Vancouver, BC – The Cascadia Cup takes center stage on Saturday at Empire Field as Seattle Sounders FC aims to claim the trophy with a win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Seattle is currently tied with Real Salt Lake for second place in the Western Conference, but according to Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller, the chance to lift a trophy is something that never gets old.
"You don't get to raise a lot of trophies any time as a player," Keller said. "Every time I've had the opportunity, be it club stuff in Europe, a few Gold Cups with the national team, the Open Cups - I'll take one more, no problem. I'll take a few more this year, before it's done. It would be a lot of fun for our traveling fans to hold that trophy in front of them up there in Vancouver."
Seattle will also have the chance to lift the U.S. Open Cup in October, while after winning three of its last four league games, the club appears to be in a good position to grab a spot in the playoffs.
Vancouver has not had anything close to the kind of success Seattle has enjoyed this season, but the Whitecaps season would finish on a high note if they could claim the trophy themselves.
The Portland Timbers are the third team involved in the Cascadia Cup, and like Seattle, the Timbers are fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
"It's important for the supporters and for us," Vancouver attacker Davide Chiumiento told MLSsoccer.com when speaking about the Cascadia Cup. "Seattle, Portland and Vancouver because of the rivalry - we look forward because they've had a better season than we've had result wise, so the [Cascadia Cup] is something we can really try to win and try to finish well."
The Whitecaps have lost three of their last five games, including a 3-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy last time out, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference table.
But the club still controls its destiny in terms of the Cascadia Cup with wins over Seattle and Portland in the next two games.
Saturday's match will be the final one at Empire Field before Vancouver moves into its new home, BC Place Stadium, on October 2 against Portland.
"As we move on to the end of the season, we need to look at this Cascadia Cup as the last goal of the season," captain Jay DeMerit said. "We've fallen short on some of our main goals this season, so to look to this as an inspiration to finish the season in the right way is what we'll look to do."