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After two and a half seasons as a Seattle Sounder, Mike Fucito is now with the Portland Timbers. He talks about learning the Cascadia Cup from two different angles, the importance of the match and former roommate Roger Levesque being awarded the Golden Scarf.
The list of names that have participated in both sides of the Seattle-Portland rivalry is long, unless you limit it to players who played for both sides in the MLS era. Then it winds up with just one man - Mike Fucito. Via phone today Sounder at Heart talked with the speedy forward about the transition from one side of the rivalry to the other.
SaH: When you came to Seattle in 2009 who taught you about the Cascadia Cup and the Portland rivalry?
Fucito: I lived with Roger and so it was primarily him, but it was all of the USL guys really. Since he's one of the more, I don't know, disliked guys in Portland, Roger really helped with that.
SaH: What about in Portland now?
Fucito: It was more a general feeling among the team. Everyone already got it. Since I'd seen it from the other side I kind of had to flip a switch and look at it from a different angle. It was odd that first time preparing to play against Seattle, but here there is an overall feeling here for the rivalry.
SaH: Does this game mean more than most for Portland?
Fucito: The season hasn't gone the way we wanted to and winning the Cascadia Cup is a big deal. It's like Sigi would say "Anytime you can win a trophy, you want to win." This is another step for us. It's a chance to add more hardware. And of course it's a meaningful game beyond that.
SaH: Is the energy building up down in Portland?
Fucito: I don't know that you can appreciate the energy until you are in the city with the match. When we get there, there will certainly be that energy the whole day leading up to it. I know I'm super excited for the fans here that can go to or watch the game. It's also nice that this is on national TV (Sunday, ESPN, 6 p.m.) so more people can see this unique thing in soccer and the rest of the country can see this rivalry.
SaH: You mentioned earlier that you and Roger lived together. What does it mean to have your friend and teammate get the Golden Scarf?
Fucito: He's one of my best friends. He deserves this recognition. He's been a great Sounder for so long. I'm not surprised at all that it's against Portland - it's fitting. I think highly of him and it will be a special night for Roger. It should also add to the overall buzz in the stadium on Sunday.