For both the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, this Sunday's 2 p.m. match (the first of three meetings the teams will have this season) is much more than just a game. As Michael Mahoney pointed out in his post this morning, the Sounders are in the midst of a six match losing streak, and Timbers are currently relegated to the bottom of the MLS Western Conference - meaning a win for either club is huge. The implications Sunday's match has for the Cascadia Cup makes it that much bigger.
That's right. It all started yesterday afternoon when Portland Mayor Sam Adams sent this tweet to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn:
(For those of you who don't know, #RCTID means "Rose City Till I Die.")
Adams' post refers to a wager Mayor McGinn made last year with his counterpart to the south. The teams squared off twice n 2011, and by the rules of the wager, the city that lost series would see its mayoral staff forced to don the winning city's team scarf for a day. In Mayor McGinn's tweet regarding the wager last year he simply said, "Not worried."
And McGinn didn't need to be. After the two teams played to a 1-1 draw at then Qwest Field, the Sounders would go to Portland in July and beat the Timbers 3-2, resulting in Adams adorning a Sounders scarf.
What's interesting this time around is that McGinn has not made mention on either his Twitter account or page on the Seattle City Government website that the wager is on again. Now maybe he's too busy dealing with anarchists, or maybe he made his message clear in this Twitter post from Wednesday:
We've become the city of innovation and creativity--people want to come here and live here and be part of it. ^sv— Mayor McGinn (@mayormcginn) June 21, 2012
If this wager is on, it would seem that McGinn really enjoys making wagers on sports teams with mayors from other cities. A year-and-a-half ago when the New Orleans Saints faced off with the Seahawks in the 2011 NFL Playoffs, McGinn made a wager on the game with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. In the wager McGinn offered up music "from the Seattle scene," a dozen Top Pot maple bars and a pound of smoked salmon, lucking out (the Saints were 10-point favorites) with a 41-36 Seahawks win.
Getting back to the Cascadia Cup, this Sounders-Timbers rivalry isn't only playing out on Twitter between McGinn and Adams. At around 9:30 a.m. this morning Jeff Merkley, a U.S. Senator representing Oregon, left this tweet for Washington Senator Patty Murray:
But Murray wouldn't have any of it, and fifteen minutes later she let Merkley know exactly where the Sounders are going this weekend:
So what does all this Twitter talk mean? Well, it shows that this weekend's match is about more than two teams trying to get out of slumps, more than earning points for the MLS Western Conference, and more than helping to decide the Cascadia Cup. This match is about city pride. It's about being able to say "my city is better than yours," without the other person having a leg to stand on.
Let's just hope the Sounders come out on top.