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Aug 3, 2013

Whitecaps rally for draw

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Jordan Harvey scored the equalizer in the 68th minute and the Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers in a Cascadia Cup rivalry match on Saturday night.

The result pulls the Whitecaps ahead in the three-way Pacific Northwest rivalry series with the Timbers and the Seattle Sounders.

The Timbers, coming off a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, remained tied for second place in the league's Western Conference at 8-3-11. The Whitecaps (9-7-6) are in a tie for fourth in the conference, coming off a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia last Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, Ryan Johnson put the Timbers in front with a header into the net in the 48th minute.

The Cascadia Cup -- at least the trophy itself -- was introduced in 2004 when all three teams were part of the United Soccer Leagues First Division.

Fans pooled their money to buy a 2-foot tall silver cup, which goes to the team that finishes with the best record in head-to-head matches between the three, based on a points system.

But the actual rivalry between the three teams dates back to 1975, when all of them were part of the North American Soccer League.

Portland got the Cascadia Cup last season with a 1-0 victory over the Whitecaps in the team's second-to-last match. Jack Jewsbury scored in the 39th minute, giving the Timbers their first victory on the road and ending a six-match losing streak.

It was one of the few bright spots of last season. The Timbers finished the season 8-16-10, ranked second-to-last in Major League Soccer's Western Conference and falling far short of the team's goal to reach the playoffs.

Under new coach Caleb Porter, this season the Timbers put together a midseason 15-match unbeaten streak to climb in the standings. But the Timbers had lost two of their past four going into Saturday's match against Vancouver.

The Whitecaps were hurt in the 17th minute when defender Brad Rusin injured his right leg after a hard foul on Portland's Diego Valeri. Rusin was taken from the field on a stretcher and replaced by Matt Watson.

Vancouver was already without midfielder Jun Marques Davidson after he was red-carded for head-butting Philadelphia's Keon Daniel last weekend. Midfielder Gershon Koffie also missed the match because he had accumulated five yellow cards.

Johnson took a perfectly placed cross from Diego Valeri and beat goalkeeper David Ousted. The Whitecaps evened it in the 68th minute when Harvey's shot sailed up and over Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts' fingertips and into the net.

The Timbers threatened in the 78th minute, but Pa-Modou Kah was ruled offside on a close-in kick into the net.

The Timbers lead the MLS series with the Whitecaps 4-0-2. The teams meet again on Oct. 6 in Vancouver.

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