To kick off #BeatPortland week, where Seattle Reign FC and Seattle Sounders FC host Portland on June 30, Sounder at Heart is celebrating six days of memories against our Cascadia rivals. There are so many wonderful moments to choose from, and we won’t capture every Sounders/Reign victory, but we certainly can have fun looking back at some crucial victories and defining moments.
To start things off, let’s look back at two important 1-0 victories — close battles that relied on one breakthrough play to get the result for our beloved Seattle teams.
While high-scoring affairs are often thrilling for fans, derbies more often produce close, low-scoring battles. That doesn’t mean they are any less exciting — and these two one-goal victories are great examples.
Little Reigns Supreme
Defeating a rival is always fun, but doing it in their house ... is there anything better? On July 22, 2015, just a few weeks after the U.S. Women’s National Team won World Cup gold, Seattle Reign FC traveled down to Portland for a battle against their I-5 rivals. After a tough defensive battle that was scoreless at halftime, Kim Little finally broke through in the 59th minute thanks to a Messi-esque — no, Little-esque — run and smooth finish.
It wasn’t the first time Little broke Portland’s heart, nor would it be the last. In 2014, Little took advantage of a loose ball at half, ran it up the field, and buried an 89th minute goal to secure a 1-0 road win for Reign FC.
The goal in 2015 was more important, though. It left Portland in 7th place, five behind the last playoff spot. The Thorns would finish in 6th and miss the playoffs. While we have no conclusive evidence to support this, it is clear that Kim Little destroying them at Providence Park was their ultimate undoing.
Our Recap: Little Sorcery Earns Reign Win in Portland
Build a Bonfire
On August 25, 2013, in front of 67,385 fans at CenturyLink Field, Clint Dempsey made his home debut for the Seattle Sounders. But it was Eddie Johnson who stole the show on this evening, winning a foul call and then connecting on the free kick — flicking the game-winning goal into the net in the 60th minute.
Not only did that win feel really satisfying, it also put the Sounders into a playoff spot with 37 points and two months of play remaining. The postseason didn’t go our way that season, but many fans will remember this match for a long time.
Perhaps the boys were inspired by this massive tifo created by ECS, which read “Build a Bonfire.” So beautiful.
Stay tuned for even more Seattle v. Portland memories as we look back on the defining rivalry moments this week.