Seattle (8-3-1) at Vancouver (4-2-4), 7 p.m.
Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will renew their Cascadia Cup rivalry for the first time this season when the two sides meet at BC Place on Saturday.
The Sounders, who enter the weekend atop the overall MLS table with 25 points from 12 games, got their first taste of Cascadia Cup action this season with an enthralling 4-4 draw with the Portland Timbers at CenturyLink Field on April 5, a match that saw Clint Dempsey score two late goals to salvage a point.
The result helped turn Seattle's season around as the club produced a 6-1-0 record in the following seven matches.
And while Dempsey will miss the clash due to his commitment to the United States national team, Obafemi Martins showed last week that he is capable of shouldering the scoring responsibility.
The Sounders were without Dempsey for last weekend's home clash with the San Jose Earthquakes, but Martins netted a spectacular looping shot over the head of goalkeeper Jon Busch in the eighth minute to give his side a 1-0 victory.
"That's an outstanding goal," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told the club's official website. "The guile that he has to just get a touch on it and get it over Busch...you can't teach that. It's definitely as good a goal as has been scored here."
Vancouver enters Saturday's derby in good stead, enjoying an off-week last weekend following a run of four games in 12 days.
"We thought after three or four days off it might take them a little while to get their legs going again," 'Caps assistant coach Martyn Pert told reporters on Tuesday. "But they have been brilliant. They have been first class. I think you can see today that the spirit in the group is fantastic."
Vancouver brings a four-match league unbeaten run into Saturday's match, but the club remains focused on improving its record in Cascadia Cup play.
Not only did the 'Caps get their first victory over the Sounders in MLS play last season, but they enter the season as Cascadia Cup holders after taking nine points from their six matches against their Pacific Northwest rivals in 2013.
"These are always great games to play in," midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker told reporters on Tuesday. "The atmosphere that gets generated, the rivalry between the fans and having home and away support at the stadium, it makes it even more exciting. It's a fantastic game to be involved in. We're the defending (Cascadia) champions and we want to make sure we keep the Cup here."