PORTLAND, Ore.— Major League Soccer has approved a plan for the supporters groups from the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC to purchase up to 500 tickets for away matches against their Cascadia rivals in 2011.
Although detailed operational plans are still being developed, the 500 tickets will be sold to each of the visiting clubs, which will then allocate those tickets to their traveling supporters groups.
“Away support, especially for derbies, is a critical part of soccer’s DNA,” said Merritt Paulson, owner and president of the Timbers. “The Timbers – along with Seattle, Vancouver and Major League Soccer – are committed to cultivating these significant regional rivalries by embracing the positive dynamic that away supporters bring and encouraging visiting fan support. The clubs look forward to hosting visiting supporters in a professional manner.”
The rivalry between the three clubs dates back to the old North American Soccer League. The Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps entered that league in 1974, while the Portland Timbers followed suit in 1975. The Pacific Northwest rivalry was rekindled in the 1990s when the clubs competed in North America’s second-division professional leagues.
Whitecaps FC and Timbers will join MLS in 2011 as the 17th and 18th clubs; Sounders FC made its MLS debut in 2009. The complete 2011 MLS schedule will be released in the coming months. Prior to the start of the 2011 season, MLS will announce league-wide guidelines for traveling supporters.