Born in 1974 Sounders! Sounders!
And now we win like never before Sounders! Sounders!
We love our boys in famous green, the greatest team you’ve ever seen,
Seattle Sounders, born in ’74!
Though Seattle’s premier football club has only played in the top flight since 2007, its rich heritage is still prized by its famed supporters. Every match day starts with the highly attended march to the match, beginning at Pioneer Square’s occidental park, where the rave green faithful boastfully sing and wave their scarves on their way to CenturyLink Field.
On Sunday the march, the match, and the entire atmosphere felt like it had been turned up a notch. Our opponent, the Portland Timbers, isn’t liked very well in these parts. And though they only joined the league in 2011, the rivalry shared in the Northwest by these two teams is one of America’s greatest sporting fixtures. Dating back all the way to 1975, though not always played in what now is the top flight, the Sounders and Timbers have clashed for pride for a long time. The Emerald City supporters threw in a few extra chants geared toward our southern neighbors, including building a bonfire with the “Timbers on the top.”
The game featured in what has now become the Cascadia Cup, which includes the Sounders, Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps. Regular season results are tallied to determine who is the best team in the Pacific Northwest. Many cities in Europe will feature two professional teams, such as Everton and Liverpool vying for the Merseyside Derby in England, or Atletico and Real Madrid competing for the right as the best team in the Spanish capitol. Apart from New York City, as of now American soccer doesn’t field cities with more than one team. That is why the Pacific Northwest has become the home of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) closest thing to a true derby. European matches can split a city in half, but what is so great and unique about supporting the Sounders is that the entire city comes together hoping to come out ahead.
The game on Sunday, though it was only the 7th game of the MLS regular season, carried bragging rights strong enough to make it feel like a cup final. The match was loud as only Sounders matches can be. With the Timbers fans nestled up into a far corner of CenturyLink, there was a clear direction for the blue and green faithful to send the noise.
The 91st ever meeting between the sides saw Portland sit back, content to defend and use the pace of Darlington Nagbe and Maximiliano Urruti to conjure up a break on the counter attack. However, being at home let the Sounders be comfortable in possession, knowing the combination of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins could always lead to a chance. The first half didn’t present too many opportunities for either side, though Martins shot wide from close range, and Sounders winger Marco Poppa sent a curling effort just over the bar.
In the second half the Timbers were able to utilize their threat on the counter and had strong attempts saved by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The first came when Diego Chara advanced from midfield and fired a sizzling effort that was well held by Frei. The next chanced arrived when Portland beat Seattle’s midfield line and Nagbe was able to advance. His right-footed shot, struck with venom, curved just wide.
The breakthrough came for the Sounders just minutes after Portland substitute Fanendo Adi headed a golden chance wide from just inside the six-yard box. What seemed like a routine throw-in came all the way to Andy Rose, himself a substitute for Seattle, who shot low and hard to Portland keeper Adam Kwaresey’s left. The Ghanaian international saved well at the first attempt, but Dempsey was quick to pounce on the rebound and hit home for the Sounders.
The home side then had to rely on stout defending for the remaining ten minutes of the match. Adi came the closest to leveling the score with a header that came off the crossbar, but other than that Frei was able to see out most of the Timber’s crosses and through balls.
The Sounders claimed a 1-0 victory. Their back line, consisting of captain Brad Evans and veteran Zach Scott, who was standing in place of the suspended Chad Marshall, quelled any possibility of the Timbers getting back into the game. It was a solid performance, and one that is somewhat the standard in MLS. Consistent and tenacious defending, and being able to take an opportunity that comes forth to score.
41,000 of the best fans in country certainly helped, especially when there is no one else you’d rather beat.
Chancer may be reached at [email protected]