Seattle Sounders FC (14W-13L-3D) spoiled Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s (15W-11L-3D) bid for a Cascadia Cup threepeat with a 3-0 win on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at BC Place.
Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins led the way for Seattle, combining for a goal and three assists between them. Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei also came up big, making eight saves.
The ‘Caps, who still sit atop the MLS table after an LA Galaxy loss to Real Salt Lake, outshot Seattle 15-7 but simply could not convert their chances. Seattle, meanwhile, proved clinical on the counter to claim their fourth Cascadia Cup by virtue of a 4W-2L-1D record against Vancouver and Portland this season.
Whitecaps FC, who remain the most successful club in Cascadia Cup history with five titles, finished second in the running this year with a 2W-2L-2D record.
From the outset, you could sense the magnitude of this one.
It was a cagey first half with little space either way. Seattle controlled the majority of possession, but Vancouver still managed to create the better chances early.
Striker Octavio Rivero came close twice within the opening 20 minutes. First, he picked up the ball at the top of the box and curled a strike just wide. Then, Rivero got in behind thanks to a brilliant throughball from Cristian Techera but couldn’t beat a sprawling Frei. The Sounders FC goalkeeper came up big again in the 42nd minute, this time denying Techera from close range.
The visitors took the lead shortly later against the run of play.
Just before halftime, Martins found Andreas Ivanschitz at the back post with a perfect diagonal ball and the Austrian finished to put Seattle ahead.
Desperate for an equalizer, the ‘Caps came out flying in the second half.
Carl Robinson’s side created several chances and had a few appeals for a handball before Seattle delivered the dagger in the 71st minute through a sublime strike from Gonzalo Pineda.
Tensions nearly boiled over shortly later, as the two teams came together in midfield after Kendall Waston won a hard tackle on Dempsey, but cooler heads prevailed.
Dempsey would have the last laugh on this night. In the 87th minute, he caught the ‘Caps on the counter and set up Martins for an open net to seal the victory.
Although this was the final regular season meeting between Vancouver and Seattle, the two teams will meet again on Wednesday in CONCACAF Champions League action. The winner will finish atop Group F and advance to the quarter-finals – a draw would also keep Vancouver alive heading into their final group stage match at C.D. Olimpia.
Meanwhile, the ‘Caps return to BC Place a week from today to host star-studded expansion club New York City FC for the first time.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Jordan Harvey
Referee: Baldomero Toledo