Vancouver played their first game of the Cascadia Summit yesterday and a first half goal apiece saw the spoils shared.
Portland were coming off an impressive 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders the night before but if they had any tiredness in their squad it didn’t show, as Ryan Pore fired them into the lead after just 5 minutes. He’s not likely to get an easier chance all season, tapping in a rebound which first came off the post and then Jay Nolly’s back.
Unshaken by this early setback, Vancouver soon came back into the game and were creating chances, but our clear lack of a deadly striker was evident. Atiba Harris squaffed a couple of efforts before cracking one of the post, but we can’t wait for Eric Hassli to arrive. He may not be the answer to all our problems but it’s a start.
Long Tan was looking lively as was Wes Knight. Blake Wagner was getting some space out wide and it was him who made the Caps equaliser on 36 minutes.
Whipping in a cross-come-shot from the left touchline, Adin Brown was forced into a fine save in the Timbers goal only to see the ball rebound off Portland defender David Horst into the net.
1-1 at the interval and the second half was pretty much a non event.
Both sides huffed and puffed but without really creating anything much and Joe Cannon was forced into a great save late on from Rodrigo Lopez to keep the scores level.
For Caps fans, the game gave us the chance to chant “Shoot Joe Cannon Out Of A Cannon” as he bobbed his head along on the bench and stretch our vocal chords for the long season ahead.
On the pitch, it also gave us the first chance to see Omar Salgado in action up close. He’s certainly a bigger build than what I was expecting for someone that age, but he also seems to, how can we be diplomatic about this, go down a little too easily.
Someone who impressed me more though was Brazilian trialist Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo. Nice turn of pace and hopefully we can see him get a full run out against the Sounders.
The final whistle brought proceedings to a close and 1-1 was a pretty fair result.
It was a game full of fierce challenges, great for the fans to see in such matches. Caps coach Teitur Thordarson said after the match that “There is always a special edge to these derby matches, and I felt today’s game was very competitive”. He wasn’t wrong! 35 fouls and 5 cautions. It could have been a lot more as there were some heavy challenges floating about out there.
The winner of the Summit is still up for grabs and all eyes will be on the Vancouver-Seattle game later today to see who will get the early bragging rights this season.
All of that is somewhat of a side story though to proceedings. The bigger story was off the pitch.
A lot has been made of the Cascadia rivalry and fears that the hostilities will spill over into the stands and outside the stadium. Total bollocks for us in Vancouver. Seattle and Portland, yes, I’ll admit I could see some hotheads and the odd flare up, but basically one nutter can do that in any crowd.
What was great to see yesterday was the Southsiders and Timbers Army fans mingling together for the whole second half in the beer garden.
No fighting. No hassle. No security issues. Just lots of friendly banter, exchanges of chants and sharing songs about Kasey Keller and our mutual hatred for Seattle.
Also an amazing number of hot Timbers girls. What is it about Portland? They’re definitely leading in the newly created AFTN MLS hot-o-meter stakes (we got that idea from watching that Whitecaps video).
It was great fun. Just as well as the second half of football wasn’t up to much!
Hopefully the front offices take note that we can be civilised and we’re not going to kick each other’s heads in. Don Garber in particular should be looking on and paying attention. I still want to see some real hatred inside the grounds during the games that matter, but this was great for pre-season.
Surely that’s what this Cascadia Summit is really all about.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 1 Portland Timbers
VANCOUVER: Jay Nolly (Joe Cannon 63), Jonathan Leathers, Jay DeMerit, Greg Janicki, Alain Rochat (Gershon Koffie 90), Wes Knight, John Thorrington (Alexander Morfaw 84), Terry Dunfield (Kevin Harmse 77), Blake Wagner (Russell Tiebert 63), Atiba Harris (Camilo Sanvezzo 77), Long Tan (Omar Salgado 84)