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October 10, 2014 at 9:20 PM

First impressions: Whitecaps 1, Sounders 0

Kekuta Manneh’s goal just before halftime was the lone tally as Vancouver topped Seattle 1-0 at CenturyLink Field on Friday night to clinch the Cascadia Cup for the second consecutive season.

Here are my first impressions:

This is supposed to be the friendlier of Seattle’s two Cascadia rivalries

Compared with the bile that rises whenever the Sounders and Timbers get together – and even when they don’t, if you logged onto Twitter at any point this week – the Seattle-Vancouver rivalry can seem downright polite.

That’s the case off the field, at least.

The Whitecaps needed a win to keep pace with the Timbers in the hunt for the West’s fifth-and-final playoff spot, and the Sounders wanted to keep the pressure on L.A. in the Supporter’s Shield standings.

The high-stakes were evident Friday night — there were more combined fouls (eight) than shots (four) in the opening half hour.

Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso tangled with Vancouver’s Pedro Morales, Marco Pappa and Jordan Harvey battled for the ball on the sideline and Obafemi Martins collided with Russell Teibert in the air without a call.

You could question the quality of the first half, when scoring chances were scarce at either end. But there was no doubting the intensity.

– Kekuta Manneh does it again

The young Vancouver striker doesn’t waste any time.

Not yet 20 years old, he’d already established himself as a Sounders boogeyman by netting a hat trick in Vancouver’s 4-1 win a year ago almost to the day.

Friday night, he showcased a different kind of heroics.

Just a few minutes from halftime, Manneh slumped to the CenturyLink turf holding his side in obvious pain. He shuffled to the sideline for treatment but was waved back onto the field just in time to catch the Sounders with too many men pushed forward.

Morales sprung the counterattack with a well-placed through ball and Mannah dribbled past Chad Marshall before finishing coolly past Frei to put the Whitecaps in front 1-0.

Manneh barely even celebrated, clutching his lower back and limping behind the goal. The halftime whistle sounded and he went back down onto the turf before being helped to the locker room by a pair of staffers.

He played just 45 minutes before being substituted out but made them count.

– The Cascadia Cup drought continues

Drought might be harsh, given the Sounders brought the Cascadia Cup to Seattle just three seasons ago.

But given the Sounders’ consistently high-placed finishes in the MLS standings when compared to their nearest pair of rivals and two Open Cup final appearances in the interim, three years is a long time wait.

Vancouver bunkered down to protect its lead for the bulk of the second half but still looked nearly as threatening on the counter than Seattle did going forward.

The Sounders controlled the ball and did create a few chances down the stretch, from Clint Dempsey’s free kick that glanced off the top of the Vancouver wall to a Brad Evans header that was cleared off the line in stoppage time.

The Whitecaps survived. And even so, Seattle can still win the treble of the U.S. Open Cup, Supporter’s Shield and MLS Cup this season.

But the Cascadia Cup is staying in Vancouver.

| More in First impressions, MLS, Sounders FC

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