The Backcut Podcast: Oregonian's Geoffrey C. Arnold and his new book on the Portland-Seattle rivalry
As a Portland Timbers fan, there's really nothing like attending a rivalry match against the Seattle Sounders. It is fierce, visceral, loud, spirited, entertaining, awe-inspiring . . . and that's just the first ten minutes of the supporters groups' tifo unveiling.
The battle on the field can raise the stakes to a whole other level. This Saturday's clash between the Timbers and Sounders (Mar. 16, 5pm PT, NBC Sports Network, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940) culminates an entire day of Rivalry Week intensity. NBC Sports Network will air three of the games and have a special highlight show during the afternoon jumping from each of the other matches around the league.
This emphasis on MLS rivalries has grown each year but the Portland-Seattle clash has proved to be a premier event. And no wonder. The uniqueness of this soccer animosity goes back nearly 40 years skipping across NASL, USL and MLS editions of both teams.
Oregonian sports writer Geoffrey C. Arnold is the paper's primary Timbers and soccer beat writer. Covering Oregon sports for over twenty years, Arnold has attended MLS Cup, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, and much more. But it was the 2009 U.S. Open Cup match between the then USL-era Timbers and the then first-year MLS Sounders that piqued his interest around this loud and incredible rivalry. He set out to find more about the heros and villains, interviewed players past and present, examined the art of the tifo and much more. The result: Cascadia Clash: Sounders vs. Timbers.
On the eve of this next installment of the Cascadia Cup Portland-Seattle rivalry, I sat down with Arnold to find out more how he started his book, why he thinks such conflicth exists between the teams, supporters, and cities, and where he thinks the rivalry will be headed to next.
Be sure to sit back and take in all the league's rivalry matches throughout the day.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.
We've talked here about #SeattleAway. Whether you're heading up on a 107ist bus, driving yourself, taking the train, booking a helicopter, etc., there's numerous ways to get you there.
Our friends at 76 would like to help you. All you need to do is Instagram a shot of you traveling to or from this weekend's match with the hashtag #76roadtrip and you'll be eligible to win a $100 gas card. Not going to this Portland-Seattle battle? Never fear, the contest will also be happening on future Cascadia Cup rivalry matches on May 18th @ Vancouver, August 25th @ Seattle and October 6th @ Vancouver.
Earlier this week in the UEFA Champions League, Turkish side Galatasaray traveled to Germany to take on Schalke. It was a crucial encounter that Galatasaray eventually won 3-2 to move on to the quarterfinals. Their rabid fan base traveled en masse and though the away section was overflowing, there were reports of supporters attempting to carve a tunnel under the fence to get in.
According to The Guardian, "(Schalke Sporting Director Hans) Heldt confirmed the incident before the game, which ended with a 4-3 aggregate victory for the Turkish club, saying: "Yes, that's right. Some supporters have tried to dig a tunnel with their bare hands."
While we applaud the devotion of the traveling Galatasaray fans, for those of you who are contemplating heading north to watch the Portland Timbers begin their defense of the Cascadia Cup in a battle with the Seattle Sounders, all you have to do is get on the bus.
The 107 Independent Supporters Trust--the organizing group of the Timbers Army--is handling all Seattle Away day travel. Tickets are still available for public purchase and include a bus trip and game ticket option to get you there or just a ticket-only option if you want to drive yourself.
They're going fast but you can get yours now by visiting the 107ist.org site here. What are you waiting for?
Vince and his family were recipients of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the March 9th match against Montreal.
We asked Vince a few questions about his experience at the match with his son Shaun and two daughters Alexis and McKenna:
What is your relationship to the Spread the Love ambassador?
“Suite Sue” Simpson was our ambassador. She actually gave the “welcome” packet to Neal Harrington, who unfortunately was unable to attend the match due to a last minute work conflict. In turn, Neal really embraced the “Spread the Love” mantra and shared the packet with my family.
What were you most looking forward to about attending a Timbers match?
We had never been to a Timber's game before so anticipation was high on what to expect. The kids really wanted to see Timber Joey!
What was your favorite part of the match?
The kids enjoyed watching how the game was played, the intricacies of the sport and how quickly and skillfully the players moved on and around the field.
Have you ever been to a match? If so, what was the last time you attended?
No, this was the first Timber's game we had been to. It was cool experience and very exciting.
What was your reaction when you received the "welcome" packet?
It was great - we were excited about everything. We were all very excited that we had an opportunity to go!
Interested in nominating a deserving fan? You can, here. Recipients will be selected shortly for the two Timbers home matches in April.
