As we prepare for the first ever MLS regular season, competitive match up between the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders, there's bound to be a single name that will constantly pop up on media and fan's minds: Roger Levesque (pronounced luh-VECK), the Seattle Sounders second-run, former D2 player. To put it succinctly, of all the Sounders players he is, bar none, the most hated amongst the Timbers Army. Yes, even more so than Fredy Montero.
It started back in 2004 when Levesque dealt a particularly hard "stomp" against perennial Timbers man Scot Thompson, who, as many of you may know, is a huge favorite amongst the fans, team and even the city at this point. Such a bad move by Levesque has forever earned him the ire of the Portland Timbers faithful even during the small, very small, window where he actually played for Portland.
Since then he's gone on to be somewhat of a "Timbers-killer" in that he has a solid record of scoring against Portland. Even last year, when the Seattle Sounders came down to then PGE Park for the US Open Cup match up it was Roger Levesque who scored the Sounders singular goal which would eventually allow the game to go into penalties where Seattle would win.
Such a reputation has now been brought up to the major leagues with many organizations, even MLSSoccer.com, hyping Levesque up as a potential Timbers killer this Saturday. There's only one problem with that: he's used to playing against the division 2 Portland Timbers.It's easy to get dragged into the hype when everybody is attempting to play up the rivalry between our two cities, but, in reality, Roger Levesque isn't really a threat against the Timbers current line up. Sure, any player can be dangerous given the right opportunities and should he get any minutes, you can bet your ass he'll be aiming to continue the streak. Still, the Timbers aren't the same team as they were in year's past. The level of skill within the squad he markedly higher and breaking down the defense while easy enough for the Los Angeles Galaxy, will certainly be formidable against the likes of Roger Levesque.
So, while all the hype is going on between the two teams this week and on Saturday, I just feel it's important to bring everything back into perspective. Roger Levesque is not the Timbers most dangerous enemy, far from it in fact. He just happens to be the most bankable name for media hype and coverage that the marketing machine can rely on given his history. In fact, there's a good chance he won't even play on Saturday.
I'll be working on my preview which will go live tomorrow. Until then here are some players fans and media alike should absolutely be looking at as problems: Alvaro Fernandez, Erik Friberg, and Brad Evans. Each of these players are far more dangerous than Levesque.