Soccer MLS

Cascadia Cup Derby Adds Gravitas to MLS

It was another great weekend in the MLS and it was an especially memorable one for the expansion Montreal Impact, who upset Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquake by a score of 3-1.

But what was also splendid to see was the heated rivalry between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Seattle Sounders. Recently, the media was branding this game as a derby, which is just what Don Garber, MLS commissioner, enjoys hearing.

There are big derbies all over Europe and South America, like the Milan Derby, the River Plate-Boca Juniors Derby, the Barcelona-Real Madrid Derby (also called El Clásico) and the Manchester Derby. This more recent territorial rivalry might not have the history or the prestige of these colossal games, but the Cascadia Cup sure does help break down the season with some meaningful matches.

The Cascadia cup arrived to the MLS when Portland and Vancouver joined the league. It was previously won three times by Vancouver and Seattle and twice by Portland when they were in the NASL and the USL. But there were two years that Seattle did not participate because they moved up to the MLS in 2009.

One would have to say the MLS has appreciated this rivalry. Just this past weekend this cup created by soccer fans in the Pacific North-West packed CenturyLink Field with 55, 718 spectators who were there too witness Seattle’s win.

Expectations were high for Seattle at home in front of a big home crowd. But Fredy Montero, the Columbian, came through in the 64th minute. Then Eddie Johnson scored a late one in the 87th to make it 2 for Seattle.

Vancouver did have their chances, though, and did have a very good first half performance utilizing Darren Mattocks’ speed with deep passes behind the defenders, but they failed to capitalize on their chances. They also did put a lot of pressure towards the end of the game when the Sounders were sitting back and putting more men behind the ball.

Having more of these rivalries in the future will help with ratings and attendance, especially if the matches are closely contested. It’s great to see so much emotion shown on the pitch. We really saw that this meant a lot to both teams. Gershon Koffie even took out his frustration on a Seattle player towards the end of the match with a dangerous high boot to the ribs. It looked accidental, and no one wants to see players injured, but it’s nice to watch some physical soccer where the players give it their all.

All in all, it was another great weekend in the MLS, highlighted by this heated fixture filled with emotion.