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The Supporters Cup: Where a rivalry meets the rec field

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Cascadia supporters take the pitch in the name of their city, their professional club, and their fellow supporters.

The ECS and Timbers Army football clubs met for the eighth year
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Since 2010, the respective competitive football clubs of the Emerald City Supporters and Timbers Army have met on the day before a match between the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers to challenge each other in a series of competitive football matches. What started off as a single match in 2010 has grown into a full four-match (Over-40’s, Men’s II, Women’s, and Men’s I) series, expanding the opportunities for more supporters to become involved with playing their sport of choice while competing against their top rivals.

This series has served as an opportunity for members of the two respective supporter groups to take to the pitch in the name of their city, the professional club they support, and their fellow supporters. The hosting duties have alternated between the two clubs, and this year’s matches were held at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. In addition, Barra Fuerza Verde (in collaboration with the Latino Community Fund and the Rave Foundation) hosted "La Copita," a youth tournament featuring eight local youth teams who focus on under-served parts of the community. A Unified Special Olympics game, hosted by Special Olympics Washington, Special Olympics Oregon, the Seattle Sounders, and the Portland Timbers rounded out the day.

La Copita Champions - Kent United
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Men's O-40

Old Growth FC of the Timbers Army FC rode an Adam Knolton brace to victory in the Over 40 Supporters Cup match
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

The Timbers Army FC was represented by Old Growth FC while the Emerald City Supporters were represented by ECS FC Rockets. This was the second year for the O-40 game, with last year's match ending in a 0-0 draw. The first half was scoreless with most possession occurring in the midfield. ECS FC Rockets had the majority of the chances with two clear shots by forward Michael Smith and several crosses into the box, which were largely snuffed out by Old Growth goalkeeper James Merrill. In the second half, Old Growth began having success with the counter, culminating in a goal by Adam Knolton. As the half wore on, Old Growth held more possession, and a loose ball in the ECS FC Rockets box was headed by Jamey Billig toward the net. An ECS FC Rockets defender deflected it and the ball went in for an own goal. ECS FC Rockets made one final push up the field to try to bring the game within reach, but Adam Knolton caught them on the counter again, heading a long ball over the keeper's head and icing the game in favor of Old Growth FC.

The series currently stands at one victory for Timbers Army FC and one draw.

Final Score: Old Growth FC 3, ECS FC Rockets 0

Goals: Adam Knolton (2) and an own goal (forced by Jamey Billig)

Men's II

ECS FC steamrolled TAFC on their way to a dominant 6-0 win
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Both the Timbers Army FC The Emerald City Supporters FC were represented by players from multiple club teams. The ECS FC started out strong, keeping possession firmly in the TAFC area and applying early pressure and forcing several saves by TAFC goalkeeper Fernando Lopez. Less than ten minutes into the match, Adam Chromy headed in a Brian O'Keefe corner kick to put ECS FC up 1-0. ECS FC continued with their attack, getting shots from Esco Strong, Noel Buslon, and Brian O'Keefe. After a missed clearance by a TAFC defender, O'Keefe took two quick touches and blasted the ball into the back of the net to double ECS FC's lead.

At the half, ECS FC lead 2-0 and the only thing keeping the floodgates from opening was spectactular play from Lopez and two "off the line" clearances by TAFC defenders. Ten minutes into the second half, however, O'Keefe struck again to tally his brace. Eight minutes later, Strong put the game out of reach when his shot initially looked to be saved, but trickled past Lopez and another defender trying to clear it off the line. With an extremely short bench, exhaustion started setting in for TAFC and the remainder of the game became a formality, with late ECS FC goals from Felix Feliciano and Chris Leadbetter.

The series currently stands at four victories for ECS FC, one victory for Timbers Army FC, and one draw.

Final Score: ECS FC 6, Timbers Army FC 0

Goals: Adam Chromy, Brian O'Keefe (2), Esco Strong, Felix Feliciano, Chris Leadbetter

Women's Match (Cup Game)

Whipsaws FC prevailed to win their fourth straight Women’s Supporters Cup match
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

The Timbers Army FC was represented by Whipsaws FC and the ECS FC Women were represented by players from ECS FC Roosevelt. This was the fourth year of the series, with the Whipsaws winning the previous three. The game began with the Whipsaws holding most of the possession, but unable to break through ECS FC's back line. After a fair amount of back-and-forth play in the midfield, the Whipsaws created a break on the counter attack, slipping Heidi Jo Grubbs through into a one-on-one situation. Only a monster save by ECS FC goalkeeper Shayna Foster kept the game level.

The game settled into a midfield based-affair, with both sides creating opportunities but unable to break through. The ECS FC Women sent several through balls past the defense, but their forwards were not able to catch up to the ball, which was routinely collected by Whipsaws goalkeeper Celeste Molina. Their biggest chance came in the 19th minute when Brittany Creek streaked down the sideline, shot, and forced Molina to tip it over the bar. Not to be outdone, the Whipsaws were able to create some danger of their own via the long ball and put Foster to work, forcing several great saves.

Late into the first half, the Whipsaws finally opened the scoring when Grubbs laid the ball off to Angela Cavaleri, who placed her shot just under the crossbar and into the net. The Whipsaws, not content to sit on their lead, maintained possession and continued to press high up the field, searching for a second goal. As the game wore on, the ECS FC Women began to find success with play down the sidelines, with Emuna David creating several key passes. However, a shot by Brittany Creek sailed over the crossbar and a final shot by Tricia Cavanaugh was saved by Molina, clinching the game for the Whipsaws.

The series currently stands at four victories for Whipsaws FC.

Final Score: Whipsaws FC 1, ECS FC Women 0

Goals: Angela Cavaleri

Men's I (Cup Game)

The Emerald City Supporters FC were represented by their top team, ECS FC Black. The Timbers Army FC were unable to field a team and were forced to forfeit. A friendly was played with shortened halves, with the second team being a combination of borrowed players from ECS FC, Whipsaws FC players, and assorted Timbers Army FC players.

The series currently stands at seven victories for ECS FC and one victory for Timbers Army FC.

The Survivors - those who stayed until the end of the Mens I friendly
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Wrap Up

The Supporters Cup has grown significantly since 2010, when a friendly supporter match was suggested to coincide with the USL Timbers and Whitecaps playing at Starfire. At the time, the Timbers Army had only three teams (FC Portlandia, North End United, and Timbers Army FC) and the Emerald City Supporters only had one (ECS FC). Since then, not only have the clubs grown, but the event has as well. Anthony de Simone and Martin Corpus, the event organizers, did an amazing job putting everything together and ensuring it ran smoothly throughout the day. La Copita, which will be featured in depth in a later article, gave around 100 kids in underprivileged communities a chance to be seen and demonstrate their skill. The Unified Special Olympics Match also gave normally-unseen athletes a chance to shine in front of a crowd and promote the spirit of the Special Olympics.

The Women’s match was a demonstration of what a cup match can, and should, be. The passion was on display after Angela Cavaleri’s goal and the camaraderie toward a common goal was on display after the game was over, when the Whipsaws and ECS FC Women came together to request a group photo. The Men’s Over-40 players were terrific ambassadors to the game and the Over-40 game should continue to be a fine addition for years to come. The Men’s II game is traditionally a chance for the players who show up to play every week (but not necessarily be on the top team) to represent their club, which both sides did admirably. The forfeit in the Men’s I game, however, was a bitter disappointment. Credit needs to be given to the players who volunteered to take the field and try to salvage the game, as most of them were on their second (and in one case, third) game of the day. Despite how the day ended, the event was a success and sets the bar for next year’s meeting in Portland.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart