The Cascadia Cup came to the Rose City on Saturday as the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps fought it out for Northwest soccer bragging rights. Timbers supporters made up the vast majority of the sold-out crowd gathered at Jeld-Wen Field, but Whitecaps fans represented themselves exceptionally well, occupying two full sections of the stadium.
The Cascadia Cup came to the Rose City on Saturday as the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps fought it out for Northwest soccer bragging rights. Timbers supporters made up the vast majority of the sold-out crowd gathered at Jeld-Wen Field, but Whitecaps fans represented themselves exceptionally well, occupying two full sections of the stadium. The match was a back-and-forth struggle for momentum in the first half as the teams went into their respective locker rooms without a goal to show for their efforts. The Timbers came out firing in the second half, finding the net just four minutes after the intermission, but Vancouver came back with a goal in the 69th minute that went unanswered for a 1-1 draw.
Portland midfielder Diego Chara, who is currently one yellow card away from a suspension, was out of the lineup for Portland. Defender Jack Jewsbury moved into the midfield to take his place, which gave newly acquired Alvas Powell a chance to start on the backline. It was the MLS debut for Powell, a 19-year-old Jamaican standout who is playing for the Timbers on loan from Portmore United.
The Timbers put Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted on notice early in the match, sending a shot on goal in the first minute. The intensity of the competition was evident from the start, but referee Silviu Petrescu was quick to let the two squads know that he intended to call the match tightly, stopping play in the opening minutes to give the Whitecaps’ Brad Rusin a one-on-one talk and then issuing a yellow card to Powell shortly after.
At the 15-minute mark, a collision between Rusin and the Timbers’ Diego Valeri resulted in Rusin getting carried off the field on a stretcher. Rusin was issued a yellow card after the play, though the crowd was vocal in insisting that a red card should have been handed down instead. Petrescu doled out four yellow cards in the first half alone.
Ryan Johnson, who was brought into the game in the 40th minute when Frederic Piquionne went down with an injury, came through with the first goal of the game at the start of the second half. Johnson and Valeri found themselves in relatively light coverage in the 49th minute, and Valeri hit a cross over to Johnson, who struck a header that Ousted dove for just a bit too late as celebratory green smoke rose up in the stadium. The assist was Valeri’s eighth of the season, tying him for second in the league.
Portland appeared to have seized the momentum, but the Timbers Army was silenced in the 69th minute when Whitecaps forward Camilo Sanvezzo booted a corner kick into the pack that Jordan Harvey finished off with a header. Timbers team captain and MLS All-Star Will Johnson was frustrated with the play that led to the game-tying score. “When we’re giving away amateur goals on set pieces, we’re making it hard on ourselves,” Johnson said.
Portland nearly took the lead back in the 76th minute when the ball bounced around the Whitecaps’ box and Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah volleyed it into the net, but Kah was flagged for being offside, the goal was negated and time expired at Jeld-Wen Field with the score tied at one-all. While Vancouver had reason to celebrate a hard-fought draw, the home team left the stadium feeling as though they had failed to live up to the high standards they set this season. “Well, obviously we’re disappointed in the draw,” head coach Caleb Porter said. “We expect to win every game we play.”
The Timbers are currently tied with the Colorado Rapids for second place in the Western Conference standings. Portland now moves on to a road matchup with Real Salt Lake in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup tonight at 6:30 p.m.