A wonder strike from Fredy Montero for the Seattle Sounders and a heavily deflected goal from Rodney Wallace of the Portland Timbers were the only goals in what was a high tempo affair in front of an electric 20,438 sell-out crowd at JELD-WEN Field. Portland were perhaps the better side throughout, having more possession of the ball (56%) and creating more chances, however, the 1-1 draw means that the Cascadia Cup is going to be decided between the two in Seattle next month but the question has to be asked, is the trophy something that’s really worth shouting about?
The Cascadia Cup is a trophy created in 2004 by the fans of the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Each team plays the other two teams three times each throughout the MLS campaign and whoever comes out with the best record in the season series wins. The team who wins gets to take the trophy home and the bragging rights which goes along with being the best team in the Pacific Northwest.
The match was televised on NBC, the first time an MLS match has been on network television in the USA for 4 years. This of course provides the MLS with the exposure that it needs yet putting a match between the team in second place against the team in rock bottom of the western conference with no chance of reaching the play-offs is certainly an odd one. Even though there were games such as Montreal Impact v Chicago Fire taking place later on in the day for those crucial play-off spots, the only possible reason it being on because it was a potential decider for the cup. Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson even admitted before the match that getting the points for the league was more important than winning the cup and rightly so, apart from bragging rights there is not really much else to it.
If the MLS is going to be able to develop fully then the league need to be careful with which games they prioritise as being their marquee ones. The match was certainly an interesting one but putting on a game (treated more as a cup match) which was only really of any relative importance to the clubs in the Pacific Northwest on national television is probably not the best move. A game of national importance is more important than a regional one.
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