2.16.2008

Can rivalries be 'created?'

One of the greatest things about soccer is the rivalries... feuds like Rangers-Celtic and Milan-Inter that surpass anything American sports have to offer. MLS has its share, as well. There's no love lost between New York and D.C. United, and the hatred San Jose fans have toward Los Angeles is nearly unmatched in U.S.A. professional sports.

On the other hand, there's the Rocky Mountain Cup. Put in place a few years ago when Real Salt Lake entered the league, this 'competition' pits them against the Colorado Rapids, their geographic neighbors some 400 miles away. And new for this year is a fabricated rivalry between Columbus and Toronto. (Maybe call it the "Suck Cup?")

Seattle, when we enter the league, will have no natural rivalries, with the closest teams geographically about 12 hours of driving away. The former USL rivals of the Sounders, Vancouver and Portland, don't have a realistic chance of entering MLS for at least 5 to 8 years. So would it be better to create a rivalry shortly after entering the league, which would provide some boost to fan support and interest, or wait and see if something develops naturally?

2 comments:

CarlosT said...

Definitely wait. While geographic rivalries aren't in the cards right now for Seattle, there will definitely be the opportunity for stylistic rivalries in the mold of the Inter-Juve or Arsenal-Man U rivalries.

It will all depend on how the team is put together and what sort of style we end up playing. Hopefully we'll find ourselves in the playoffs regularly and if that's the case, rivalries will develop quite naturally.

bob said...

Let the rivalries form on their own. It will happen. As for RSL/cRapids, there is more to that rivalry than just soccer or some silly little cup. Utah and Colorado are long standing rivals in nearly every category.
(Mountains, snow, commerce and industry, ski resorts, mountain biking, clean air, NBA, etc.)