This is not going to be your typical Aftermatch Aftermath*. Some would criticize me for messing with a working formula**, but there's something about these Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers games that gets me all worked up, generating a visceral response in my body unlike any I've experienced before.
It's not that I don't like the city Portland, because I do. I think it's beautiful, the food is great, the shopping is tax free, and it's got that distinct Pacific Northwest feeling that I love. But I really, truly hate the Timbers.
I hate their owner. Like big time. That asshat bought a billboard right outside Century Link Field in late 2010 time that simply read, "Portland, Oregon, Soccer City USA 2011." That got things started on the wrong foot for me. I'm sure others could complain about his silver-spooned entitlement, but that doesn't add to the fuel of my hatred fire. Just follow him on Twitter, triple dog dare you.
I hate their coach. Caleb Porter is so delusionally self-involved, I often wonder if he truly believes the bullshit that spews from his mouth. I hope he doesn't, truly, since if he did it'd just help to reinforce the idea that in order to succeed in this world you have to be a sociopath. Which sucks, because I'd really like to make a lot of money by being a shitty coach and not winning a lot.
I hate their players. Now, before I get lambasted for grouping all players together, I recognize there are some good men playing for the Timbers, honorable men who work very hard within their communities to make the world a better place for people who aren't themselves. But as soon as those good men put on the Timbers jerseys, they just transform into extremely unlikeable human beings. Am I biased? Of course. Does this bias cloud my judgment? Absolutely. Do I feel bad about it? Not even in the slightest.
In fact, it's because I hate this amalgamation that makes up the Timbers that makes the Portland and Seattle games so hard for me to enjoy. That pragmatism that I espouse, that nonsense goes out the door when these two teams play. The last thing I want to see is those Timbers fans and players happy at the expense of the Sounders. And just the mere thought of it pre-game worries me to my core.
I try not to attend the games in person. The ebbs and flows over the course of the full 90 hit me hard. It bothers me when I can hear the Timbers Army. It bothers me when the Sounders don't get a call go their way. It bothers me when we're not beating Portland's morale into submission.
But once Oba came into the game and the seas parted. The Timbers gave up on any semblance of trying to win and withdrew into their comfortable draw-shell. The inevitability of Sounders dominating the Timbers became apparent as shot after shot rained down on the Timbers goal like their tears rained on us from above.
And it was glorious.
It seemed unfair at times, and I loved it. Adrian Hanauer hasn't Moneyball'd MLS, he hasn't exploited some forgotten market inefficiency. He's simply assembled a roster full of highly talented and stylistically cohesive players who appear as a unit to be vastly superior to their competition under the guidance of Sigi Schmid. That the Timbers players said they felt outnumbered on the pitch is a testament to how amazing Seattle played in the second half.
All this in front of an international audience.
This Sounders team is something else. Whether we're watching something historic or not won't be determined until much later, but it's clear that we're watching something special.
*We can blame this on the fact that ESPN and my DVR weren't compatible after the former changed the start time.
**It works for me, at least.
A boy's best friend is his GIFs
It's Cascadia rivalry time!
All these Timbers fans making their way up from Portland.
Full stadium in Seattle? Pretty awesome.
This first half though.
Not sure what to make of it.
Wait, do you guys see that sunset?
Oh shit. Run for cover, Timbers! Oba's coming on!
You gotta fail sometime, Ricketts.
Yes! Dempsey goal!
It was Will Johnson who kept him onside?
Oh yes, Pappa! No mercy.
This team is just so much fun.
Are these... are these Timbers tears falling on me?
Not singing your damn songs now, are ya?
Good game, Portland. You availed yourself well.
But not in our house, you won't!
Have fun being stuck at 21 points.
Hope you enjoyed your trip to Seattle.
Now get the fuck out!