The Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC get set to add another chapter to their decades-long Cascadia rivalry Sunday at Providence Park (12:00pm PT, FOX).
But the rivalry goes beyond the soccer pitch and expands between the two cities of Portland and Seattle going back some 150 years. MLSsoccer.com reached out to Portland State University professor emeritus of history--and Timbers annual member--William Lang to dive into more about the historical and constant competition between The Rose City and The Emerald City in the Pacific Northwest.
[T]here’s no denying history and the decades of cultural and sociological factors that have affected the way citizens of both cities view themselves and their counterparts today. And one of the most visible manifestations of that dynamic comes in the sports arena. The two cities went head-to-head in the AAA baseball Pacific Coast League all the way back in 1903, and seven decades later in the National Basketball Association. When the Portland Trailblazers won the NBA title in 1977, the Seattle Supersonics quickly worked to match Portland with their own league trophy just two years later.
And so you might find yourself getting the chills on Sunday watching the Timbers Army revel in their higher league standing and MLS Cup trophy — Seattle doesn’t have one of those — perhaps even illustrated by a creative tifo display. Or you might catch yourself wondering what all those traveling Seattle fans were thinking when they made the three-hour trek south on a Sunday to spend 90 minutes cheering on the players in rave green.
The explanation is extremely complex and simple at the same time: Every roar and every ounce of emotion poured into that match have been building and simmering for a long, long time – precisely, 150 years of history playing themselves out before your very eyes.