For those who love rivalries, this is the week for you.
The Seattle Sounders (11-2-4) will face of against their bitter rivals the Portland Timbers (4-9-5) in a knockout game for the US Open Cup on Wednesday evening. The game will take place in the close confines of Starfire, with an expected attendance around 4,500 expected. That pales in comparison to where Sunday’s game against the same Timbers will be played in front of a crowd of over 60,000.
For fans there is no question which one has more weight. Wednesday’s match up is a quarterfinal match-up, as both teams are looking to reach the next round in the quest for the Lamar Hunt Trophy.
While many would like to see a win in front of a national TV audience (ESPN 2), most feel the US Open Cup game has more importance than a regular season game against Portland.
Seattle will be without both Clint Dempsey, Deandre Yedlin, Obafemi Martins, and likely Djimi Traore, for Wednesday’s game at the Starfire complex. Dempsey, who will be appearing on the David Letterman show on Wednesday, will be out until likely until the Sounders face his former club the Tottenham Hotspurs on July 17th. Yedlin, who returned to Seattle on Monday, will likely be out until Saturday’s contest, and both Martins and Traore have injuries, reducing their likely hood to see minutes tonight.
For Dempsey, it could take him a while to get back in the grove. The last time these two teams met, he began his quest to cement himself as the face of US soccer. Only 3 months removed from an impressive hat-trick performance against the Timbers, Dempsey, who has stayed out of the limelight after the USA’s 1-0 loss to Belgium in the round of 16, will have to find something else to play for. Gone, will be the chance to lead his country to the promised land. At 31, his World Cup days are likely over. Returning to play for his club could prove challenging after such an emotional and physically draining couple of months.
Game Time: 7:30 pm PDT
TV: The game will be streamed live on Soundersfc.com