Portland Timbers star forward Fanendo Adi expects a family affair when the rival Seattle Sounders visit Providence Park on Sunday for a showdown between the last two MLS champions.
Seattle, which already defeated the Timbers twice this season, won last year’s MLS Cup. Portland captured the 2015 title.
“We are their big brothers because we won it first,” Adi playfully told the Timbers’ website ahead of the game. “It’s going to be a big brother against the younger brother. It’s going to be a great game, and we’re all ready for it. No doubt, they’re also ready for the challenge on Sunday. We’re going to battle it out on the field and see how it goes.”
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The Sounders’ most recent win over the Timbers came in U.S. Open Cup play on June 13. Aaron Kovar scored three minutes into the match and Zach Mathers scored the winner on a penalty kick in the 54th minute of a 2-1 victory.
Seattle made midfielder Christian Roldan’s header in the fourth minute hold up in the team’s May 27 meeting.
“I’m expecting another tough game,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer told reporters on Friday. “We have three games in eight days. it’ll be a high-intensity match.”
Both teams are coming off disappointing midweek outcomes. Seattle (5-7-5) settled for a 1-1 draw with Orlando City after surrendering a goal four minutes into stoppage time on Wednesday.
“One of the hallmarks of this group is that they’re mentally strong,” Schmetzer added. “They would much rather play earlier than let that sit for a full week. One day, two days’ shorter rest is always good.”
Portland (7-7-3) dropped a 3-2 decision at expansion Minnesota United on Wednesday. It was the Timbers’ third straight loss.
“After the game, we talked and we accepted that we have put the Minnesota game behind us and focus all our attention on Seattle,” Adi said. “Seattle is our biggest rival.”
The Timbers will be short-handed at center back, with Roy Miller suspended because of yellow card accumulation and Liam Ridgwell dealing with a quad strain.
Sunday’s game will be the 19th regular-season match between the Timbers and Sounders. Seattle leads the series 9-5-4.