When the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers take the pitch late Saturday night (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2) at Qwest Field, it won’t just be a hotly-contested Pacific Northwest rivalry, but the match will have London derby ties about it as well.
As pointed out by the excellent Sounders Blog, back in the 1995 FA Cup, current Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller stoned then-Chelsea forward, and current Timbers coach, John Spencer on a penalty kick attempt during a shootout. The video above captures the moment, which then led to a full-on fan riot between supporters of the two sides.
Joshua Myers of the Sounders Blog then talked to both parties about the moment:
Keller: “Yeah, we were playing Chelsea and John was the fifth shooter. We had scored the fifth, then I saved John’s penalty and we went through to the third round of the FA Cup, knocking out Chelsea. I like to remind him a lot when I see him. But like I’ve said, John’s a great guy. He’s a good personality for this rivalry and I’m just looking forward to Saturday and letting the play dictate what happens.”
Spencer: “I do remember it quite vividly. It was at Stamford Bridge and I think it was myself and Kasey on the field with the referee, and behind us right along the halfway line there were maybe 25 horses stopping the Chelsea fans and the Millwall fans from going into a riot. So as soon as I put the ball down I took three steps back, ran as quick as I can, hit the shot, it gets saved and I turned and ran as fast as I could up the tunnel. That’s probably what I remember more about the penalty kick more than anything.”
Excellent, excellent work by Myers in connecting the dots between the two derbies. Although it has to be asked; can the Portland-Seattle rivalry technically be called a derby? While there’s no disputing the intensity between the two teams, geographically the cities are over 200 miles apart, which, to my thinking, makes it a bit of a reach. But naturally, we’ll still be watching on Saturday night.