Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Two of North America’s most passionate soccer cities, the bitter rivalry between each respective club has sparked several memorable matches over the years.
The Timbers and Sounders rivalry dates back decades and predates MLS, while the Thorns and Reign entered the picture in 2013 and have since added to the competitive animosity between both Cascadia cities.
This weekend, both clubs will travel up I-5 and play matches at Lumen Field on back-to-back afternoons. The Timbers and Sounders will kick off at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, July 9 (FOX) as part of MLS' Heineken Rivalry Week, while the Thorns and Reign play at 3 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 10 (Twitch).
From epic tifos to iconic celebrations, with the rivalry re-igniting this weekend now is as good a time as any to relive some of the most memorable moments in the recent history.
Timbers topple Sounders 2-1 to take crucial aggregate advantage in 2013 Western Conference Semifinals
While regular season victories are nice, nothing is sweeter than knocking a bitter rival out of MLS Cup contention. The Timbers took an important step toward doing just that when they traveled to Seattle and stunned the Sounders 2-1 behind goals from Ryan Johnson and Darlington Nagbe.
Johnson’s 15th-minute flicked-on header at the back post came out of almost nothing, giving Portland its first-ever lead in Seattle. Nagbe doubled the Timbers’ advantage in the 66th minute after receiving the ball in the box, turning and firing it into the far corner of the net in seemingly one, fluid motion.
20 minutes later, they walked out 2-1 winners, the club's third-ever victory against the Sounders in MLS play and first in the Emerald City. Most importantly the result gave Portland the confidence it needed going into the second leg.
“To come in first place gives us the confidence to know we can come here and get the result like we did,” Johnson said following the match. “Now going back home where we have the best home record in the league, we’re confident that no one is going to come there and beat us.”
Just as Johnson predicted, Seattle couldn’t as the Timbers won 3-2 in a wild second leg in front of a packed Providence Park to advance to the Conference Final. The two-legged victory now stands as the first of multiple playoff triumphs against the Sounders.
“Legends never sleep”: Timbers Army raise memorable tifo as Timbers handle business with 3-1 victory
On any other afternoon, a 3-1 win over the Sounders would take top billing. However, in July 2016, the final score provided context as the pregame tifo display (seen above) stole the show.
A red and black statement that filled the entire north end of Providence Park, the display read “Legends Never Sleep,” which became even scarier as the Timbers Army raised the showstopper: a larger-than-life Freddy Krueger.
Then, the Timbers truly entered the Sounders' nightmares with a comprehensive 3-1 victory that included goals from Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi.
A response to the Sounders’ tifo ahead of the 2013 playoff game that read “Welcome to your nightmares,” the afternoon couldn’t have gone any better for Portland and will go down in the rivalry’s storied history for the pregame display alone.
Adi sparks second-half blowout in 4-1 win over Sounders
One of Adi’s finest moments in green and gold came on June 28, 2015.
Known for scoring in braces, Adi took that saying to another level when he scored a pair of goals in two minutes to turn a 1-1 game into a commanding 3-1 advantage with a quarter hour to play.
The first goal game in the 74th minute as the striker came to a sudden stop in the box, received a low cross from Nagbe and placed a looping shot into the top corner of the net. Then, in the 76th minute, Adi found himself with the ball at the top of the box in transition and fired a driven shot past Stefan Frei, beating the Seattle keeper at his near post.
Feeding off adrenaline, before anyone knew what was happening, Adi jumped the ad boards, ran to the victory log and revved Timber Joey’s chainsaw in front of the Timbers Army.
Rodney Wallace added an insurance goal in stoppage time to ensure the party in Portland lasted deep into the evening.
“Dude, where’s your car show?”: Timbers eliminate Sounders from MLS Cup contention a second time in drama-filled away leg
Portland fans made the quick trip up I-5 in early November with plenty of ammunition.
Originally meant to be played on a Sunday, a car show being held at then CenturyLink Field pushed the second leg of the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals to Thursday. Up 2-1 on aggregate heading into the match, the night kicked off with a playful jab: a tifo that read “Dude, where’s your car show?”
Already a nervy affair, the drama rose in the 68th minute with a goal from Sounders striker Raúl Ruidíaz. Defending for their lives, the Timbers thought they had done enough to win when they went up 3-2 on aggregate with Sebastián Blanco’s goal in the 78th minute. However, Ruidíaz sent the game to added time with a goal in the final seconds.
Once again, Portland thought it was on its way to an emphatic victory after Dairon Asprilla scored a goal in the 93rd minute, only for Nicolas Lodeiro to put away a penalty kick in the 97th minute. The game ultimately came down to a penalty shootout, which the Timbers won 4-2, capped with an emphatic finish from the spot by Asprilla.
For the second time in the club’s MLS history, it had knocked its biggest rival out of the playoffs. This time, though, they used the victory to reach the 2018 MLS Cup.
Larrys Mabiala nets a brace as Timbers win first MLS regular season game in Seattle 3-2
For all the emphatic and memorable victories against the Sounders in MLS play over the years, a three-point afternoon in Seattle always proved to be the most elusive result. Regular season after regular season, the Timbers returned south empty handed, until they finally broke through in summer 2018.
Knotted at 0-0 after halftime, center back Larrys Mabiala scored a brace in the second 45 minutes as Portland won 3-2. His first goal put the Timbers up 1-0 early in the second half and his second, a powering header in the center of the box, decided the game.
Even more notable, Portland hasn’t lost a regular season game in Seattle since.