Does The Northwest MLS Rivalry Really Need A Week of Their Own?

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.

44 thoughts on “Does The Northwest MLS Rivalry Really Need A Week of Their Own?”

  1. No, it doesn’t need a week of its own.

    This is just another bad “rivalry” idea, similar to the rivalry cups.

    Let the rivalry develop naturally. Vancouver, Portland and Seattle will ensure the rivalry exists because it’s convenient to travel to those 3 cities, whether they have a week or not.

    1. Right and wrong.

      Right that Don Barber doesn’t need to “spice up” this rivalry with an extra week to itself.

      Wrong that Portland/Seattle/Vancouver rivalry needs to “develop” naturally due to location and that they played together in USL – they were all in the NASL, went to the world bowl championships and the Whitecaps actually beat Pele and Beckenbauer Cosmos in 1979.

      Wrong to have MLS stuff the Northwest with the Heritage Cup with San Jose – let Sounders and Earthquakes fight over that. Supporters of the NW couldn’t wait and sanctioned with their own pocket money to get a Cascadia Cup in 2004.

      Dave Clark of Sounder At Heart has an excellant and comprehensive piece documenting this 30/40 year old rivalry.

    2. My view as on outsiders is quite different. If there’s one thing I think BRAZILIAN football should copy from MLS right away, is the Derby Cups.

      It’s just brilliant! Derbies are really a different tournament and must be treated that way.

      I would love to see my team interchange trophies with its rival (The derby is the Gre-Nal, by the way).


      1. I love your viewpoint. I wish we could get the Brazilian leagues up here.
        I played FIFA video game, so I started caring about the Fla-Flu.

        Which team is yours ?
        Have you ever been to the game ?

    1. The Cascadia Cup has been around since 2004 and is what the three clubs’ supporters actually care about, not the Heritage Cup.

    2. It’s also more than hardware that links these 3 clubs back to the old NASL days. Real accomplishments were made back in the 70s/80s – the Whitecaps had a young striker back then by the name of Peter Bardsley – the same who transfered to Liverpool subsequently and became a part of the core of the 80s Liverpool reign. The Caps have been and are still held together by their current manager Bob Lenarduzzi, and an original Whitecap player. Carl Valentin, another NASL Whitecap, is also on the current Whitecap management team. These are living legends for Vancouver fans and doubtless similar living memories are abound for Portland and Seattle fans – that’s why this is a living rivalry that began before Don Barber’s MLS times. In other words, welcome MLS, to the Northwest Rivalry.

      1. Welcome MLS to the TRIvalry !
        It has been almost 30 years and I still hate Tino Lettieri and his damn parrot.

        The Don doesn’t need to create anything and nothing needs to develop.
        The Sounders have been beating up on the Whitecaps for 111 games now. 111 games !

        Watching the Whitecaps fans invade like rats is something that has been going on for many decades in many different stadiums, in many different leagues and now my son will now enjoy it and loathe it.

  2. This is such a stupid idea. They clearly don’t need any help to make that a thriving rivalry up there. It’s been one for 30+ years, well before the time of MLS. In fact all this would do is probably hurt it. Having all the games in one week may put a squeeze on traveling supporters, who may have time/financial constraints that might prevent them from being able to make two road matches that close together.

    Terrible, terrible idea Don. Just like trying to manufacture a rivalry with the Red Bulls by adding NYC2, but that’s another discussion altogether.

    1. “In fact all this would do is probably hurt it. Having all the games in one week may put a squeeze on traveling supporters, who may have time/financial constraints that might prevent them from being able to make two road matches that close together.”

      AGREED! I know I would be there, but I am sure there are many people that would not be able to make each match in a week due to any number of reasons from money to work.

      Plus, if this is regular season play, are we supposed to just sit around for 2-3 weeks with no matched while everyone else catches up. . . BULLS41T!!!
      My other big concern is with the quality of play we will get out of this. . . It won’t be the starting team for all 3 matches… There will be a lot of subbing to avoid exhaustion and major injury. I don’t want to put 9 points on the line for a gimmick… It’s just a STUPID idea.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing the cascadia matchs held over a regular consecutive 6 week period however, weeks 7-12 for example. . . any 6 weeks would do.

      Seattle vs Ports?um
      Vancouver vs Seattle
      Ports?um vs Vancouver
      Seattle vs Vancouver
      Vancouver vs Ports?um
      Ports?um vs Seattle

  3. is reporting their might be a preseason round robin between the Trivalry too.

    But they are thinking of having it at Starfire ?
    That place holds 5k at most I believe.

    Sounders-Portland drew a lot more than that.
    Sounders need to turn Starfire into a real place ( 10-15k ) if they are going to use it as the alternate stadium. Might be hard is it is very hard to access.

  4. A Trivalry week is not about developing the Cascadia Cup rivalries.
    It is about promoting MLS and highlighting the passion and pride of the fans for all 3 clubs.
    Its not that the fans of these clubs are better or more passionate, just that this is what The League is trying to become and the Trivalry will help promote that.
    The possible ratings bonanza (in MLS terms) also cant hurt The League’s relationship with their TV partners.

    1. I think we all understand that, but 3 regular season matches in one week is the wrong way to go about it… I know the Sounders and other team players were hurting physically when they were playing 2 games a week with USOC, CONCACAF and MLS simultaneously… It’s just a bad, bad idea for a one week period.

