For the first time since 2015, the Cascadia Cup is coming back to Seattle.
With a 2-1 victory over the Whitecaps at B.C. Place in Vancouver, Sounders FC captured the 2018 Cup, their first hardware of the campaign. A post-match celebration with the trophy in front of hundreds of travelling fans served as the instant reward for a 3-1-0 record (9 points) in their four Cascadia Cup-eligible matches.
As the Cup reportedly joined supporters on the "Iron Van" bus back to Seattle, the collective mind of the team now shifts back to the Western Conference table, where the fight to earn higher seeding continues on Wednesday at home.
Saturday's win in Canada gave the Sounders their ninth consecutive victory, extending an MLS post-shootout-era record, and moved the unbeaten streak to 12, one less than the club record of 13 set last year.
Seattle has captured 32 of their current 44 points since July 4th (10-0-2) and now sit at fifth place in the Conference, one point back of Real Salt Lake and three of Los Angeles FC. To make matters better, the Sounders have played two fewer matches than Salt Lake and one less than Salt Lake, Dallas (50 points) and Kansas City (51).
With the team now as healthy as they have been all season, and even Jordan Morris suddenly back on the list of candidates who might help the squad come playoff time, the team prepares to face the Philadelphia Union (12-4-12) on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.
Stream the match and listen online starting at 7:30 p.m. on Sports Radio 950 KJR. The late-night kickoff under the lights will give the Sounders a chance at fourth place, and potentially even third, in the West. LAFC currently hold a +12 goal differential while Seattle sit at +9. Only a victory by four goals or more on Wednesday would slingshot the Rave Green above Los Angeles.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is coming off a 4-1 home loss to the Montreal Impact, their first loss since August 4th in Portland. Between the defeats, the Union posted a 4-0-1 mark in MLS play while also earning a trip to the U.S. Open Cup Final, to be played on September 26th.
Sitting at fifth place in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia is also fighting to stay above the red line and earn a higher seed as the 2018 MLS Playoffs quickly approach.
A tenth consecutive victory for the Sounders may need more highlight efforts by Raul Ruidiaz, who scored his fourth and fifth goals for Seattle on Saturday in Vancouver. With assists from Cristian Roldan and Kelvin Leerdam on the first goal, the Sounders are offensively firing on all cylinders heading into the final seven matches of the regular season.
Watch highlights from the 2-1 win over the Whitecaps and hear from Head Coach Brian Schmetzer below.