PORTLAND, Ore. – For the first time since 2012 and for the fourth time in their history, the Portland Timbers are Cascadia Cup winners. Following a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC Sunday at Providence Park, Portland found themselves atop the Cascadia Cup standings—a trophy created by the supporters of Portland, Vancouver and Seattle Sounders FC.
And in a nice twist, the Timbers’ game-winning goal came from a former Whitecaps FC player: forward Darren Mattocks.
“It’s massive,” he said of the victory following the match. “I think the fans take it personally. It’s bragging rights for the fans and we want to give our fans their bragging rights. It’s massive for us to know that in 2017, we were no. 1 over all our rivals.”
Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell, who scored the team’s first goal and hoisted the cup in front of the Timbers Army before handing it over to the Portland supporters, acknowledged the importance of the win.
“It’s obviously a big deal…holding that cup in front of them means a lot,” he said. “It was something special in the end.”
The win was also important in that it vaulted Portland to the top of the Western Conference at the close of the 2017 regular season. Seeing as how the team opened 2017 atop the conference following their March 3 win over Minnesota United FC, the accomplishment, and accompanying bye into the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals was one that the team relished.
“I would say this is good, winning the Western Conference, winning Cascadia,” said Mattocks. “Sometimes, you’ve got to take a step back and recognize what you’ve been doing. I think over 34 games, winning the West and winning Cascadia, we’ve been doing something right. We’ve just got to keep that going.”
Now the team will wait and watch the midweek Knockout Round matches with Portland then traveling to play the lower-seeded team that advances in the first leg of a home-and-home series. While there’ll be a bit of a waiting game, Mattocks is confident that the team will be ready.
“We don’t know yet when we’re going to play or where we’re going to play, but we’re not really worried about that,” he said. “All our focus is on us and we’re going to be ready for whomever and whenever.”