Sounders FC sets lofty goals for itself each year, aiming to win every competition it participates in. Four trophies are obtainable for Seattle in a given season (MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Cascadia Cup), and this year, the 2015-2016 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League is added as another potential title that the club is striving for.
Although they were eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup, the Sounders still have the rest of their goals for the 2015 season within reach. On Saturday, the Rave Green can win their first trophy of the year by defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC and clinching the 2015 Cascadia Cup.
It might seem a bit odd that a team can lose its third straight game and be playing for a trophy the next weekend, but Seattle has been mostly successful against its Pacific Northwest rivals this season. And make no mistake about it: The club cares deeply about this regional competition.
“You always want to win the Cascadia Cup because it’s for our fans, and our fans are very important to us,” Head Coach Sigi Schmid said on Tuesday. “And it’s been a while since we won that.”
It’s been four years, precisely, as Sounders FC is looking to reclaim the regional trophy for the first time since 2011. The club is only halfway done with its 2015 Cascadia matches, but a victory on Saturday would put Seattle four points ahead of both Vancouver and Portland Timbers with each opponent having just one rivalry game remaining.
Vancouver won its second straight Cascadia Cup in 2014, clinching the trophy with a 1-0 victory at CenturyLink Field last October. But the Rave Green had the upper hand in the first meeting of this season, a 2-0 result at BC Place on May 16 in which Chad Barrett netted a brace for the visitors.
“I think they were a little embarrassed, kind of like when LA came up here and beat us last year,” Barrett said of the win at Vancouver. “That was embarrassing. So I’m sure they want to come back down, do what they did at the end of last year and earn a result.”
Just four days after Saturday’s match, the Sounders and Whitecaps will duel again in Champions League action at BC Place. The two clubs will have played five games against each other in 2015 by the end of September.
“It’s like back when I was playing in 2005, when you’d play every team five times,” Barrett said. “It’s a little bit ridiculous, but that’s the way it happened. We’re going to see them a bunch this year, so there will be nothing new that either team can show. It’s going to be a dogfight every time.”
“We have to get a result in both games,” Schmid said. “For us right now, we have to get results when we’re at home in league play. That’s the number one game. That’s most important. That’s what we’re going to worry about, and after we get through with Saturday, then we’ll worry about Wednesday.”
Saturday’s match kicks off at 7:00 p.m. PT, with local television coverage on Q13 FOX and Univision-Seattle.