When the Portland Timbers travel north this Saturday to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7pm PT, FOX 12 PLUS), it will mark not only the first game of the 2022 edition of the Cascadia Cup rivalry competition but also the 100th all-time meeting between the two teams across all competitions.
We take a look back at five memorable and unique Timbers moments from the rivalry in the MLS era.
2012 Jack Jewsbury Thunderbolt
In a challenging 2012 season that, by this point in late October, saw Portland missing out on the MLS Cup Playoffs, a rivalry match with the Whitecaps with real stakes provided cause for excitement. With a win, Portland could capture the Cascadia Cup while Vancouver needed a result to stay in the playoff race.
With both teams scoreless and Portland on the attack in the first half, midfielder Franck Songo’o pushed a pass towards Jack Jewsbury approximately 30 yards away from the Vancouver goal. The Timbers captain ran onto the bouncing ball and, rather than settle it, smashed a volley into the upper 90 of the Whitecaps net. The goal was as surprising in the moment as it was audacious.
Following the goal, Portland defensively locked down the game, allowing only one shot on goal the rest of the way in a 1-0 victory that saw the team lift the Cascadia Cup for the first time in their MLS era.
2014 Diego Valeri Moment of Brilliance
All of the 2014 Portland-Vancouver matchups included a flurry of goals. Portland lost the first meeting 4-3 at Providence Park and then won the next two games against the Whitecaps – one on the road and one back at home – with both being 3-0 affairs.
It was in that second 3-0 result that brought about a signature Diego Valeri moment.
Midway through the first half, defender Jorge Villafaña pushed forward down the left sideline before lofting a ball towards the penalty spot. Valeri, open and with space, perfectly timed his full volley to hammer it into the Vancouver net.
Forward Fanendo Adi would score a second half brace with goals only three minutes apart to ice game.
2015 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals
The two Pacific Northwest rivals met in the playoffs for first time in 2015 in a two-legged affair.
In the first match at Providence Park, Portland was coming off short rest having defeated Sporting Kansas City midweek in the Knockout Round in the infamous Double-Post PK shootout. With the Whitecaps in town for leg one, starting goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey was a late scratch due to illness and Jake Gleeson stepped between the pipes to pitch a shutout in a 0-0 draw.
With Portland holding serve and heading to BC Place, all the Timbers would need is one goal to hold the road goal tie-breaking advantage to put the burden on the ‘Caps. In the end, they got two.
In the 31st minute, Valeri received a throw deep in Vancouver territory, dribbled to the endline before cutting a ball back to Adi to fire into the top netting for the first goal. Late in second-half stoppage time, Diego Chara, in typical fashion, harried a Whitecaps attacker, stole the ball, and burst forward alongside Adi on a counter ultimately scoring the team’s second on a given-and-go with his teammate.
Portland would go on to advance through the playoffs and earn their first-ever MLS Cup defeating Columbus Crew SC in the final a month later.
2017 A Youthful Victory in BC
With a flurry of injuries hitting the team midseason in 2017, Portland was forced to turn to youth as they headed to Canada. The team made an extreme hardship, emergency short-term signing of two 18-year old players – Harold Hanson and Augustine Williams – from their USL affiliate team, Timbers 2, and placed then 20-year old rookie forward Jeremy Ebobisse into the starting XI for the first time in his MLS career.
Ebobisse went on to score a goal and an assist becoming the third youngest Timbers player to tally in an MLS match. Meanwhile, Hanson came on late in defensive support to see out a 2-1 victory for the visitors and become the youngest Timbers player to play in an MLS match at 18-years-and-seven-days.
Portland would go on that season to win their second Cascadia Cup in the MLS era with another 2-1 victory over Vancouver on MLS Decision Day back in Portland.
2020 A Win on the Road…At Home
In 2017, in one of the more unique meetings of the two teams, Portland found themselves taking on Vancouver at Providence Park though technically listed as the road team.
Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions in place between the U.S. and Canada that prevented Canadian teams from going back and forth over the border, Vancouver found themselves playing the abbreviated MLS 2020 regular season with Providence Park serving as a U.S.-based “home” stadium.
On Sept. 27 of that year, Portland “traveled” to face Vancouver by simply walking out of their own home locker room. Though fans were not allowed in the stadium due to coronavirus precautions, the Timbers – who won the MLS is Back Tournament a month earlier – came out 1-0 winners that day against Vancouver courtesy of a well-placed Eryk Williamson free kick to the head of Felipe Mora for the “visiting” side’s lone goal.