Part of what makes a rivalry real is not just the desire to beat your opponent, it’s also taking some level of enjoyment in their failures. Anyone who roots for the Seattle Sounders or Portland Timbers knows what I’m talking about, even if they don’t like to admit it in mixed company.
But those feelings aren’t just limited to fans. Truly great rivalries permeate throughout the organization, and Brian Schmetzer has never hidden his personal stakes.
In case you needed a reminder, he gave us one on Wednesday when the cameras caught him thanking New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila for beating the Timbers in last year’s MLS Cup.
Petty? Sure. Understandable? Absolutely! The scoreboard isn’t all that matters in this rivalry, but any denial of bragging rights is huge. Not only did NYCFC deny the Timbers an opportunity to celebrate at home, it also ensured that the Sounders maintained their MLS Cup lead on their biggest rival.