Merritt Paulson celebrates with Caleb Porter
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers' owner Merritt Paulson issues fans permission slip to root for Seattle Sounders | SIDELINE

Portland Timbers fans want their team to qualify for the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs, obviously.

That's neither a controversial or groundbreaking statement. The same, however, can't be said for the following:

Timbers fans can root for their bitter rivals, the Seattle Sounders, on Friday night (10 pm ET, NCBSN/TSN) when the Emerald City side host the Vancouver Whitecaps.

A Whitecaps victory would push Portland's other Cascadia Cup rival a point ahead of the Timbers for the fifth and final playoff place in the Western Conference.

To help ease the pain — and perhaps the judgment of fellow Timbers fans — Timbers owner Merritt Paulson has encouraged and given everyone in the Rose City a free pass to root for the Sounders on Friday night.