The first MLS match between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders has dominated the headlines heading into this weekend’s slate of games (11 pm ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).
One of the most colorful aspects of the rivalry between the two teams has to be the competition among supporters. In this article you’ll see the gamut of insults and name-calling: “Hippies … sellouts … wannabes … icky trailer trash … customers.” All in good fun.
We’ll likely be treated to some creative tifo on Saturday night. The rivalry brings out the best of both groups. Take this iPhone app called “Timbers Axe” where mascot Timber Joey uses extreme means to ensure “Flounders” don’t invade his rose garden.
In the Pacific Northwest, they look at the Sounders vs. Timbers matchup as the opportunity to reignite the rivalry between the two cities, which had waned in recent years. On Saturday night they expect “the passion in the stadium will be every bit as inflamed as it is at Camp Nou,” Barcelona’s home stadium.
One columnist takes a unique angle on the inter-city rivalry, wondering how Seattle Sounders part-owner and Portland Trailblazers owner Paul Allen feels about it.
For those who need proof of the rich history that exists between these two clubs, here’s a list of the best moments as told by the protagonists themselves. One matchup was even played with a sprinkling of volcanic ash. Then there’s the celebration by Portland’s public enemy No. 1, Roger Levesque, in which he mimics a tree falling. (VIDEO)
Portland manager John Spencer does not have pleasant memories of Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller. There was the instance of an English FA Cup penalty kick shootout, in which Keller saved the decisive PK, taken by none other than Spencer himself. Here’s the video of the play after which a brawl ensued. (VIDEO)
If you’re still not pumped up, here’s one last video which should do the trick. (VIDEO)
The Houston Dynamo are on the road to face Real Salt Lake (9 pm ET, Fox Soccer) and their new Spanish forward Koke is hoping his bags get to Salt Lake City. Last week for his MLS debut, he played using a teammate’s pair of shoes which were one size too small.
Columbus Crew leading scorer Emilio Rentería was known last year as “part winger, part striker and part circus strongman.” But the Venezuelan is no longer plowing through tackles like he once did and it’s paying off to the tune of goals. The Crew travel to face San Jose on Saturday night (10:30 pm ET, Direct Kick and MatchDay Live).
US national team manager Bob Bradley will be in DC this weekend for the match between D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids (7:30 pm ET, Direct Kick and MatchDay Live). Speculation is that he’s there to see Charlie Davies and a handful of other players.
One article entertains whether RFK Stadium, where the DC vs. Colorado match will be played, can be demolished and replaced by a new MLS stadium.
The Philadelphia Union, who travel to Frisco, Texas, to take on FC Dallas on Saturday (8:30 pm ET), are still struggling with their forward line and they’re convinced it’s for a lack of chemistry among the strikers.
Another team struggling in attack is New England. The Revolution get set to welcome the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps to Gillette Stadium this Saturday (7:30 pm ET, Direct Kick and MatchDay Live) and any Revs players thinking that Steve Nicol made a hollow threat to bring in more creativity into the team: The manager was on a scouting mission on Thursday.
The Whitecaps, who have not won since opening day, are beginning to get questions about whether it’s time to change formations. While manager Teitur Thordarson doesn’t think so, Davide Chiumiento is not of the same opinion, at least when it comes to his spot on the field.
Another team that may need some tinkering with tactics is Sporting Kansas City, who travel to face the LA Galaxy (10:30 pm ET, Direct Kick and MatchDay Live). In Kansas City, they’re campaigning for one specific move to be made in the midfield.
As Chivas USA travel east to face the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening (7 pm ET, Galavisión), one of their players is not doing any talking. Argentine Marcos Mondaini refused to comment on the suspension handed down by the league but reports are that he has spoken twice to compatriot Javier Morales, whom he injured on a tackle last weekend.
They’re not staying mum in RSL camp, however, where midfielder Will Johnson said he felt the additional three-game suspension was a slap on the wrist and that it’s no coincidence that Morales is out with a broken ankle.
It’s also no coincidence that Anderlecht’s young soccer prodigy, 17-year-old Romelu Lukaku, says he would consider a move to MLS in the future. There’s ex-Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan who has already sold him.
Another former MLS star could be back soon enough as Alecko Eskandarian is reportedly in the running for a new job with a league club. Find out more about the move here.
FC Dallas winger Brek Shea is going to be here for a while. He signed a contract on Thursday that will keep him in MLS through 2015, giving him plenty of opportunity to spend a whole hour on a live chat with fans at 2 pm ET today.
While Shea is already an old face in MLS circles, the number of new faces making an impact in MLS is arguably unprecedented in 2011. Here are 10 names you should grow to learn based on this first part of the season.
The international soccer scene will focus on Manchester, England, this weekend. The entire city may be celebrating by the end of Saturday with Manchester United one point away from the EPL title and Manchester City facing Stoke City for the FA Cup. Meanwhile, two more EPL hopefuls go at it today as Reading host Cardiff City in the EPL promotion playoff semifinal first leg (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).
Lastly, a club that is increasingly gaining attention for the wrong reasons: magicJack of WPS, which is the first team in soccer history to be docked points for reasons including failure to provide match videos.
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