Wednesday, March 2, 2011

SOUNDERS FC: I-5 Rivalry continues

The rivalry between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers has been one of the best for years. The hatred between the Sounders group (Emerald City Supporters) and the Timbers (Timbers Army) has stemmed back to the USL days. Up until now, the support groups have mostly bashed one another through blogs and internet sites, but this Friday will bring them face to face.

The Sounders and Timbers will square off Friday at Starfire Complex in Tukwilla, Wa. Match time is slated for 7:30 and tickets are sold out.

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In many aspects the Timbers are like the little brother of the Sounders. Much like siblings, these brothers will stop at nothing to be better than the other, hoping to gain the approval of dad. Or, as in this case, the Pacific Northwest. Some might refer to this sibling rivalry as brotherly love, but it seems the only love these two teams share is their love for the game.

Similar to brothers intentionally pressing buttons in hopes of irritating one another, the Timbers recently pressed a monster-sized button that enraged Sounders fans and has added fuel to this already heated rivalry. The Timbers put up a billboard promoting Portland soccer in Seattle. This is the ultimate slap in the face. The billboard is less than a mile away from Qwest and it can be seen when parking on the south side of the stadium. Just looking at the billboard for Sounders fans is sickening. It screams disrespect. A disrespect that the Sounders look to take into their own hands this Friday.

No matter the outcome of Fridays match, I believe the Sounders still play the role of the older brother when it comes to this rivalry. Not only are they more experienced, but also I believe the Sounders roster is much deeper. The Timbers have stocked their back line with talented defenders that will more than likely give the Sounders forwards a run for their money, but the real question is for how long? If the Timbers do in fact manage to keep a clean slate through the first chunk of the match, they will most certainly be tested. What happens when the already tired and worn Timbers defense faces a fresh substitution such as Mike Fucito, Nate Jaqua, or perhaps even O’brian White? The Timbers don’t have the depth to bring in a sub that would effectively counter the Sounders substitution.

Though I believe the Sounders currently have the upper hand in this rivalry, it doesn’t mean it will last. My dad always told me that my younger brother would eventually catch up with me if I weren’t careful. I never paid too much attention to this until the day it happened, but by then it was too late. The Timbers have passed the drivers test and their maturation has put them on the same road as the Sounders, the MLS. It is now up to the Sounders to make sure they are the ones in the drivers seat while little brother rides passenger, or heck, put him in the backseat.

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