
The Timbers are coming off a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend,
a result that snapped the club's four-game unbeaten run.
It is somewhat of a transitional time for Portland. The Rose City club
acquired Danny Mwanga from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Jorge
Perlaza, and he is still getting acclimated with Kris Boyd.
Seattle's potent attacking struggled last time out as it needed an acrobatic
finish from Patrick Ianni to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas
City on Wednesday.
Despite producing a splendid side-volley in the mold of a seasoned veteran
attacker, Ianni stressed that he is not trying to take the scoring
responsibilities away from the club's main threats up front.
"I'm not a goalscorer," Ianni said. "Fredy Montero is a goalscorer. Eddie
Johnson is a goalscorer. I was happy to get that one back for us.
"It just kind of snuck through to me. I thought, if it comes all the way
through, I'm just going to get good contact on it and put it on frame and
fortunately it went in."
Seattle will need to put up a sound defensive effort in order to get a
positive result from the match - the Sounders have conceded five goals over
the past two games.