Big matches mean big tifo and this Saturday's Cascadia Cup rivalry match between Portland and Seattle should be no different (5pm PT, NBC Sports, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940). MLSsoccer.com takes a look at some of the past iterations of Portland and Seattle supporter-created tifo.
Wear headphones. Turn volume up to 11. Watch the video.
Sometimes that which is local goes global. This is particularly true of the culture of soccer and how it can reach around the world. For the Timbers and their fans, there is a special bond between supporter and club. One area where this is particularly true is how many Portland season ticket holders reach out to the club via their season ticket holder services representative to share their stories about their travels and experiences as a fan.
Case in point: season ticket holder Sean Ingersoll reached out to Timbers ticket services manager Leigh Calvert about his travels in Africa with some great pictures; pictures that had a particular Cascadian bent. An avid soccer player himself, Ingersoll and his friends have often challenged themselves to play soccer in remote environments. And when I say remote, I mean places like, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
Ingersoll picks up the story:
Some friends and I decided it would be fun to go to Tanzania and climb Kilimanjaro. We have all played on the same GPSD adult soccer team, FC77 Rangers, and we try to play soccer in some unique environments. In 2010 we climbed to the top of South Sister and had a 3v3 match in the snow-filled crater at 10,300’…which was awesome. This year we decided to go to Africa and climb the mountain with Zara Tours, maybe even kick a ball around on the top. Zara sponsors several charity projects in Tanzania, including an orphanage in Moshi. We thought it would be a decent gesture to bring some school supplies and soccer gear so we passed the word around to our kid’s soccer teams, friends, co-workers and the effort just exploded. I think we collected over 250 lbs. of paper, notebooks, pens, 50-ish pairs of used and new soccer boots, balls, pumps, socks, etc. So we paid for the extra baggage and shipped all of the goods with us to Tanzania for the kids at the orphanage. We met the kids and teachers--it was an incredible experience.
In the top picture, Jim Snyder and I are both from Portland and Timbers fans. My buddy Shawn Mulqueeney is from Issaquah and is a Sounders fan. I suggested we bring our scarves for a summit picture and he agreed that would be fun. About two days into the climb, we got out a soccer ball and invited the porters to kick around with us (middle picture). The elevation was 12,800’. What was amazing about that was the mood of the climb seemed to change after that, from clients/porters to friends. Ah, the power of football. We summited on the third day, got out the scarves, and proved that Cascadia has the best and most hard-core soccer fans around. I did have a ball in my summit pack, but I could barely lift my foot more than 3” to take the next step, much less juggle or head a ball. One kick and I’m certain it would have rolled all the wall back down to the Kenyan border! So we hung out with the glaciers for about twenty minutes, took our pictures, and came back down.
Between stoking a rivalry around the world as well as making a difference in a foreign community, Ingersoll is clearly having an impact. Got a story of your own Timbers fandom from around the world? Send us a note at email@example.com.
With the unique Spread The Love campaign off and running, we wanted to introduce a few of the lucky folks who were able to experience their first ever Timbers match last week. And what a game to kick things off? A tremendous rendition of the national anthem, excellent tifo, loads of goals, and a thrilling comeback. What more could you ask for?
Without further ado, here's the first group of worthy recipients.
Jeff Enquist, President of PYSA & head coach of Portland City United is one of the first group of 107 Ambassadors. He’s coached in high school, college and the pros and gave his tickets to one of his employees, Sonko. Sonko grew up playing soccer in Kenya and started a club soccer program for kids aged 6-8 there. In short, soccer is Sonko's life.
“Timber Jim” Serrill--the original lumberjack who sawed logs in the North End--is also the charismatic gent who popularlized the phrase “Spread the Love” from which this whole idea originally sprang. An embodiment of Timbers passion, Timber Jim gave his tickets to young Karina. Karina battled through leukemia when she was 4--it's now in remission--and met Jim through the Leukemia Foundation. She had never been to a Timbers game before. Needless to say, she was very excited.
Rachel Harrison, another 107 Ambassador is an active community volunteer, Timbers Army supporter and committed season ticket holder. She met her friend Jessica at her church. Jessica's son plays club soccer in Portland and had never been to a match before either. Sunday's match was his first and was an instant classic.
Do you know someone whom you think is worthy? Visit www.spreadtheloveptfc.com to nominate someone you know in your community.
How do you get ready for a Timbers match? Debate which jersey to wear? Which scarf to bring? Warm up with a cup of coffee? Hit the pub? Create a two-stick sign? All of the above?
We want to see it.
