Cascadia Cup up for grabs in Rose CIty
Regional bragging rights are always a great motivator for a rivalry. Throw in something called the Cascadia Cup, and you’ve raised the stakes even higher.
Saturday in Portland, the last place Timbers can give their loyal fans a little bit of joy if they can beat the Seattle Sounders for a second time this season. A victory would lock up the Cascadia Cup. It’s a trophy Seattle owns right now and doesn’t plan to give up easily.
“It’s going to be a donnybrook, and an important game,” said Sigi Schmid during our Coach’s Corner show. “If they win Saturday’s game they get the Cascadia Cup, and we don’t want that to happen.”
A 2-1 loss in Portland last June still stings for coach Schmid.
“I hate losing to the Timbers, hate losing in Portland, and don’t like that bus ride home after a loss in Oregon. We want to make things a lot more joyous for us and our fans who always come down to Jeld-Wen Field and support us.”
The Sounders failed to match Portland’s initial rush of emotion
in that first meeting, giving up two relatively easy first half goals. Seattle defender Zach Scott says that can’t happen again.
“It’s always a matter of matching the other team’s intensity early on, and then our quality will come through,” Scott told me after practice. “That’s something we didn’t match in the first game, the intensity and mentality they came out with.”
With Roger Levesque’s retirement, Zach Scott is now the Sounders player with the most experience facing the rival Timbers, dating back to the old USL days.
Seattle’s starting midfield might change because of injuries. Christian Tiffert received a cortisone injection in his ankle this week, and is questionable. Mauro Rosales has been dealing with a thigh injury.
Portland has changed goalkeepers since the last Seattle match. Former Los Angeles Galaxy veteran Donovan Ricketts is an imposing and experienced presence. Interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson has also moved 25-year-old Bright Dike to starting forward in place of designated player Kris Boyd.
Matt Johnson anchors the pre-game show Saturday at high noon, with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller handling play-by-play at 12:30 on 97.3 KIRO FM.