Sounders on the verge of Cascadia Cup title

Vancouver is in town on Wednesday to face the Sounders, a match that could see the Cascadia Cup return to the Emerald City.

Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
October 9, 2013, 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; 97.3 FM; KOMO2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)

The three-way derby between Sounders FC, the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC has been a season-long battle for Northwest supremacy. This week, the Cascadia Cup champions will be crowned in a flurry of matches that started Sunday in Vancouver and will finish eight days later in Portland as each team plays each other for the final time this season.

With a win or a draw on Wednesday against the Whitecaps, Sounders FC can clinch its second Cascadia Cup title in the three years it has been contested in MLS and the team is using that as a motivation heading into the match.

“It’s an important week. We want to bring back the cup to our fans. They deserve it,” captain Mauro Rosales said. “This organization and the guys on the team want to win any trophy that is in front of us. This is something nice for the fans and we need to do something for them after their support all year.”

Seattle currently leads the standings with seven points (2-1-1), with Vancouver in second with six points (1-1-3) and Portland is third with four points (0-1-4) and out of contention for the trophy.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about already,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “We’d rather do that at home for our fans.”

The gauntlet of matches started Sunday as the Whitecaps and Timbers played to a dramatic 2-2 draw at BC Place. Darlington Nagbe and Will Johnson scored for Portland and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts did wonders to keep the ball out of the net for most of the night, but in the end Camilo Sanvezzo vaulted Vancouver into a comeback draw with two goals, highlighted by a tremendous twisting volley from the top of the box that is sure to be a Goal of the Year candidate.

It was a match fitting of the rivalry and, with two more remaining rivalry games in the week, set the standard high for Seattle’s matches.

Sounders FC will host Vancouver on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field and then will visit JELD-WEN Field on October 13 in the Cascadia Cup finale against the Timbers.

“The test against Vancouver will be interesting on Wednesday,” Schmid said. “The game is an important game for them, but it’s also an important game for us.”

Founded in 2004, the Cascadia Cup was created by the supporter’s groups of the three teams when they competed in the USL. Vancouver won the trophy in the first two years, with Seattle winning in 2006 and 2007. In the final year that all three teams competed in the USL, Vancouver won its third Cascadia Cup title. In 2009 and 2010, Seattle was in MLS and Vancouver and Portland remained in the USL and the Timbers and Whitecaps continued to contend for the trophy. In 2011, Whitecaps FC and the Timbers joined Seattle in MLS and the Cascadia Cup returned to its three-team format.

In the MLS era, Seattle went unbeaten at 2-0-2 to win the 2011 title and Portland won in 2012.

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