PORTLAND, Ore. — A lot of things were coming to a head for the Seattle Sounders ahead of their Cascadia Cup clash with the Portland Timbers, so after grinding out a 2-1 result on Friday Night at Providence Park, the victory was the perfect storm for Brian Schmetzer and his squad.
“This win was good for a lot of different reasons,” said the Sounders coach after the match. “Cascadia Cup, my sanity, coaches sanity, players sanity, fans sanity. This was a big performance, a gutty performance, and that’s the Seattle Sounders.”
Aside from extracting revenge on the Timbers after dropping U.S. Open Cup and league matches at home this season, it was winner take all match for the Cascadia Cup at Providence Park, the importance of which was not lost on the Sounders. They successfully defended the regional trophy for the first time since the three Pacific Northwest clubs were fighting for the cup in their USL days.
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“It’s important for the fans, and I am a fan,” said Schmetzer. “The rivalry between the three clubs is a big one, and its something that we take seriously and the fans take it seriously.”
And with a true team effort to get the win and keep the cup, the men in Rave Green made sure the whole team got a piece of the action.
“We told the coaches to come over and brought our whole supporting staff over,” said Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “They’re all in this with us and they put in a ton of effort to make this team tick, we appreciate everything they do so we wanted to make sure they were involved.”
The loss to Portland last month at Century Link Field has been seen by many as the tipping point for Seattle’s struggles through the month of August, but on the heels of an unlikely draw against the LA Galaxy in which the team played down a man most of the match, a road win against their bitter rivals may be just what the club needs to spring a strong finish as the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs draw near.
“When you’re in a hole, you somehow need to get a meaningful result and hopefully that sparks a bit of confidence,” said Frei. "The confidence comes after the result, and we just have to keep going and believing and staying together as a team. We’re the only ones who can dig ourselves out of that hole.”
And while it was a nice win for the Sounders, coach Schmetzer isn’t quite ready to place it on the pedestal the fans might.
“We still have a few games we have to win before I call it a signature win, but it sure does feel good right now.”