If you're relatively new to the Seattle Sounders-Portland Timbers rivalry, you could be excused for thinking that tonight's game is the first time they've played each other in the U.S. Open Cup. And, it's true, since both teams were in MLS, they've failed to meet.
Two years ago, they were on a collision course until Cal FC knocked the Timbers out of the tournament. Last year, they were scheduled to meet again, but the Sounders couldn't get past the Tampa Bay Rowdies. But we finally have the matchup we've been waiting for and it will mark the first time since 2007 that it is being played at Starfire.
Here's how the previous meetings went (not including matches that doubled as USL regular-season matches and Open Cup qualifiers):
June 30, 2010 at PGE Park: Sounders win 1-1 (4-3). Nate Jaqua put the Sounders ahead with an early goal, but Bright Dike was able to equalize before the end of the first half. It stayed tied until penalties where Kasey Keller made a pair of saves and Zach Scott converted the winning spot kick. The Sounders would go on to win their second of three straight Open Cup crowns.
July 1, 2009 at PGE Park: Sounders win 2-1. This was the famous 48-seconds game, when Roger Levesque finished a Sanna Nyassi cross inside the first minute. The Sounders would add another first-half goal, but actually needed to hold on for much of the second half. Is it a little unbecoming for us to celebrate a win over a lower-division opponent? Sure. But isn't that what makes rivalries fun? Bonus question: Do you remember who scored the game-winner?
June 26, 2007 at Starfire Soccer Stadium: Sounders win 2-1. The Timbers grabbed an early lead on Justin Thompson's 19th minute strike, marking one of the few times the Sounders have ever trailed an Open Cup match at Starfire. But the Sounders equalized after Cameron Knowles was red-carded for elbowing Roger Levesque on a long throw-in into the box. Former Timber Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar converted the subsequent penalty to equalize. The Sounders finally took the lead when Jake Besagno scored the eventual winner in the 70th minute. Josh Wicks, whose name may ring a bell as the the goalkeeper who stomped Fredy Montero in the 2009 Open Cup final, was in goal for the Timbers.
July 12, 2005 at PGE Park: Timbers win 2-0. The only time the Timbers have beaten the Sounders in the formal stages of the Open Cup (the Timbers had knocked out the Sounders in league games that doubled as qualifying rounds each of the previous two years). Alcaraz-Cuellar, yes the same one who played for the Sounders, and Dan Antoniuk each scored goals to pace the Timbers.
NOTE: A huge assist goes to Seattle Pitch for providing the archives that made this story possible. Although it hasn't been updated since midway through 2013, it is a great resource for finding virtually anything you'd want to know about the Sounders during their A-League and USL eras, as well as the first four seasons of MLS.