Brad Smith back in at left back for Sounders in derby match at Portland

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The Sounders got some hefty cheers from Rave Green supporters that made the trip to Providence Park in Portland as they took the field for pregame warmups. A win on Sunday would set a new club record with seven consecutive victories. (GEOFF BAKER/Seattle Times)

All of the expected hands are on deck Sunday night as the Sounders prepare to clash with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park.

That means Brad Smith is back in at left back once again after missing last week due to a sore abductor muscle. Smith appears to be the No. 1 guy at the position from here on out if he stays healthy, meaning Nouhou is back on the bench to start things off.

Victor Rodriguez did not make the trip as he’s still dealing with a knee issue. Rodriguez has been dealing with an assortment of leg injuries since he signed with the Sounders a year ago last July and the team is desperately trying to get him healthy so he can play consecutive games without coming out.

With Rodriguez not here, it’s the usual attacking midfield of Harry Shipp, Nicolas Lodeiro and Cristian Roldan with Osvaldo Alonso and Gustav Svensson in the defensive midfield.

The Sounders are trying to extend a club record with a seventh straight win and would extend their unbeaten streak to 10 games by doing so. This is a game the Sounders badly need some points out of, not necessarily to make the playoffs but if they want to avoid the dreaded opening knockout stage.

Sporting Kansas City is now 10 points ahead of the Sounders in the No. 2 spot overall, so the Rave Green need to whittle some of that gap down before the two sides meet next weekend at CenturyLink Field.

SOUNDERS (10-9-5)

GK Stefan Fr

LB Brad Smith

CB Chad Marshall

CB Kim Kee-hee

RB Kelvin Leerdam

MF Gustav Svensson

MF Osvaldo Alonso

MF Cristian Roldan

MF Nicolas Lodeiro

MF Harry Shipp

FW Raul Ruidiaz


Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or . Geoff Baker covers hockey and is a sports enterprise and investigative reporter for The Seattle Times.