Portland Timbers came out victorious in their quest for their third Cascadia Cup in their history on Sunday evening, an away tie to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC place was all that stood in their way. In an evenly matched battle, a 25-yard screamer into the top right-hand corner by Jack Jewsbury in the 39th minute proved to be the decisive factor. Remarkably, it was the first away win of the season for Portland and it couldn’t have come at a better time, it was also their last away tie of the entire season.
It has been a tough old slog for the loyal Timbers Army, who perhaps have the noisiest fans in the MLS, as they have had to bare witness to a record of 8-16-9 this season, placing Portland in 9th, one place above Chivas USA in the Western Conference, being part of the play-off contention never looked close with a switch-around of managers making seemingly little difference. GM Gavin Wilkinson took the helm after the sacking of the popular John Spencer mid way through the season as caretaker and it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the players as the poor run of results kept on coming. It has been nothing short of a disappointing campaign for all those involved with the Portland Timbers.
So why does winning the Cascadia Cup make any difference? The word hope comes to mind. As stated in one of my previous articles, winning the Cascadia Cup doesn’t bring anything other than bragging rights for whoever wins it. Yet for Portland Timbers this trophy means more to them than any of its North-West Pacific rivals. It proves to the players, the staff and most importantly the fans that their team can compete amongst the best in the MLS, winning the trophy over the Seattle Sounders is by no means no small feat. The impending arrival of former USMNT Olympic coach and head coach of the highly regarded college team the Akron Zips, Caleb Porter could prove to be an inspired piece of business for the organisation. A record of 106-17-14, An NCAA championship in 2010 and developing the likes of Darren Mattocks, Steve Zakuani and Portland’s very own Darlington Nagbe has shown that although he has little experience of managing at a professional level, he still has credentials to prove that he can be a success.
With a young coach with plenty of ambition and an attractive playing style, a group of talented players such as Darlington Nagbe, Bright Dike, Franck Songo’o etc. and one of the best crowds in the entire MLS. You can’t help but feel that starting from 2013, Portland could see themselves with more than 3 Cascadia Cups to their name.
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This article was first posted on October 23, 2012