For thirty years, I’ve waited for the Portland Timbers to return to the top flight of American soccer. Over the last couple of years, I’ve attended several Timbers matches as they’ve played at the nation’s second level. This year, at last, they’re a part of Major League Soccer, the country’s 15-year-old professional league.
On Thursday night, Kris and I braved the cold and the wind and the rain to catch the home opener at the newly-remodeled Jeld-Wen Field. Naturally, I shot some video:
When I bought season tickets last summer, I thought I’d managed to snag a pair that straddle the midfield line. They don’t quite but, as you can see, they’re close enough. (When I took Michael to see Sunday night’s game, he said, “These seats are fantastic.” And they are.)
After some pre-game festivities, the teams took the field. The Timbers scored quickly, but the goal was called back for some reason I’m still not clear on. No matter. They managed to tack on two more goals in the first half.
They tallied a third goal at the start of the second half before Chicago managed to find one of their own. (Actually an “own goal” from the Timbers — meaning, one of our guys knocked it into the net.) The Timbers held on for a 4-2 win.
Though Kris was cold and cranky at first, I think she warmed up as the match progressed. I may even convince her to join me for another game.
Sunday’s game was just as exciting. The Timbers dominated FC Dallas for most of the match, jumping to a 3-0 lead midway through the second half. But then Dallas seemed to find a spark. They fired home two quick goals — in the 83rd and 86th minutes — leaving the Timbers rattled. The entire park was on edge during the last few minutes of the game, but the Timbers managed to hold firm. Final score: Portland 3, Dallas 2.
The quality of play in these two matches has been outstanding. I loved it. So much better than last year. (Last year’s play was often sloppy, and I thought the coaching was terrible.) I’m eager to catch more games as the season progresses. The Timbers may not do very well this year, but that’s okay. I’ll have fun watching them anyhow.