When the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders are on the schedule together, one thing is for sure: Everyone expects a moment that can continue to write the story of this long, heated rivalry.
The next chance will come today when the Timbers host the Sounders, with live coverage on FOX starting at 2:30 p.m. ET. It will be the rivals' first match against each other this year.
It's notable because the dynamic has shifted now that the Timbers won the MLS Cup last year, and it has added a new dimension to this regional rivalry that predates soccer itself. Now, the time is ripe for new memories in a never-ending game of one-upmanship.
For the unacquainted, here is a look back at the most memorable moments in the Timbers-Sounders rivalry over the years.
The rivalry is heated enough during the MLS regular season, but during the U.S. Open Cup -- when a trophy is in much more immediate sight -- tensions tend to ride especially high.
That was the case in June of last year. The Timbers already had a two-man advantage in extra time after the Sounders saw one red card and an injury without any remaining subs. Then, the referee pulled out another red card on what replays showed was an obvious dive, taking the Sounders down to just eight men.
Sounders striker and captain Clint Dempsey had enough and responded this way:
The referee wasn't great at his job, but snatching an official's notebook and ripping it up into tiny pieces wasn't exactly a measured response. Dempsey was slapped with a suspension equal to either six Open Cup matches or two years of Open Cup competition, whichever takes longer. So, we will not be seeing Deuce in the Open Cup until at least 2018 and you can bet the Sounders hold a grudge about it.
It was 2009 when the Sounders had joined MLS and the Timbers were still in lower-division USL hoping to prove something. The two sides were meeting in Portland for an Open Cup match.
Whatever expectations the Timbers fans had were quickly dashed as it took the Sounders' Roger Levesque only 48 seconds to score. That was already enough to silence the Portland crowd, but it was his goal celebration that left the most lasting impression:
Levesque was chopped down like a tree from a teammate who was miming the actions of a lumberjack, an attempt to mock Timbers fans. It worked and Timbers fans to this day still hold a special bit of disdain for Levesque in the rivalry, in part because of that celebration.
When the Timbers won the 2015 MLS Cup, they were as excited as you would expect. They held celebration rally where players and staff offered their thank-yous and shared memories while fans chanted Timbers songs. It was just a night to honor all things Portland.
That is, until then-captain Will Johnson made sure everyone knew who had the leg up in the Timbers-Sounders rivalry. It didn't take much -- just a blunt and direct "(Expletive) Seattle!"
The fans loved it, as you might have expected, but we'll keep the profanity-laden cheer off this website.
It may seem sort of unsafe and probably strange to first-time visitors of Providence Park: Timber Joey has an actual chainsaw and he cuts actual slices off a log every time the Timbers score during home matches.
It's a unique tradition for a soccer team and striker Fanendo Adi seemed to think it would be pretty cool to try himself. After he scored against the Sounders last year, he hopped over the barrier around the field and grabbed the chainsaw next to the log:
Adi did not actually rev up the chainsaw and try to cut a log slice (which really was best for everyone's safety), but the gesture was enough and Timbers fans went crazy for it. Sounders fans? Not so much.
The rivalry between the Timbers and the Sounders has produced some creative (and brutal) tifo displays over the years from both sides.
These large painted banners are planned by fans weeks and even months in advance of rivalry matches. You just know the tifo artists want to make the most of their moment to get a good dig in.
The Sounders often have taken a high road, letting the Timbers know that they will crush them (obviously) while also celebrating a long history of soccer success in Seattle. Here is one such display from 2011, with the "48 seconds" referring to Levesque's fastest goal in Sounders history -- the one that just so happened to be scored against Portland:
On the Timbers side, they've had some hard-hitting ones. One example is from 2014, which depicted Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" setting the Seattle skyline on fire with a canister of gasoline. You can't get a much more direct visual in letting a city know how you feel:
But the one that really helped the tifo wars take off came in 2009 when the Timbers were hosting the Sounders for an Open Cup match. To the delight of fans, the Timbers Army came up with an animated tifo of sorts that showed Timber Joey chopping down the Space Needle in Seattle:
From that point forward, tifos became an even more prominent part of this rivalry and, for the Timbers Army that created the tifo, it started a trend of creating tifos with multiple dimensions instead of just single-panel banners.
In April 2014, the Timbers looked well on their way to victory at home against the Sounders. They were ahead 4-2 late in the second half and inching closer to a big win against their biggest foe.
But courtesy of a Clint Dempsey hat trick and a late penalty call, that never happened. The Sounders rallied late and managed to force a 4-4 draw. The Sounders and Dempsey came in as the villains and they played their role perfectly, stealing any remnants of joy from the Timbers in the match's dying moments.
Dempsey won't be able to go for a repeat because he earned a red card and is suspended for today's match. But hopefully someone else will step up and make things interesting.
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