Coach Little knows that a team from Portland is a rival. “They’re our rival. It doesn’t matter if it is the U-15s in the Academy or the First Team. It’s our rival,” Little said about the history of Seattle/Tacoma v Portland Timbers.
That rave green TAC patch on the right sleeve of our jerseys is a reminder of our connection to the Seattle Sounders FC organization. With players coming from the Sounders Academy and earning contracts with Sounders FC that connective tissue is strong. On the pitch it is no more apparent than when Tacoma plays the Portland Timbers 2.
Over the past year, the Sounders Academy is 5-1-0 against Portland in USSDA action. Each age group has a single match remaining against their rival. S2/Defiance are 12-3-0 in all competitions and only have a single home loss. The First Team dominates Portland as well with 53 wins in the 102 matches played.
“Motivating the players is not going to be an issue for that game. That’s just the reality. I’m sure it’s the same for Portland.” Little knows.
Coaches Little, Wade Webber, and Josh Ford came to Tacoma via the Academy. Nine of the 18 Tacoma Defiance players came through the Sounders organization. Three others played with the squad last year. This is a rivalry that is part of who they are.
Nick Hinds first beat T2 back on July 24, 2016. He was a 90th minute sub in a 1-0 win. Sam Rogers and Shandon Hopeau earned their first USL victories over Portland on April 2, 2017. Azriel Gonzalez joined the ranks on May 5, 2017. Ray Serrano notched his first USL win over a Timbers side on March 16, 2018 when Cheney Stadium hosted its first season of USL action.
There’s history, hunger, and the home pitch of Cheney Stadium to give some comfort. It’s a huge game on May 12 at 1:30 p.m.
“It’s a big game. Obviously, we’ve been away for five games so we are relishing the opportunity,” Little said about returning to Cheney Stadium for a match against our biggest rivals. “From day one, when you come to the Sounders, you know they are a rival and it’s big a big game.”
Ignore the 2019 records, 12-3-0 and decades of dominance are on the line.