Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders: Examining America’s Best Soccer Rivalry

You go to Portland to experience hipster Disneyland: brewery every quarter-mile, menus that feature meat wrapped in more meat and vegetables fried in animal fat.

If you’re an East Coast native like myself, you go to smirk at the earnestness while enjoying its products. And, increasingly, if you’re an American soccer fan, you go to Portland because the city might be revolutionizing the MLS from the inside.

That was the real reason I traveled to Portland to watch the Timbers battle their bitter geographical and cultural rivals, the Seattle Sounders, on June 24.

Portland-Seattle has quickly become the gold standard—an example of how to market and root for the MLS. 


Part I: Beginnings

The Portland Timbers name dates back to 1975 with a North American Soccer League (NASL) team, and was transferred to the United Soccer Leagues (USL) before catching on with the MLS.

The city of Port...

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