Derbies are essential in to formation of football identities. In the US, where the game has faced a plethora of obstacles, the Portland-Seattle rivalry has gained unprecedented popularity. Most football fans are familiar with the great Derbies of Europe and South America. Titles such as Derby Della Capitale, El Clasico, and Argentina’s Superclasico, are permanently imbued into the collective memory football fans. However, few are aware that in the far corner of Northwestern United States, there is a fixture that embodies the underrated legacy of football in North America.
Known as the Evergreen Derby, the I-5 Rivalry, El Clasico Verde, and the Pacific Northwest Derby; the myriad of names given to this fixture reflects its turbulent history. The two sides first played each other on May 2, 1975, and since the fixture has extended over several leagues including the USL First Division, the A-League, the NASL and Major League Soccer. Now in its 41st year of history, the rivalry has come a long way from the 1-0 opener for Seattle in front 8,000 people at Portland’s civic stadium.
What is likely the wildest fixture between these two sides came on June 10, 1978, during the NASL era. The Timbers faced Seattle with the chance to equal the the record for longest winning streak in in NASL history. A season high 15,526 filled the seats at the Civic Stadium.