David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sounders - Timbers: Get in your car!

As we count down the days to the Sounders' 2008 home opener at Qwest Field against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, I'll be blogging about moments in the history of the derby. This is entry #2. (See #1 here). Watch for more this week.

North American Soccer League writers began to take notice of the derby in 1977. These articles give you some flavor for the good old 70's.

In 1977 Portland hosted Soccer Bowl. In this famous match Pele played his last pro game as the New York Cosmos nipped the Sounders 2-1 at Civic Stadium to win the League Championship. To this day some Sounders diehards have not 'forgiven' Timbers fans for cheering for the Cosmos. To be fair, the large majority of that sell-out crowd was pro-Seattle. Thousands came by car to see Seattle's first finals appearance take place in the home stadium of a rival.

The NASL years saw thousands of fans travel between Seattle and Portland for matches. Huge numbers by today's standards, thousands on buses, train and by car. The biggest crowd to see the rivals play came in 1979 at the Kingdome when 34,000 fans (including around 5,000 from Portland) watched Seattle handle the Timbers 5-1. See the video highlights below.

Though the NASL rivalry continued until the Timbers folded in 1982, it never reached the heights on the pitch from 1975 or beyond the crowd in the stands from 1979.

What was the NASL Timbers last game ever? A home match against the Sounders, of course. 9,500 fans saw Seattle usher the Timbers out the same way they had welcomed them in, with a 1-0 loss to their rivals at Civic Stadium. This time Mark Peterson scored the Sounders' winner.

While the Timbers were folding the Sounders would go on that same year to a stunning playoff series win over Fort Lauderdale with heroics by Kenny Hibbitt. Eventually Seattle lost Soccer Bowl '82 to the New York Cosmos 1-0.

The next year the Sounders would also crash out of the league, which closed its doors after the 1984 season.

The two cities would meet again briefly in the late 1980's, but that's for next time.

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