PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Timbers head John Spencer was bemused, to say the least, by the explanations coming out of the Seattle Sounders locker room after Saturday night’s 1-1 draw at Qwest Field.
The Timbers coach took the opportunity of Tuesday’s post-training media session to get a last word in — and perhaps stoke the flames of the rivalry in the process.
It began innocently enough, when Spencer was asked for his thoughts on Columbus, who Portland host on Saturday. But he wanted to offer his thoughts on comments made by Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, who said he thought “the weather suited [the Timbers] a little bit more in the sense that they just try and go direct anyway to a certain extent, to knock it up to their big men.”
"I was disappointed with their assessment of the game,” said Spencer. “I guess that’s their prerogative. I think if it’s too wet up there for them to play soccer, they may want to move that franchise because it pisses down rain nearly every time I’ve been in Seattle. Obviously, to say the conditions suit us more than it suits them, it blows me away.”
Spencer took exception to what he viewed as the Sounders’ excuses — comments about field conditions, injury problems and style points — for their inability to defeat the Timbers.
“It was like they had 50 excuses written down before the game about why they didn’t beat us three- or four-nil at home,” Spencer said. “Of the four players [Schmid] mentioned, three of them wouldn’t have made the [starting] team anyway.”
The Timbers coach has expressly refused to make excuses when the team has struggled, particularly in road losses at Colorado and the LA Galaxy. He distanced himself from the term “expansion team” before training camp began because it invites excuses.
Spencer said he felt as calm Saturday in Qwest Field as any game the Timbers have played this season.
“Never once did I feel we were in any trouble of losing the game at all,” he said.
Then, there was the notion that the Timbers are scoring goals cheaply through set pieces.
“Talk about set pieces — I think there was 11 goals this weekend scored from set pieces in Major League Soccer,” Spencer said. “I think we’re going to call the league as soon as the training’s over and ask them to deduct David Beckham’s goal and Landon Donovan’s penalty kick and the other set pieces that were scored because it seems Seattle are not happy that teams like us can score goals from set pieces.”
Spencer has caught the spirit of the rivalry with Seattle and his words Tuesday begin the buildup to the July 10 rematch at JELD-WEN Field.
“Next time we go up there, we’re going to take plenty of towels so we can dry the field off for them before the game,” Spencer said “And take plenty of tissue paper so they can dry their eyes after the game.”