Special Olympics Cascadia Challenge Series
(Steel Brooks/Portland Timbers)

Special Olympics Oregon Timbers win Cascadia rematch

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers played host to the second leg of the inaugural Special Olympics Cascadia Challenge Series at JELD-WEN Field Saturday.

The event, which took place as part of the Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC rivalry weekend, featured a match between the Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) Timbers and Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) Sounders.

Despite winning Saturday’s match 4-3, the SOOR Timbers saw their opponents, the SOWA Sounders, take home bragging rights with a 9-6 aggregate win by virtue of their 6-2 first-leg victory in Seattle in May.

The series featured two Special Olympics teams with affiliations to their home-state MLS clubs, with athletes from the Portland metro area partnering with students from Central Catholic High School. The SOWA Sounders team they faced was a unified team from Seattle Public Schools representing the Sounders. Unified Sports teams are comprised of individuals with intellectual disabilities playing alongside teammates without intellectual disabilities.

“Our athletes and unified partners were so honored to have the opportunity to compete in the Timbers uniform at JELD-WEN Field,” said Mark Hanken, Sr. Vice President of Sports for Special Olympics Oregon. “I am proud of the way both teams played and represented their respective programs. Special Olympics Oregon looks forward to growing the partnership with the Portland Timbers while continuing the rivalry with our friends from Washington for many years to come.”

Alumni Ambassadors and former players Scot Thompson, Mick Hoban and Lee Morrison and several Portland Timbers U-23s players helped coach the athletes and partners before their match. Timbers mascot Timber Joey was also on hand to excite the crowd.

“The Timbers and JELD-WEN Field were honored to host the Special Olympics Cascadia Challenge,” said Timbers Chief Operating Officer Mike Golub. “It was a memorable event for everybody involved and we are very proud of our partnership with Special Olympics Oregon.”

The first leg of the series was played at the Sounders FC’s Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash., before the Timbers-Sounders match May 14.

The teams also played a mini-exhibition game before the Timbers-Sounders regular-season match Sunday at JELD-WEN Field.