With the MLS regular season winding down in the next weeks, one thing remains front and center for Northwest soccer fans: the crowning of a Cascadia Cup champion. Only two Cascadia Cup matches remain in the season, both of which see the Timbers playing away from JELD-WEN Field.
Before we figure out what the Timbers need to do, let's look back at the recent results to see how we got here.
On Sept. 15, Portland hosted Seattle Sounders under perfect late summer conditions in a loud JELD-WEN Field. Portland could have walked away with the Cup if the final score had left them with the win. As it turned out, in the 57th minute, Seattle Sounders FC forward Freddie Montero delivered a wonder strike causing Portland fans everywhere to bite their nails to nubs. In the end, Portland midfielder Rodney Wallace came to the rescue with a header that ping ponged into the back of the net in the 78th minute via a Jack Jewsbury corner kick. The draw kept Portland atop the Cascadia Cup standings.
Whitecaps FC and Sounders FC met for their final Cascadia Cup match between the two clubs on Sept. 29 though neither team could find the game winner as the final whistle blew for a 0-0 draw. While both teams picked up a point in the Cascadia Cup race moving the Sounders within two points of Portland, the Timbers have a game in hand and head north this weekend still in the driver’s seat.
So what will it take for the Cup to arrive in the Rose City come Sunday evening?
With over 60,000 fans expected at CenturyLink Field on Sunday in Seattle, the Timbers need either a win or a draw. Should the Timbers lose on Sunday, Seattle will jump ahead of Portland with nine points in the Cascadia Cup table. However, the Sounders would be done as it would be their final Cascadia Cup match of 2012 while Portland would have one more chance.
Portland would have to focus their attention on the Whitecaps at BC Place on Oct. 21. In that scenario, Portland could win the Cup with a victory in Canada. A draw could also do it though it would open the door to a series of tiebreakers (see below).
In the end it comes down to Portland looking to finish the quest in Seattle. Should the Timbers put up their first road win of 2012 or gut out a draw, the Cup will be theirs and the Timbers Army will rejoice. If Portland loses on Sunday, all is not lost, but the road and math gets a bit trickier. What will happen? Tune in at 6pm on Sunday to ESPN to find out.
- All 9 regular season MLS matches between the three clubs will be included.
- 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw.
- Team with the MOST POINTS after all matches is the winner.