So, you guys probably haven't heard, but it's rivalry week. And there's no rivalry week like Cascadia week. That sentence doesn't really make sense. And neither does the animosity of the Portland-Seattle relationship! But we participate anyway. Good times.
First, before anything else, listen to a certain Sounder at Heart contributer on the air at KJR.
So, as part of rivalry week, NBC Sports is going to institute a new NFL Redzone-style feature between the two games on that channel this week. If you've got cable, tune in.
But before that, let's focus on our match. Americansoccernow has named their top 11 players in Cascadia. It doesn't look like we'll see Jay DeMerit for a while, so Hurtado or Traore may be a better fit. Additionally, I don't understand how Darren Mattocks doesn't make the Eleven. Despite some quibbles, it's a terrific list as well as a terrifying lineup. That squad could win CONCACAF.
As seen last week, the Timbers Army really misses Troy Perkins. He had a pair of very good games against Seattle and Portland this month. The Sounders have one day of full training between their dramatic Tuesday comeback and the first Cascadia match of the year. Caleb Porter talks with the Times about various things. Oh, and Joshua Mayers is sticking around. Glad to see someone in the Seattle sports scene that gives soccer some due is sticking around... *cough* Kelly *cough* Gasman. Go take a look back at how it all started here. Soundersfc.com's Roundtable Podcast previews and postviews. Finally, here's the Stumptown Footy perspective for this typically epic match.
Among the other matchups:
New York hosts DC United, easily the oldest MLS-based derby on the dockett this weekend. (Only one other game features two of the original teams, and I'm not sure if we can really call San Jose-Columbus a blood feud). This is the match that will show up on NBC proper, so tune in to boost those ratings.
Toronto will make the trip to Montreal, who recently knocked off both Seattle and Portland on the road in a two week span. It is my desire that such a factoid become a bit of trivia in the future. Toronto will be bringing record-setting support with it to Quebec.
Perhaps my second-favorite cup battle is that between Salt Lake and... I'm just going to call them Denver (because being named after a state is DUMB. Yeah, you heard me Washington Stealth). Outside of our little shindig, it seems like this is the one that the players and staff involved care about the most. And the fans certainly have interest as well. Maybe their broadcast partner will show enough passion to get the players' positions and numbers correct this time.
Sometimes, the rivalry doesn't always seem as... organic. And while the supporters may really be into the Cannon, videos like this shame the word "derby". Or "darby". Also on Sunday, LA hosts their cross-locker rivals, which theoretically should be a sellout. But Home Depot Center can host more people than the two teams brought in on their home openers combined. Maybe more people will show up now that AEG has decided to rescind their sale.
Chicago and Kansas City has become more fun since Sporting KC became more fun than zero fun. And lots of fun is a lot more fun than zero fun. Don't forget about New England and Philadelphia. The Revolution are trying to moneyball things, while also doing an excellent job of developing young talent.
CONCACAF Coverage: The Sounders had at least a handful of representation in Monterrey last week when the Sounders took on UNAL. Houston and Seattle had some decent cross-cheering going on, and it's a shame that only one of us moved on. YOU WILL BE AVENGED! Hopefully. Maybe. One of the heroes of Tuesday's match has seen himself back in the limelight. Djimi Traore's goal has been viewed nearly 800,000 times on Youtube in two days, and Grantland has written an article about the former celebrity. Former Sounder Herculez Gomez is looking forward to seeing the rave green again after more than a year.
Are you a US Soccer fan if you don't support MLS? That's the question this ESPN FC article asks. Eurosnobs need not apply. But regardless of the league you watch, everyone hates the referees. This article was linked earlier on Sounder at Heart, but if you missed it, it's worth remembering some context when cursing the Zebras.
There are two more suitors for MLS expansion teams making big moves this week. First, the Atlanta Falcons are looking to replace a building barely two decades old with a new 1 Billion dollar facility, and want to try to pull a Seattle by throwing a soccer team into the building on their off weeks. Then, in Sacramento, a local suburb has put together a deal to build a 100 million dollar soccer stadium with the hopes of bringing in top flight soccer to
replace pair with their Kings. And they don't mean NASL or USL.
Speaking of the Kings, Chris Hansen has released a rendering of the inside of his proposed basketball-hockey arena only a few blocks from the Sounders home at Centurylink Field. This was paired with the start of ticket reservations. Among the quotes in the article: The arena "will also provide you with the opportunity to create the loudes, most energetic atmosphere in yet another pro sport- or better yet two!"
It has been two years since the tsunami that devastated Northeastern Japan, particularly the town of Sendai. Vegalta Sendai has been my J-League team ever since, so I'm excited to see that a documentary is on the way detailing their recovery.
I leave you with an 80 yard strike. I still prefer Traore's shot, but... not bad...