Sounders focus on playoffs, but Cascadia up next
TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) — The idea may be unsettling to Seattle Sounders fans, but with less than a month left in the regular season the priority for the playoff-bound Sounders is to avoid the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and not the Cascadia Cup.
Fortunately for Seattle fans, a win over rival Portland on Sunday would go a long way toward getting out of being the fourth-seed and the extra game that comes with that position. It also keeps alive Seattle's hopes of retaining the trophy that goes to the winner of the Northwest rivalry involving the Sounders, Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Seattle is expected to have one of the largest single-game crowds in MLS history on Sunday night against the Timbers with more than 66,000 tickets already sold. Only one other stand-alone MLS match has drawn more than 67,000 fans in league history.
Kelly, Sark play down Oregon-Washington rivalry
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Chip Kelly seized on SpongeBob SquarePants when describing how the No. 2 Ducks feel about the past rivalry with the Washington Huskies.
He says most of the acrimony between the two teams occurred more than a decade ago, when most of his players were more into cartoons than they were into Joey Harrington. The Ducks are too busy with the day-to-day than to bother with a history lesson.
While the No. 2 Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) themselves may not buy into the hype over the rivalry, there's still a lot of back-and-forth razzing between fans in the neighboring Pacific Northwest states. The No. 23 Huskies (3-1, 1-1) travel south to visit the Ducks on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.
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Expect air between Washington St and Oregon St
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Saturday's game between Washington State and Oregon State could look a lot like the old pass-happy Pac-10.
On one side there are the Cougars with new coach Mike Leach's trademark Air Raid attack. On the other are the No. 14 Beavers with sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion, who is throwing with confidence after a trying debut last season.
Mannion was named the Pac-12 player of the week after passing for a career-high 433 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Connor Hamlett with 1:17 left, in Oregon State's 38-35 victory at Arizona last weekend.
The week before Mannion threw for 379 yards — his previous career high — against UCLA.
DT Mebane probable, CB Trufant questionable
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane returned to full participation in practice Friday and is expected to play at Carolina on Sunday.
Mebane was held out of practice Thursday with a calf injury. Head coach Pete Carroll says he's "in good shape" to play. Mebane has a history of calf ailments in the past, missing one game in the 2009 season and four in 2010 due to calf issues.
Cornerback Marcus Trufant is questionable with a back issue that kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. He returned for limited participation Friday. Carroll said he will be a game-time decision.
Defensive tackle Jaye Howard is officially out. Howard injured his foot in practice last week and hasn't been able to work since. Guard John Moffitt is also out with a foot injury.