Special games and events require special treatment by the players and fans who participate. Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin spent nearly three hours coming up with an extra special hair cut for Sunday night’s Northwest rival game against Portland.
A crowd in excess of 67,000 will cram into CenturyLinkField to witness the I-5 derby, as well as the first home match of Sounders midfielder Clint Dempsey. Both teams are also battling for playoff position in the MLS Western Conference.
The 20-year-old Yedlin was born in Seattle, attended O’Dea High School, and is a product of the Sounders development program, which makes this match even more meaningful to him.
“I grew up going to Seahawks games and never imagined a soccer game would have this many people in America,” shared Yedlin after Friday’s training session. “It’s pretty special to be a part of a team, and part of a city that loves soccer this much.”
It has been a whirlwind first professional season for Yedlin, who represented the United States in the U-20 World Cup tournament in Turkey, and the Seattle Sounders at the MLS All Star game in Kansas City. He admits the travel and grind of constant practice and games can be tiring.
Nothing like a rival game against your former college coach to get a guy pumped up. Yedlin’s mentor at Akron University was Caleb Porter, who is now running the Portland Timbers.
“He brought a whole new aspect to the game for me. It was a European, Spanish style of play where everything is more possession oriented and very technical. One thing he also did for me was make me mentally stronger which is why I think I’m making strides in MLS today.”
The Sounders are eager to team U.S. captain Clint Dempsey with Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins for the first time this season. Seattle Coach Sigi Schmid said it appears Martins is over his leg injury and ready to go Sunday night. Johnson missed the last Sounders game while on duty with the U.S. team for a friendly match in Europe.
Portland will not have the services of holding midfielder Diego Chara, who accumulated too many yellow cards and must sit out this match.
The Timbers are currently second place in the Western Conference following a wednesday night 3-3 draw against first place Real Salt Lake. Seattle has 34 points for 7th place, but has played 2 fewer games than Portland.
Kickoff for the Cascadia Cup match is set for 7 p.m. PT Sunday night and will be televised nationally by ESPN2
Bill Swartz, 1090TheFan
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)