Sounders FC can take the first all-MLS Cascadia Cup with a win tonight in Vancouver. Not surprisingly, that was a common topic of conversation in the days leading up to the match. Not all of those quotes made it into my stories this week, so here's a roundup:
BOB LENARDUZZI, Whitecaps president (and former Tacoma Star): It doesn’t have the significance probably for the rest of the league as it does in the Northwest and with our supporters. But it does with our supporters. … I think being able to claim something, it’s got to be motivating for us because it’s been a very difficult first year.
SIGI SCHMID, Sounders coach: “Certainly it’s been intense. Obviously when you look at Portland’s game at our place, our game at Portland, Vancouver’s game, it’s been intense. It’s been a good rivalry. There’s been some fantastic moments. [Eric] Hassli’s goal against us was obviously a superior goal. Us coming back and winning at Portland on the road was obviously something that was one of the more exciting games of the year. I think when you have a rivalry like this it should bring out games that you remember for a long time or moments that you remember for a long time—and it already has in a very short history. On if the intensity is different in the Cascadia Cup games) “Yeah, for sure with Portland. I think when you get into the environment of Empire Stadium and it’s their last game there and you hear the crowd and feel the emotion that’ll get it going for our guys. There’s maybe less verbage that’s exchanged between us and Vancouver than there is between us and Portland, so maybe it’s going to take the stadium environment to really put the kicker on it.” ADRIAN HANAUER, Sounders general manager: "I’m not sure the Cascadia Cup is the driving force. But the Cascadia rivalry no doubt is in fine form and certainly is going to continue to grow over time. The fact that a team can win a cup is certainly great. But I think rivalries are built on the markets and the competition. So I think it is fantastic we have a chance to go up there and win some silverware, but mostly we want to collect three points in Vancouver."
BRIAN SCHMETEZER, Sounders assistant and former USL Sounders head coach: "Battling for the Cascadia Cup is probably icing on a cupcake, because we always want to beat Portland and Vancouver – a lot. I mean, it was a rivalry game, so just adding some silver cup or chalice of whatever it is, is icing on the cake.
KASEY KELLER, Sounders goalkeeper: "You don’t get to raise a lot of trophies anytime as a player. … Anytime I've had the opportunity -- whether club stuff in Europe, I had the opportunity to win a few Gold Cups with the national team, obviously the Open Cups -- I'll take one more, no problem. I'll take a few more this year before it's done. It'd just be a lot of fun for our traveling fans to hold that trophy in front of them up in Vancouver."