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Reason to Believe

Midfield Clint Dempsey
Midfield Clint DempseyPhoto by Brad White/Getty Images

This Saturday’s Soccer Derby match between the Seattle Sounders FC ( 2-2-0, points) and Portland Timbers (0-2-2,2 points) is an opportunity for advancement.

Kickoff time for the heated rivalry game in Portland is 12 noon Pacific time and will be carried live on NBCSN.

Seattle Sounders FC are fourth in the Western Conference standings and rank eighth in MLS with an average of 1.5 points per game. Seattle however is coming off a dramatic 2-1 stoppage time defeat to the Columbus Crew last Saturday.

“It's frustrating obviously to get scored on in both the circumstances; the penalty kick, and then towards the end not being turned on and they get a quick corner kick right at the end,” said striker Lamar Neagle after the game. “It's very frustrating I think, especially after the first that we had. I feel like it was one of the better halves that we have put together as a team.”

The Portland Timbers are in search of their first win of the season after two straight losses on the back end of two draws at home. The Portland Timbers two points earned after four games is the slowest start to a season in club history.

Despite the slow start, The Portland Timbers Head Coach Caleb Porter is confident his teams good play will soon bring fruits of labor, “It would be easy to get down and frustrated and start worrying, but we’re not going to do that because we know we have a good team and we know what we’re capable of,” Porter said in his postgame comments after the teams 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids.

“If we weren’t playing well I’d be worried. But we’re playing well.”

The Timbers started 2013 with a four-game losing streak, won their next two games and reeled off 13 games without a loss.

Sounders FC and the Timbers have met 10 times in MLS play, including the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Seattle-Portland soccer rivalry dates back over four decades to 1975, with the Sounders holding the all-time advantage at 42-31-11.

Team News:

USMT Captain Clint Dempsey will be available for Saturday games after serving a two game MLS violent conduct suspension.

Portland Defender Michael Harrington red card was rescinded and he will be able to play in Saturdays match.

Suspended players: Portland Goal Keepr Donovan Ricketts (through April 6th) Seattle Djimi Traore ( through April 6th)

Through four matches this season, Portland has possessed the ball for an

average of 52.2 percent of the time during its matches, which ranks as the fifth highest

possession average in the league

In its last regular-season visit to Portland, Sounders FC was held scoreless for the first time in the series. Seattle has scored in nine of the 10 all-time meetings, including playoffs.