'Caps vs. Sounders retrospective: 46-year old rivalry spills over to new setting

Whitecaps Sounders - 1974

There's no greater rival for the Blue and White than the Rave Green.

Tonight, the 'Caps and the Sounders renew acquaintances and meet for the 141st time.

This rivalry goes way back to the 1970’s when both clubs were born. In fact, both clubs were founded on the exact same date - December 11, 1973.

In their original iterations, both clubs belonged to the North American Soccer League (NASL) and eventually joined MLS in 2009 (Seattle) and 2011 (Vancouver). This local rivalry, built on passion and proximity, has only gotten stronger over the years.

The Sounders are Vancouver's nearest opponent. A quick drive down the 1-5 highway allows for fans of both teams to support their club at home and on the road.

Because of this, the fans have created an atmosphere that allows for no shortage of heated and passionate battles between these two rivals, especially in the last decade since both clubs entered MLS.

Here's a look back on a few key moments of their 46-year old rivalry. 


The very first MLS match between the two clubs is a match ‘Caps fans simply won’t forget. We’ll just call it “The Eric Hassli Game”. A 2-2 draw away to Seattle in Vancouver’s inaugural season was nothing to complain about, but the match itself will always be remembered for this Hassli goal.

The ‘Caps also have many memorable victories over their Cascadia rival in MLS.

One standout win is Vancouver’s 4-1 victory away to Seattle in 2013 - highlighted by former Whitecaps FC player Kekuta Manneh scoring three goals to become the youngest player in MLS history to score a hat-trick.

Only two years after Manneh’s brilliance against Seattle, another former Gambian ‘Caps player put on an outstanding display in a match away to Seattle. Pa-Modou Kah led Vancouver to a 3-0 victory in August 2015 picking up two goals and the man of the match award for his performance. The win also put the ‘Caps top of the Western Conference standings at the time.


While this rivalry has been built on heroic individual performances and great team victories, there is always the possibility of a passionate rivalry match producing its fair share of villains, whether it’s Brad Evans headbutting David Edgar in 2016 or Clint Dempsey and Kendall Waston provoking each other.

Rivalry inherently creates tension, so when Fredy Montero moved across the border from Seattle to Vancouver in 2017 it was a unique occurrence. During his first season in Vancouver, the former Sounder said, “the supporters took some time to adopt me as one of their own — and I respected that. They knew my history in Seattle, and I knew that I had to earn their love.” Montero went on to win the VWFC Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot award in his first season in Vancouver, highlighted by a brace in his first meeting against his former mates, and then scoring a shorthanded equalizer in the midseason rematch.


These two clubs seem to enjoy celebrating on each other's pitches.

In 2014, the 'Caps hoisted the Cascadia Cup at CenturyLink Field, but the Sounders have since avenged those losses in 2015 and 2018, leaving the BC Place visiting lockerroom with the scent of champagne.

The ‘Caps and Sounders have played only once in MLS Cup Playoffs - the 2017 Western Conference Semifinal. After a tense first leg at BC Place where the match ended 0-0, both teams travelled to Seattle with everything to play for. Unfortunately for Vancouver, two Clint Dempsey goals sealed the victory for Seattle.

They also met at the 2015-16 Concacaf Champions League group stage, drawing at CenturyLink Field, and the Sounders coming away victors at BC Place to advance to the Knockout Stage.

The two sides once again get the opportunity to compete at the international level with the MLS is Back tourney winner securing a spot at the Concacaf Champions League.

But first, they meet a familiar foe in an entirely new setting.

Watch the 'Caps battle the Sounders at the MLS is Back Tournament on Sunday. Kickoff is live at 7:30 p.m. PT on TSN.