  5. I think what would be better is doing a Rivalry Game of the week on ESPN. Schedule a game like. Not just the northwest rivalry (TFC/Columbus, Dallas/Houston, LAG/ SJ, ……..)

  6. Don’t need, don’t want. Spread this out over the season, don’t just blow it all on one week. I want to see the Timbers take the Flounders and Craps apart piece by piece, extending their agony over weeks and months.

    1. Take us apart piece by piece? Portskum couldn’t do it in the NASL or the USL so what makes you think they can actually do something in the MLS?
      Seattle vs Portskum, who had a better seasonal record each year that they played each other?

      08 seattle
      That looks like 11-5 to me

      Portskum doesn’t have a chance. . . I don’t see them winning more than 6 in 2011.

  7. Matt W,

    I like your post, but couldn’t they do that spreading it out too.
    Have MLS “create” rivalry month in their scheduling. Have ESPN promote it…ok that is not happening, but maybe a little bit of mentioning.

    Are people who watch MLS soccer actually commenting on MLS soccer here…Holy moly.
    See what happens Daniel ? Write it and they will come !

    1. I see it, I see it. I’m waiting for the next story or the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. I said I would write more stories outside of my Red Bull reports. Example A my friend.

  8. I totally agree with the article. There’s no need to “force” this rivalry into a “rivalry week” or anything else. It’s already a great rivalry as it is. Show the majority of the games on national TV and let the rest of the country enjoy them, but they don’t all have to happen in a single week (or two).

  9. Hatred has no place in our rivalries. I do take pleasure in my team defeating the others, but I don’t hate them. When did it become necessary to hate to have a rivalry?

  10. And those of us in Chicago will just hang out and wish there was a team within 400 miles of us.

    For the record, I don’t like the idea either. Seems too forced.

  11. Um please god no, don’t condense the only pre-existing soccer rivalry with history into one week. For the love of god. How about garber worry about four digit attendance in Dallas or some other noble cause.

  12. Sounds like this a non-story- it was maybe a pre-season tournament. By the way, I am a balanced schedule guy, but I have no problem with regionalizing the US Open cup draw to get more rilvary games in.

  13. I don’t even want to see a rivalry week in preseason… Not in a week span anyway.
    Leave it for regular season and USOC… and in 5 years when one of them eventually stumble their way into CONCACAF…

    1. Stumble? Who you talkin about? Seattle? They are qualified to their 2nd straight CCL.

      If you’re talking about the Tinkles or the Shitecaps, then I agree. Neither will make the CCL, ever. The Shitecaps are TFC’s bitch, and the Tinkles are… excrement.

      What you say devalues the Cascadia Cup because the Sounders won’t care if they don’t win the Cascadia Cup as long as they do good in the CCL. I mean really, if 1 team wins Cascadia, but the other 2 earned CCL berths, does the Casc Cup mean anything then? The answer is NO.

      F the Casc Cup. It’s all about the USOC, SS or Cup Final.

  14. Well it seems that no one likes the idea. That is too bad. That means MLS will do it no matter what! :( (feeling pessimistic today).

  15. yeah i’m not a big fan of “marketing the rivalry” it just seems kind of lame. i mean i think the nationally televised games should always be either rivalry games or star-studded games like rbny vs lag. i’m just sick and tired of hearing about the northwest. we get it, seattle, you guys have a lot of fans. but it’s a little ridiculous that in the pregame analysis some moron always has to say “and you can’t count out the fans at qwest there’s a lot of them and they’re loud!” these guys are professional athletes and are unbelievably focused on the game… i really doubt it affects them. but anyway, that’s my rant.

    1. This “marketing the rivalry” stinks of marketing people trying to justify their salary – leave the Northwest alone! In my mind, the MLS is picking up steam because:

      1) the product on the field is improving – picking up steam with real (albeit aging) football players like Henry.
      2) the league is finally going into real futballing towns, like Toronto, Seattle and now Vancouver and Portland.

      I guess Garber is trying to glean more “legitimacy” on behalf of MLS, with these artificial “rivalry week”. I personally think this legitimacy automatically comes when the product, like real grassfields, are on par with at least the second tier leagues like the Dutch and Belgian leagues. Combine that with real soccer attendence in say, the Northwest, would catapult the MLS in soccer fans’ minds higher than any TV advertising campaign squeezed into American television one week per year.

      1. Um, MLS is a second tier league in CONCACAF. Don’t compare it to the Eredivise…When MLS 1st started I thought the league would develop into a superior league to Mexico and rise to Eredivise levels (US players would only be transfered to big Euro leagues not Tigres Ingolstadt and Nottingham Forrest), but only 4/23 USMNT players were in MLS, so MLS isn’t even as good as the J-League, or the K-League.

  16. Actually, it is not a northwest rivalry. The Vancouver Whitecaps consider themselves to be in the southwest. Cascadia is a better name for the region, referring to the mountain ranged that popped up large volcanoes near each of the three cities.

    1. The term “Northwest” has nothing to do with Washington and Oregon being in the northwest United States… It is part of the name Pacific Northwest which is a geographical region of North American. It does has many deaputed boundaries and is as large as Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska, western Montana and the coast of northern California… One thing not in dispute is that of all definitions of the Pacific Northwest, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia are a part of it.
      So VBC can be southwest Canada all it wants… But it does not make them any less a part of the PNW.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *