Cascadia Cup clashes typically don't need any added elements to maintain a grand allure, but Wednesday's match at CenturyLink Field in Seattle features plenty of side plots.
The Seattle Sounders take to the field days after being thrashed 5-1 in Colorado knowing that they can cement a playoff berth and clinch the Cascadia Cup. A draw would grant the Sounders the cup -- the regional trophy for which the Sounders, Whitecaps and Portland Timbers grapple -- after a one-year hiatus, while a win would take care of sealing both.
The Whitecaps, meanwhile, are playing for their postseason lives. Sunday's 2-2 draw in Portland, which was aided by Camilo's Goal of the Year candidate, left the club six points out of fifth place and the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. To guarantee that Vancouver stays within at least six points of fifth-place Colorado before the clubs face off two straight times to end the season, the Whitecaps need a victory, something that has been hard to come by. Vancouver has won just two of its last 12 games to fall to the cusp of elimination.
The Sounders, who had their seven-game unbeaten run come to a screeching halt Saturday, will be getting some of their heavy hitters back in time for the game, even though the likes of Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans are away on U.S. international duty.
Clint Dempsey, left off the USA's roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers given his recent hamstring injury, is going to be part of the gameday squad, according to The Seattle Times. Veterans Obafemi Martins and Djimi Traore are also reported to be available after both missed the lopsided loss to Colorado with their respective ailments.
The Whitecaps won't have forward Darren Mattocks available, with Jamaica calling on the second-year forward for its World Cup qualifying matches. Kenny Miller, who has missed the last two matches with an adductor strain, is uncertain to be able to fill in. Both players scored in Vancouver's 2-0 home win over Seattle on July 6, the Whitecaps' first win in a Cascadia Cup match since joining MLS.