I want to wish everyone a happy and belated Happy New Year to all of our MLS Talk readers and podcast listeners. I hope we will have a great 2011 just as last year was for our American leagues and players. After a successful SuperDraft from Major League Soccer, it’s going to be great to see these new players get a chance to show their stuff during the pre-season and trying to make it with their new clubs.
But while we are concerned about the rest of the 2011 MLS regular season schedule and the dates for rounds proper to the 2011 US Open Cup, there is something I have been concerned about when it comes to the two new additions for the league in the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Let me say that we already know what a fantastic rivalry the Northwest will be when the Timbers, Sounders and Whitecaps get together and clash. If you talk to those who support these sides, it will be a nonstop discussion about how great their clubs are and how much hatred they have for one another. Just because these three sides played against each other in the USL-1st Division before getting their own form of promotion to MLS doesn’t mean it lost anything below.
I have talked to Goal Seattle blogger David Faulk, Timbers Army Supporter Steven Lenhart (no, not the player who was just traded to San Jose from Columbus) and Vancouver supporter Andrew Bucholtz and every time I have a chat with them or interviewed them on my internet radio show, you can already hear the disgust in their voices when they talk about their most hated rivals.
The only true way to showcase them to the rest of the country on how big and bad these matches are is to just show them on ESPN, FSC & Telefutura with no fanfare and to see what’s going to happen. To be honest MLS Commissioner Don Garber is trying to force something on us that doesn’t need to be forced at all. Just listen to the supporters and check out their respective blogs when you want to see vitriol and disgust when the Timbers, Sounders and Whitecaps are talked about.
There is so much history going on with these three sides in two states and one province that there is always something happening. Just because this is the first year of it in MLS doesn’t mean it wasn’t around. When the Philadelphia Union came in last year, Don Garber was trying to force the hatred that is normally seen between New York City and Philly. Now I have to admit it wasn’t Sixers versus Knicks, Flyers v Rangers, Eagles v NY Giants or Phillies against Mets. But if you give it some time and allow a nasty challenge to linger against both sides, you will have that match-up equal to those four pro sports leagues.
I promise you it doesn’t matter if it’s going to be the regular season, US Open Cup (not for Vancouver), a possible playoff match-up or by luck it could be the CONCACAF Champions League in the future, these three sides are truly going to show all of you how much hatred they have against each other on the field and in the stands.