It’s Rivalry Week in Major League Soccer and that means the Sounders FC will host the Portland Timbers in the most heated clash of the week. However, this is no flash-in-the-pan rivalry trumped up by the hype machine of national media exposure. Though the Sounders aren’t worried about the hype surrounding the match getting to them.
“It’s part of what we live with. It’s part of our culture as a club and the culture here in the Northwest,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s something that brings pride to our fans. Rewarding our fans is always big in our minds.”
The Cascadia Cup may only date back to 2004, when the supporters from the Sounders, Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps conceived the trophy that the three clubs have competed for in the nine seasons since, but the derby between the three teams dates all the way back to 1975 when the Timbers joined the Sounders and Whitecaps in the North American Soccer League. Since then, Seattle and Portland have played 79 matches, many of them highly memorable.
In the last four years that the Sounders have been in Major League Soccer, they have managed memorable matches against the Timbers each year.
July 1, 2009 at PGE Park in Portland Sounders FC 2, Timbers 1 (US Open Cup)
The Sounders moved to MLS, but the rivalry remained very much alive as the Sounders and Timbers met in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in Portland. It was only fitting that the first match once the Sounders went to MLS would get started with a now-legendary goal by longtime Timber-killer Roger Levesque.
The former USL standout needed only 48 seconds to remind the Timbers supporters just why he became so loved in the Emerald City and so loathed in the Rose City, scoring off a ball from another former USL Sounder, Sanna Nyassi, to get the Sounders out to a fast start in a 2-1 win to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
June 30, 2010 at PGE Park in Portland Sounders FC 1, Timbers 1; Seattle wins 4-3 on penalties (US Open Cup)
For the second straight year, the Sounders and Timbers met in the Open Cup in Portland and after another fast start that saw Oregon native Nate Jaqua score to put the Sounders up in the 13th minute, the Timbers equalized before halftime. They remained knotted through 90 minutes and neither team could separate themselves in overtime, either.
So the match finished with a shootout. Kasey Keller saved two efforts by the Timbers and defender Zach Scott put away the decisive goal and the Sounders celebrated on the PGE Park turf for the second straight year on their way to another Open Cup crown.
May 14, 2011 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle Sounders FC 1 vs. Timbers 1
The Timbers joined MLS in 2011 and the first meeting between the two sides promised fireworks. Things started with a bang, as the Emerald City Supporters unfurled their most ambitious tifo display to that point, with a multi-level display of portraits of five Sounders legends – Jimmy Gabriel, Preston Burpo, Fredy Montero, Marcus Hahnemann and Brian Schmetzer – under the headline “Decades of Dominance.” The exclamation point came with a giant display of a smiling Roger Levesque pulled up in front of the section with a simple message at the bottom – 48 seconds.
The match was less memorable, a 1-1 draw with Alvaro Fernandez scoring the first goal in the MLS derby and Mamadou Danso equalizing. The Decades of Dominance display is still the most frequently used reference point for the fan fervor in the rivalry.
July 10, 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland Sounders FC 3 vs. Timbers 2
Twice the Timbers took the lead in their first home match of the derby and twice the Sounders snatched it away from them, eventually scoring the game-winner in the 83rd minute on a penalty by Osvaldo Alonso. The match also marked the start of Fredy Montero’s dominance in the series, as the Seattle striker scored twice for the Sounders to lead the charge to victory.
“It’s definitely a nice win,” Schmid said after the match. “It was what a derby game is all about.”
October 7, 2012 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle Sounders FC 3 vs. Timbers 0
Another gigantic tifo display and this time a dominating Seattle victory as the Sounders went “All In” – as the tifo display by ECS encouraged – and trounced the Timbers 3-0 in front of a record crowd of 66,542 in the largest Sounders FC MLS crowd to date.
After an own-goal got things started, Eddie Johnson and Montero added insurance for the Sounders as they celebrated the win with a familiar face, as the recently retired Levesque returned to spark the team and the crowd when he was a central figure in the pre-game ceremonies for the match and was presented with the Golden Scarf before the match.
Saturday offers another chance for great memories as the Sounders meet the Timbers at 5 p.m. PT at CenturyLink Field with national television coverage on NBC Sports and the local radio broadcast on KIRO Radio 97.3.