Best Move (Sports-Related)

Resurrecting the North American Soccer League’s I-5 rivalry

It took 16 long years, but Major League Soccer finally acted upon the realization that resurrecting the North American Soccer League's I-5 rivalry of the 1970s and early '80s would be good for business. The Seattle/Portland hate-fest has picked up where it left off, while up Highway 99, Vancouver, with as many victories as head coaches this season, has yet to prove it's MLS-worthy (the Whitecaps are lucky there's no such thing as Euro-style relegation). After just one Sounders-Timbers match, a ragged, ill-tempered 1-1 draw at a soggy Qwest Field in mid-May, Seattle soccer fans found their foil, as Portland head coach John Spencer, a sawed-off Scotsman, prickly and profane (he's the anti-Sigi), fueled the rivalry's fire with an array of pointed post-match comments. And if you think we unquestionably have the league's greatest home-field advantage, think again: The crowds at Jeld-Wen Field (the renovated PGE Park) are doing their best to prove that 19,000 Timbers fans—plus a guy with a chain saw—can be just as rowdy as 36,000 Sounders fans. Game on! And on! And on! MICHAEL MAHONEY

 
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