Live From Hate City

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Image via Wikipedia

In a striking dereliction of blog duty (“THE DEADLINE IS ALWAYS NOW!”—A. Sullivan), the Renegade One missed the riveting USA/Brazil Confederations Cup final on Sunday. (Whatevs—I was at the beach.) While Team America Fighting’s run to the final and first-half heroics against the most iconic team in the world were undoubtedly exciting, this remains the Seinfeld Cup—a tournament about nothing—and so must, must, must be kept in perspective, no matter how fetching the phrase “Miracle on Grass” looks in print. Save such talk for the Jules Rimet trophy itself, I say.

Still, this performance should by rights serve the Americans very well. Whether or not something called “momentum” actually exists, the experience of scrambling past the African champions in a must-win scenario, devising a clever strategic plan to take down the hottest team in the world and standing squarely against the side that defines the game should all amount to a transformative experience for a team that struggles to cope with Costa Rica away. That an American team can walk off a field in genuine and justified frustration after a 2 : 3 loss to Brazil constitutes a definite step forward.

Now, to something completely different. Tonight, our beloved Portland Timbers take on the loathsome Seattle Sounders in a (sure to be) heated US Open Cup match. The Open Cup, a national tournament dating back to 1914, is actually one of the more venerable titles in world soccer, though repeat winners such as Philadelphia Ukrainians and Maccabee Los Angeles somehow failed to earn a place in mainstream sporting lore. More to the point, tonight represents one of those unique-to-football moments: a full-scale competitive match between a team from our national second division and Major League Soccer. The Sounders and Timbers share a history of venomous mutual hate—the Montagues and Capulets of Pacific Northwest soccer really just do not get on. Since the tattered old First Division Sounders gave away to the shiny, pre-fab, XBox-sponsored MLS Sounders, the antipathy between the two fanbases has only deepened.

The Timbers are hot right now, though it’s always tough for a scrappy team from USL-1 to overcome an MLS squad. I expect the Timbers Army, Portland’s mob-scene of a fanbase, to pull something truly special tonight. See this space for details ASAP.  


About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
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