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 everything off at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, July 9 (FOX), 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.
The Thorns win their first-ever home game 2-1 at the expense of the Reign
As they say, you only get one chance at a first impression and the Thorns made sure to capitalize on theirs, beating the Seattle Reign 2-1 in front of over 16,000 fans.
The win was the Thorns’ first as a club after they drew 1-1 in Kansas City the previous week. They scored a goal in each half, courtesy of Marian Dougherty and Alex Morgan, while Karina LeBlanc started in net as Portland gave its fans an afternoon to remember.
Portland squeaks into 2014 NWSL Playoffs behind 1-0 win
When the Thorns and Reign squared off in the final weekend of the 2014 NWSL season, the Reign had the NWSL shield wrapped up while the Thorns had everything to play for.
Needing all three points to make the playoffs, Portland’s defense held, ensuring Morgan’s lone goal in the 68th minute would be enough to extend its season.
While the Thorns fell to FC Kansas City in the NWSL semifinal the next weekend, the result against Seattle with their backs against the wall showcased the club’s character and further cemented its status as a year-in-year-out title contender.
Nadia Nadim helps short-handed Thorns pick up a morale-boosting 1-0 victory
The game itself wasn’t always the most entertaining.
With the Thorns and Reign both lacking several star players due to the 2016 Olympics, both clubs needed someone to step up and provide a spark. In July 2016, it was Nadim who answered the call.
Facing an onslaught of Seattle pressure all afternoon, Nadim’s 74th-minute header broke the deadlock and was enough to help Portland secure three points and snap a two-game losing skid.
Mobbed by her teammates and serenaded by a crowd just shy of 20,000 fans, it was easy to see what the goal meant to both Nadim and the fanbase. Following the match, then head coach Mark Parsons praised his team’s mindset and effort.
“[The player’s] focus was outstanding,” Parsons said. “If every player on and off the field puts that sort of attention to what they want to achieve, special things can happen. I think this is a magnificent win for us and three points going into the break puts us in a good position, but it also keeps a very talented team further back.”
Hayley Raso’s brace helps Thorns beat Reign 2-1 and pick up first win at Memorial Stadium
After several years of leaving Seattle empty-handed, the Thorns finally picked up their first win at Seattle’s Memorial Stadium in August 2017.
Hayley Raso scored a brace as the Thorns held the hosts off long enough to ensure victory, the 50th in club history.
Thorns beat Reign twice en route to 2018 NWSL Championship game
Both ensured a spot in the 2018 NWSL Playoffs, the Thorn’s home match against the Reign to close the regular season still had plenty of stakes attached.
A Portland win meant the two teams would face off again in the NWSL semifinal the next weekend in the Rose City. However, a Reign win would put that game at Memorial Stadium, making a path to the NWSL Championship game, set to be played in Portland, that much harder.
A dreaded trip to Seattle looked even more likely after Jess Fishlock opened the scoring in the 4th minute, but the Thorns soon put those worries to rest. Lindsey Horan leveled the score in the 30th minute, Tobin Heath added another in the 49th minute and Horan completed her brace in the 82nd minute as the Thorns won 3-1.
Heath and Horan both scored again a week later as Portland completed another comeback at Providence Park to advance to the 2018 NWSL Championship game. The fact that both pivotal wins came at the hands of the Reign made their path to the game even sweeter.