Sounders trash talk a bit as Sunday duel with Portland nears
The Sounders had pointed comments for the Portland Timbers heading into Sunday's 2 p.m. rivalry game. "Our organization is just a cut above," midfielder Brad Evans said.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Age-old rivals Seattle and Portland are each mired in MLS struggles, but pregame banter heading into Sunday's nationally televised clash is already in midseason form.
For the Sounders, it took less than an hour after Wednesday's game against Sporting Kansas City for some barbs to come out.
"I'm excited, if my name is called, to represent Seattle and go there and show them who owns the Northwest," said goalkeeper Andrew Weber.
"You can definitely, obviously tell that our organization is just a cut above," midfielder Brad Evans told The Oregonian.
Coach Sigi Schmid referred to his team as the "big brother" in the rivalry in a USA Today story and was asked if comments like that would up the ante heading into the 2 p.m. kickoff at what will be a frenzied JELD-WEN Field.
"The rivalry exists, and I don't think it matters what we say," Schmid said. "I think they're motivated. ... I know they're going to be ready for the game. We're ready for the game. I don't think you can up the ante on this game. I think it's there right away."
For their part, the Sounders have backed up the talk.
They went 1-0-1 against the Timbers last season en route to clinching the 2011 Cascadia Cup, a fan-sponsored tournament among the Pacific Northwest rivals that includes the Vancouver Whitecaps. Seattle also beat Portland on the road in 2009 and 2010 — the latter via penalty kicks — en route to U.S. Open Cup championships.
Dating to 1975, when the fierce rivalry began in the old North American Soccer League, the Sounders lead the series 40-27-9.
Timbers coach John Spencer wouldn't go so far as to say beating Seattle would be the biggest win in the franchise's young MLS history, but said it would be one of the most memorable.
"We could've lost 10 in a row to Seattle. The 11th one is always different," he said in a conference call. "In the big games, especially the rivalry games, form goes out the window. It doesn't matter. Seattle could be 40 points ahead of us right now or 40 points behind us ... and I think everyone just looks forward to winning that game."
• Sounders FC would host either Chivas USA or the Charlotte Eagles of the third-tier USL Pro in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal, according to scenarios released Thursday by U.S. Soccer. If Seattle can advance past San Jose in Tuesday's quarterfinal on the road, the semifinal would be July 10 at 7 p.m. at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila.
• The Sounders have confirmed they have interest in Christian Tiffert, a 30-year-old midfielder who is under contract with FC Kaiserslautern in Germany. Tiffert was in town Thursday to meet the club and visit the team's facilities. A Sounders spokesman said discussions of a contract are premature and would include Tiffert's current club. Schmid described talks with Tiffert as being in the "exploratory" stage.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @joshuamayers