The Timbers, along with our pals at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, have a special contest that will run throughout the 2013 season that includes a great Timbers and Stumptown prize pack. To enter, all you have to do is on the morning of the first home game of every month, you Instagram a shot of your morning pre-game ritual with the hashtag #SCRTimbers.
A random fan from each match will be selected to win what is a pretty sweet prize pack:
- One (1) Signed Timbers Jersey
- One (1) 12oz bag of Kenya Gaturiri Coffee
- Two (2) Stumptown Coffee Roaster Mugs
- One (1) Stumptown Branded Red Rooster Hand Mill Grinder
So mark your calendars and show us how you get ready.
- 3/3 vs. New York
- 4/6 vs. Houston
- 5/2 vs. New England
- 6/15 vs. FC Dallas
- 7/13 vs. LA Galaxy
- 8/3 vs. Vancouver
- 9/7 vs. Toronto FC
- 10/13 vs. Seattle
For full contest rules, click here.
Medford is a great town. Full of history and nature. We planted trees with Friends of Trees Saturday morning along Bear Creek, a tributary of the mighty Rogue River. The trees that we planted will shade the creek keeping it cool for salmon as they spawn. We even planted a few wild roses hoping they bring luck to our new team.
Our clinic was busy with Timbers fans and future stars. I was worn out from kicking and chasing soccer balls with the kids. My former rodeo traveling partner surprised me with his son at the camp. It was great to catch up with him and see his son running around with the coaches.
Sometime during the autograph session I noticed Jake's accent had turned from Kiwi to kind of Russell Brandish English. I confronted him about it in Eugene the next night and he confirmed that it was true though he did not know why. I am sure there are pictures floating around of David sticking his tongue out at a little girl. I can attest that he did not start this battle nor did he win. Best set of questions at the clinic, "Why is soccer so hard?" asked by a young male participant followed by, "Why is soccer so easy?" asked by the girl who beat David.
Finally time to relax at 4 Daughters Irish Pub. We met with fans from as far away as Shasta City, CA.
I enjoyed the bus ride to Eugene though I'm not sure the rest of the group did as I sang along to all the songs from Rock of Ages. Thankfully Jake helped me with some of the duets.
Eugene's tree planting was a completely opposite experience from the day before. We planted pine trees in a grass lot formerly used as a gravel parking lot. It was quite the struggle to get the holes dug but today there are nine new trees making the lot look more like a park.
Kick City is a great indoor facility with two fields a soccer store and a pub complete with TVs that happened to be showing the NFL Playoffs. We were entertained the entire time. Eugene taught me one thing, I am not and will never be a goalie. I took shots to my chest, legs and head (thankfully protected by a helmet) that I never saw coming and I have finally admitted to myself that I am indeed "sluggish." If I recall correctly David took a good shot as he was playing out of position. Thankfully there was time to relax following the sessions as we signed autographs and took pictures with all the kids.
After the clinic it was off to The Old Pad. Another great pub full of Timbers fans. My cousin Kindy came down to surprise me! It was great to see her and all the Timbers Army Echo Squadron. There we learned that both Jake and David had great first cars, are looking forward to playing under Coach Porter and were happy to bring the Cascadia Cup to Portland where it belongs.
Dribble Oregon, presented by JELD-WEN Windows & Doors, continued it's tour throughout the state this past weekend with stops in Medford and Eugene. Trees were planted with the help of Friends of Trees, Jake Gleeson and David Horst took part in free soccer clinics with local youth, Timber Joey welcomed one and all, and supporters were able to meet-and-greet with players and staff at local pubs.
Take a look back at the road trip, learn a bit about the players, and then visit the Timbers Facebook page for more photos. Dribble Oregon rolls on this Wednesday to Klamath Falls. Participate in the fun on Twitter with hashtag #DribbleOregon.
On the way to Medford for my first stop of dribble Oregon. Looking forward to the weekend. Hope to see there#DribbleOregon
— Jacob gleeson (@Jgleeson20) January 12, 2013
— Joey Webber (@TimberJoey) January 12, 2013
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) January 13, 2013
— joelcarrick (@joelcarrick) January 13, 2013
— Friends of Trees (@FriendsofTrees) January 14, 2013
— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) January 14, 2013
— Joey Webber (@TimberJoey) January 14, 2013
— Beth Atkerson (@NWsoccerMom) January 14, 2013
Had a great time this weekend meeting timbers fans in Medford and Eugene. Great people and great fans. Thank youall!. #DribbleOregon
— Jacob gleeson (@Jgleeson20) January 14, 2013
— Lindsay Weber (@LindsayAdaire) January 14, 2013
— TA Echo Squadron (@TAEchoSquad) January 14, 2013