Sounders Insider

Has DCUnited become Sounders' top rival?

I'm writing for the Saturday paper about the unexpected rivalry that has sprouted between D.C. United and Seattle Sounders FC.

This was one of those rivalries you couldn't really see coming: popping up over DC getting home-pitch advantage in U.S. Open Cup, then the little war of words between Seattle and D.C. executives, then add a couple of very good games on the pitch, then Seattle taking something D.C. wanted (the Cup) and finally add in Josh Wicks stoming Fredy Montero. Mix it all together and -- whadayaknow -- a rivalry.

It's a good reminder that not all rivalries are geographic. And it reminds me of the futility of one of the very first blogs I ever wrote here, trying to anticipate who Seattle's top rivals would be in its first MLS season.

Here are the top five I predicted more than a year ago:

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: The nearest MLS city to Seattle geographically. This season’s expansion team vs. next season’s expansion team. And a history dating to the days of the North American Soccer League.

LOS ANGELES GALAXY: The big media center down the coast with the high-profile David Beckham and ambitions of becoming the glamour team of North American soccer. “Beat L.A., beat L.A. …”

TORONTO FC: This assumes Canadian fans come down to Qwest Field for TFC games in the same way that they follow the Blue Jays to Mariners games at Safeco. Traveling fans are great for juicing up a rivalry.

NEW YORK RED BULLS: Their first name is “New York” and their nickname comes from an energy drink. How hard can it be to hate them?

COLORADO RAPIDS: Well, maybe. Seahawks-Broncos was a fierce rivalry. Sonics-Nuggets and Mariners-Rockies, not so much.

The first two weren't bad guesses. The Earthquakes were a logical guess for the first season, and their 4-0 win and surprising claim of the Heritage Cup added a little spark that wouldn't have been there had the Sounders simply swept the series.

LA also made some sense, and that really is a rivalry that could develop into something special. It's also off to a good start, with controversial red cards highlighting each of the first two games.

Toronto? Maybe a little. New York? Eh. Colorado? Not yet.

Now that the Sounders have played everyone in the league at least once, I guess I'd put D.C. at the top, followed by Los Angeles.

How about you? As we countdown to another kickoff against DCU, who do you think has become Seattle's top one or two or few top rivals?

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