When the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders face off this Sunday (4pm PT, FOX Sports 1), both teams will be playing on what is considered short rest. Seattle played at Philadelphia Wednesday while the Timbers were in Southern California playing the LA Galaxy. But the three full days off between matches is nothing compared to what the clubs had to deal with on August 9 of 2003.
Coming into their Monday night clash at the then-PGE Park, both teams were coming off no rest, having played the night before. The Sounders comfortably defeated the Indiana Blast, 4-1 at home and had clinched a playoff spot before taking on the Timbers. Portland, on the other hand, were facing a must-win against Seattle and had drew with the Vancouver Whitecaps in Burnaby, British Columbia the night before in a game that featured overtime. In addition, the club had also hosted Indiana the Friday before, meaning Portland was playing its third match in four nights.
Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders was forced into action early when he denied a Jason Farrell long-range shot in the opening minutes of the match. Saunders, who now plays for New York City FC, was forced to make four saves during the match. Typical of any Cascadia clash, the match featured some hard-nosed tackling with Seattle receiving two yellow cards for rough play in the first 20 minutes of the game.
After a scoreless first half, Jake Sagare provided the Timbers the lead when he manuevered his way through the Seattle defense and beat a helpless Preston Burpo for the goal. It was the second goal in as many nights for the Yakima, Wash. native, who became one of the few professional soccer players to ever score on consecutive days in league matches in different countries.
Minutes after Sagare's goal, current T2 assistant coach Andrew Gregor hit the post for the Sounders but that would be Seattle's best chance for the goal. Even with second half substitutes Herculez Gomez, Roger Levesque, and Chad Brown, Seattle was unable to score as the match finished at 1-0 for the hosts. After the match, defender and currant PTFC General Manager Gavin Wilkinson told the Oregonian that "soccer is played for 90 minutes but they (Sounders) make it personal."
With the victory Portland stayed alive in the race for the postseason, and while the team would ultimately fall short of the playoffs, the victory over Seattle that day still reasonates in the club's history. The match was the last regular season match between the clubs in the pre-Cascadia Cup era. Prior to the 2004 season, supporters from Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver created the three-team competition.