Friday, September 10, 2010 |
The Timbers planted their flag in Sounder Land via a billboard this week; the advert in question is the latest shot fired in a rivalry that has everyone with an interest in MLS drooling in anticipation for 2011. Timbers and Sounders fans just plain don't like each other, and their mutual animosity will finally be on display at the top level next year. From a neutral standpoint, the two (presumed) matches between the clubs next year will be must watch events.
The genius of this, from an MLS perspective, is that the rivalry is natural and predates the two clubs joining the league; no work was needed to drum up the hatred felt because it was already there. With Seattle's MLS success staring the Timbers and their fans in the face, and with the Timbers Army claiming preeminence in the quality of their support, the situation reaches critical mass next season. What was already enmity is something beyond that now.
And all of this, the rivalry, the cultures involved, the shots back and forth over who trumps whom, the signs extolling one town as "Soccer City USA" in the heart of the other town, is good for MLS. Toss in that other Northwest side joining up next year, and hottest region of American soccer will undoubtedly be situated north and to the left.
Does this latest bit of rivalrific ribbing on the part of the Timbers raise the game? Not really, since it's fairly par for the course. Perhaps the Timbers and their fans are bordering on some unhealthy obsession, or have already crossed that line. Maybe Seattle fans will claim that they're above these type of shenanigans at this point in the history of their club. Whatever the "real" story is, kudos to the Timbers for planting that flag. I hope the Sounders retaliate in kind, because that will just make it that much more fun for the rest of us non-partisans.