VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Seattle Sounders lifted their first Cascadia Cup since 2011 following a hard fought 3-0 win at the league-leading Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday afternoon.
A first-half goal from Andrea Ivanschitz set the visitors on their way before Gonzalo Pineda and Obafemi Martins took advantage of the Whitecaps pushing forward to secure a vital victory that gave a big boost to the Sounders' playoff hopes and delivered a blow to the 'Caps Supporters' Shield chase in the process.
The win moves Seattle (14-13-3; 45 points) back up to fourth place in the West and they now sit three points behind Vancouver (15-11-3; 48 points). The Whitecaps still have a game in hand on their Cascadian rivals and remain top of the standings.
Both teams pushed forward in the opening exchanges and it was Vancouver's David Ousted who was the first 'keeper called into action, making a one-handed save to tip a Brad Evans header over the bar five minutes in.
Octavio Rivero was looking lively for Vancouver and the Uruguayan came close first with a header, and then with a low curling shot. Cristian Techera played Rivero through on another play in the 19th minute, but Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei was out quickly to prevent the shot.
Both teams battled for possession without creating any chances but Techera brought the home fans to their feet three minutes before halftime, superbly controlling a long Pa Modou Kah pass, leaving Oneil Fisher in his wake, before running in on goal and forcing Frei into a strong save.
The action wasn't over and Seattle grabbed the opener on the stroke of half time.
Martins chipped the ball into the box, over the head of Jordan Smith and into the path of Ivanschitz, who drilled home past Ousted.
Vancouver came out strongly to kick off the second half and had a couple of penalty claims waved away as they piled on the pressure and peppered shots on the Seattle goal.
The breakthrough didn't come and the pace became fast and furious at both ends as the Whitecaps pushed forward and left space at the back.
Seattle capitalized fully in the 71st minute when Pineda crashed in a shot off the left post to make it 2-0.
Things threatened to boil over in the latter stages, with some crunching tackles flying in, before a stretched Vancouver defense conceded a third three minutes from time when an open Martins poked home a cutback from Clint Dempsey to seal the win and the Cascadia Cup.
The two sides will battle it out again midweek when Vancouver head south to take on Seattle in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday. Both sides know they can advance to the quarterfinals with a win.