BURNABY, B.C. – Time to make history, well, history.
That was Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie’s thought when asked about the so-called Cascadia curse this week, with the club still winless against the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders in nine games since joining MLS last season (0-5-4).
Putting that stat to bed with three points against the Timbers on Sunday (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online) would guarantee the club becomes Canada’s first-ever MLS Cup playoff participant – and if they could do it against Cascadia opposition in front of what is sure to be a sold-out crowd at BC Place, it would be an added cherry on top.
Lose, though, and the Timbers will have a chance at parading the Cascadia Cup around on Vancouver’s turf.
“This team has re-written the Vancouver Whitecaps history books a lot and now we need to do it again with a couple of things we can do this weekend,” Rennie told MLSsoccer.com after a training session this week at Swangard Stadium. “This team has done that consistently. A lot of things in the past aren’t their issue or their fault. We’ve re-written a lot of those records and we want to keep doing that.”
There’s a lot on the line, from a postseason berth to regional pride. With that comes pressure, but it’s the right type, says Rennie.
“There’s so many things for us to achieve in one game and that’s what you want as a soccer player, as a soccer coach or as a soccer fan,” he said. “You want to be going into games where there’s things on the line and things to achieve, and that’s what it’s all about and that’s what we’ve got.
“A lot of teams at this point in the season don’t have anything to play for and their season’s over,” he added. “There’s not much to be excited about. But for us, that’s not the case, so it’s good.”
And while Vancouver’s stats against Cascadia opposition aren’t anything for the Canadian club to be thrilled about, their record at BC Place this season should be something to draw upon, with the club only falling twice in their own building.
“We’ve done very well at home this season,” Rennie said. “The atmosphere will be electric, there’ll be a lot of Portland fans there as well, so it’s an exciting occasion.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.