For the first time this season, it’s Cascadia week.
Sounders FC, the reigning Cascadia Cup champion, heads to Vancouver this weekend in the first of six games against their Pacific Northwest rivals: the Whitecaps and Portland Timbers. That’s right, six.
As many of you know, the league’s shift to an unbalanced schedule this season means there are two more rivalry games compared to last year. Seattle plays on the road at each rival twice and hosts each just once in 2012. That is set to switch in 2013.
With the pair of extra games, I asked a few Sounders today if they feel it dilutes the rivalries.
“No, absolutely not,” said Roger Levesque, who’s been a Sounder for almost a decade dating to the United Soccer Leagues. “I would say the more times we play, it’s just going to fuel the fire. In the current state in MLS we’ve only had a few games with Portland and a few games with Vancouver, so it’s something that’s building and just continue to grow.”
“No,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “I think those games are always going to be good rivalry games. (The players) know the proximity and the relationships of the cities, and know that our fans and their fans are competitive in nature. We’re looking forward to this game.”
Off the field, it might not be that simple. Keith Hodo, co-president of the Emerald City Supporters, feels there hasn’t been the same buzz for this weekend’s trip to Vancouver as there was last year.
The extra matches, he said, tend to make each match less special.
The fact that the ECS agreed to have all the rivalry games count to the 2012 Cascadia Cup — despite the unbalanced schedule — should help to make sure each game means something.
What do you think?
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