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A PACIFIC PASSION PLAY
Grant Wahl
May 23, 2011
Big-time clubs left Portland, Seattle and Vancouver 30 years ago, but their fans never did. Now the teams are back in MLS, and their reborn rivalries are turning the region into a hotbed of the sport
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May 23, 2011

A Pacific Passion Play

Big-time clubs left Portland, Seattle and Vancouver 30 years ago, but their fans never did. Now the teams are back in MLS, and their reborn rivalries are turning the region into a hotbed of the sport

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"Please: Don't make it like Seattle."

Portland's mayor (played by Kyle MacLachlan) on commissioning the city's new theme song in the IFC series Portlandia

The moment when the Pacific Northwest succumbed to soccer nirvana came during—what else?—a steady downpour at 8:03 p.m. last Saturday at Qwest Field in Seattle. On the night the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers resumed the fiercest rivalry in American club soccer, a sellout crowd of 36,593 watched in awe as the Emerald City Supporters unveiled a 23,000-square-foot display of nine green-and-blue banners telling the pictorial story of the Sounders' DECADES OF DOMINANCE over their Oregon neighbors—like cave paintings of a modern-day sports culture.

Over in the stadium's northeast corner more than 500 members of the Timbers Army had their own defiant banners proclaiming themselves KINGS OF CASCADIA and announcing WE'RE THE TIMBERS ARMY. WHO ARE YOU? And if the visuals weren't enough, well, there were the songs. Like the one Portland fans sing to the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine:

Build a bonfire, build a bonfire,

Put Seattle on the top,

Put Vancouver in the middle,

And we'll burn the bloody lot!

Or this serenade from Seattle fans:

Port-scum, Port-scum,

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