For those people outside the Pacific Northwest region, let me explain something we call the Cascadia Cup up here. It’s a competition set up by the fans of the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, and Vancouver Whitecaps. It’s something that the fans here, already passionate beyond the rest of the MLS, feel incredibly strongly about and is not taken lightly at all.
With that in mind, Portland traveled north along I-5 to visit the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, October 7, with a lead in the Cup competition. A draw or win against the Sounders would capture the Cup for the Timbers, something the ECS (Emerald City Supporters) were loath to give to the Timber Army on the Sounders' home field. Standing in Portland’s way was a five-game winless streak and a Seattle team already in the playoffs.
Greeting the ESPN Match of the Week TV audience was a huge 66,452 crowd, a record for the Sounders and the second-most for a regular season game in MLS history. It was electric before the match, as the ECS did their now legendary march to the match, parading the Cup in front of the teeming masses.
Inside the grounds, the home fans were loud and proud, singing, clapping, and cheering in unison in an atmosphere reminiscent of the best of world soccer.
It didn't take long for the action to start either as both teams were inspired by the crowd and ran themselves like there was no tomorrow. Portland got the first shot attempt as Rodney Wallace missed with a header in the 17th minute.
Seattle opened the scoring in the 25th minute though, cashing in on an own goal by Mamadou Danso, who put the ball past his keeper, Donovan Ricketts, a second before Fredy Montero could. The goal came from some beautiful teamwork by the Sounders as Osvaldo Alonso put the ball through to Christian Tiffert, who dummied while letting the ball carry on to Adam Johansson. Johansson put in a great cross to Montero when Danso intervened.
That goal seemed to put Portland on the back foot as Seattle put the pressure on even more. It was only three minutes later that Eddie Johnson made it 2-0 for the Sounders as he came through unmarked, took a great pass from Brad Evans, and easily scored his 14th goal of the season.