Until recently, Seattleites had plenty of reasons to feel superior: A diet that includes mushrooms and berries foraged from pristine local forests, a commitment to fixed-gear bicycles, fair-trade coffee, facial hair and the best attendance of any city with a Major League Soccer team in the country by a landslide.
This season, Seattle Sounders fans aren't feeling quite so special anymore, thanks to a new MLS club with an eerily similar, comparably rabid and equally rain-impervious fan base that also hails from a progressive city in the Pacific Northwest.
The Portland Timbers are 4-3-1 in their inaugural MLS season, tied with the Sounders in the Western Conference standings. And though their newly renovated stadium can't quite hold 20,000 fans (the Sounders drew a league-record average of 36,173 fans to Qwest Field last year) all four of the Timbers' home games so far have sold out.
Now, as Portland gears up to play Seattle Saturday for their first-ever MLS match, both camps are kicking around a new dilemma: How to work up a healthy hatred for fans who, in so many ways, look and think exactly alike.