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Sounders v Timbers Cascadia Cup Round One - rivalry beyond soccer, but mainly soccer

This rivalry between Portland and Seattle stretches to many things - Sounders/Timbers, Sonics/Blazers, Ducks/Huskies (Cougs/Beavs a bit too) beer, music, mass transit, whatever. But in American soccer it is the predominant rivalry, not just a rivalry.

We know many of the tales regarding the rivalry. While it isn't the match on NBC it is still a featured TV game this weekend on NBC Sports. There is a reason why this rivalry resonates not just here, but is recognizable around the country. Because in every corner of the country they have something similar. For soccer it is the biggest professional rivalry. Others are large, but on Saturday it will be a Cascadia kind of special.

Non-natives become natives partially due to the hate leveled on them from the stands. But like many of us, the city from which that team comes, is still a pretty neat place.

"I love Portland," Levesque said. "I love the city. I think Powell's Bookstore is one of my favorite spots in the world to just hang out. My experience off the field has been nothing but positive with the people and the city. I speak very highly of that city in general and enjoy spending time there."

For a native like Lamar Neagle it also has special meaning too. His foundational years were practicing with the USL Sounders.

"I'm a little bit more vested in the Northwest being from here. That rivalry always feeds me, especially knowing a lot more guys that played back in the USL Sounders," Neagle said to Sounder at Heart after practice today. "I kind of have a little bit more history than a lot of the guys here. Some guys get traded here and they think it is any other rivalry, but there's a lot that goes into it. People don't realize it."

One of the other rivalries may even be coming back. Sonics-Blazers will be another battle between the Willamette Valley and the Puget Sound Basin. But for Neagle, Yedlin, Hahnemann, Scott and the dozens with the club who learned of Cascadia only after coming to MLS this rivalry is soccer first, where it is unparalleled, for now. It is 80 matches, or 79, going back to 1975 with only small interruptions.

"It is a huge rivalry, but coming from a soccer background I love that this is a huge thing. Timbers and Sounders is huge hate relationship. I like it. It doesn't bother me that soccer is on the frontline of Portland-Seattle. I realize that Sonics-Blazers existed. I hope we get that back," Neagle dreams. "That would be huge. Basketball was my first love. My dad had season tickets so I was always at the games watching Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Rashaard Lewis, Brent Barry, all those guys."

When it comes to Portland v Seattle we'll argue about anything - soccer, basketball, beer, indie music, yachts, authenticity. Most of all though, soccer.

Round one. Round eighty-one. Saturday night.

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