Sounders Insider

History lives in 123rd Seattle-Vancouver derby

Yes, I know those are old logos, but isn't it the history that makes tonight's Seattle-Vancouver match feel special?

(Plus, I love both logos ... especially that old Whitecaps crest, which is one of my favorite crests anywhere anytime.)

So, I offer those logos and the quotes below in honor of two of our living links to the history of this series -- the great Alan Hinton and Jimmy Gabriel -- who have been so gracious with their time and stories.

JIMMY GABRIEL On the history of the Cascadia Cup rivalries) I came here in ’74. Vancouver were playing at that time, and then Portland came in the following year. And it was tremendous. When we played those teams, it was like, oh man, you had to win or die. You had to, jeeze, get ready for it. They were great games because the crowds were so into it and also because the teams were so into it. It was fantastic.

ALAN HINTONOn his time as player/coach in Vancouver: I had the best time. Anytime you retire and have another chance to play, it’s a gift every day. And it was so much fun being assistant coach, and I played almost every game, and we had a 24-6 record. The first game that season – 78 – the crowd was around 11,000. By the end of the season we were selling out 33,000 every game. And it was just wonderful. We won the division, I broke the assist record in the league of 30, and I loved it.

On the Whitecaps' song) I’m an old choir boy, so I could sing pretty well, especially we’d had a couple of beers. So anyway, we sang this song: “White is the color, soccer is the game, we’re all together, winning is our aim, Cheer us on through the sun and rain, Whitecaps, Whitecaps is our name.” And I tell you what: We song 10,000 copies in the first 10 days. Honestly. It was a very catchy song. (Updated version here. I'm sure it suffers immeasurably from the lack of the beery actual Whitecaps, but it retains its catchy-ness and certainty gets you in the mood for pub and football.)

On Vancouver fans: The people were wonderful, the fans. We went from 10,000 to 33,000. I’ll never forget when we won the Western Division we had the trophy. And on the far side of the field – and I used to love being on the far side of the field at Empire Stadium because the fans were great with me. ... I had a lot of fun. The town is great, the fans are great. … The fans and the media, they were good. And if you had fun with them, like I try to do, they were great with me. And at the end of that year the league folded, and then there was no more North American Soccer League. But great days, tremendous talent.

On whether he will have any divided loyalties tonight:I’ve lived in Seattle now – I did go to Vancouver one year -- but I’ve lived in Seattle since November of ’79, so my allegiance is completely with the Sounders. I wish the Whitecaps all the best, but I hope it’s a great game on Saturday night, and it will be, and it will bring back a lot of memories and I’m looking forward to seeing the Whitecaps (supporters) with their banners and making a lot of noise and having a good time. There’s never been a history of issues in terms of problems. … For me it’s all happening again: It’s the I-5 rivalry, and it’s wonderful.

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