PORTLAND, Ore. — The Cascadia Cup will return to Seattle, at least for now.
Although the Seattle Sounders did not pick up the three points they had hoped to, the one point they earned in Saturday’s 1-1 draw kept the Portland Timbers from clinching the fan-sponsored trophy that goes to the winner of the three-team competition that also includes the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“We didn’t want our fans to drive down on the bus carrying the trophy and go back empty handed,” Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “We still have to play Portland in Seattle, that’s going to be a very important, a must-win game as all the games are.
“Cascadia Cup is the most important thing for them. It’s not for us, it’s MLS Cup. On the way to winning MLS Cup, we want to win the Cascadia Cup and pick up three points here. We didn’t do that, so I think we’re a bit down.”
All week, just about everyone involved in the Timbers organization – from management to players to fans – had been talking about the importance of winning this trophy as a way to salvage what’s been a disappointing season. With the playoffs a virtual impossibility and the burn of an early-summer loss to Cal FC in the US Open Cup still fresh, the Timbers at least had a chance to salvage some bragging rights.
And they still do. Portland remain atop the three-team competition with eight points through four matches, while the Sounders are in second with five. But with this being the Timbers’ final home game in the competition, there seemed to be some added motivation.
“For them it was a very emotional game,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “You saw by all their players that went out that were injured, cramping up and little niggling muscle injuries toward the end that they spent everything that they had. So from that standpoint I’m pleased that we were able to keep them at bay for the majority of the game.”
Not to mention keeping a hold of the Cup for at least a little while longer.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.