Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie brilliantly scored from 40-yards on Saturday night, but saw rivals Seattle Sounders FC emerge with a point after a controversial late penalty was awarded.
The 22-year-old embarrassed Stefan Frei with his wonderfully executed lob, while Erik Hurtado scored Vancouver's other goal with his third in three matches. Both goalscorers were a threat throughout, but Gonzalo Pineda scored from 12 yards to add to Chad Barrett's headed opener.
The Whitecaps won the Cascadia Cup last season, and came into this game without defeat in their previous four.
Seattle, meanwhile, had the returning Brad Evans on their bench after his exclusion from Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States squad for the World Cup. They had tasted victory in six of their last seven outings, but drew their only other derby game this season 4-4 away to the Portland Timbers.
Vancouver raced out of the blocks, with four good chances within the first ten minutes.
With just two minutes on the clock, Kekuta Manneh – who scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture last campaign – gathered the ball on the edge of the area and sped past two Sounders challenges before forcing Frei to palm away at near post.
Koffie was the next to go close, as he ran onto a loose ball and lashed a swerving volley inches wide of the target. The same player then powered through the visitors’ ranks, managing to get a shot away at the second attempt that cannoned back out off the crossbar.
Seconds later, Pedro Morales almost made the most of a lucky break in the box, but the goalkeeper smothered the ball before the Chilean could convert. Despite the host's lightning start, by the half-hour mark Seattle were starting to find their feet, and Barrett flashed an effort just over after cutting in from the right.
And ten minutes later, the Rave Green took the lead through Barrett’s header. The 29-year-old towered above Nigel Reo-Coker, to nod Kenny Cooper’s cross into the far corner.
The Whitecaps instantly drew level though through a magical Hurtado goal. A lovely shimmy beat both Osvaldo Alonso and Djimi Traore, and the former United States youth international blasted his finish into the roof of the net.
In stoppage time at the end of the half, Sebastien Fernandez then went close to giving the home side the lead with a rising drive from 20 yards that just cleared the goal-frame.
It was the Whitecaps who continued to create opportunities, with Fernandez’s ball finding Manneh who was denied by a smart Frei block.
Koffie’s moment of genius then came in the 66th minute. Frei made a hash of a clearance, and the Ghanaian brought the ball down on his chest, before looping a volley into the net with the goalkeeper out of position.
As the game entered its last ten minutes, referee Ismael Elfath awarded a penalty for a seemingly fair challenge by Jay DeMerit on Sounders substitute Cam Weaver to incense Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson.
Pineda calmly chipped the resulting spot-kick down the middle of the goal to level the match at 2-2.
Seattle then almost went ahead immediately, as the previously quiet Obafemi Martins worked space for a shot and struck the far post.
In the 93rd minute, Koffie saw off numerous Rave Green challenges to poke towards goal, but was denied by a determined Frei.
Vancouver were unable to muster another goal though with the Swiss stopper saving again with the last touch of the game, and the Canadians now have another derby against Portland next week.
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