TIMBER(S)!!!

Portland Timbers

For Mother’s Day this year I got an “experience” from my daughter and son in law. I saw my first ever professional soccer game up close and personal at the Providence Park Stadium, home of the Portland Timbers. I’ve never really followed MLS soccer even though I have friends who argue the virtues of England’s Manchester United against any other team across the pond, but the game has fascinated me since I saw “Victory” back in the day. The story of WWII prisoners of war picked to form a soccer team to play the Reich’s finest was a good one, the game used as a cover for the planned escape of these same prisoners at halftime. If you’ve never seen it, do. Once you get past the idea of Sylvester Stallone as goalie for the prison team, the game is great fun to watch whether you understand the rules or not. But I’m getting away from my story.
The Timbers are a fairly young team in the MLS as teams go, but they have a great following here in Portland. They have their own “Army”, a dedicated section not for the faint of heart or anyone rooting for the opposing team. Sit with them, or next to them, at your own peril hearing-wise. They are loud. They sing. Constantly. Chant when they don’t sing, cheer when they’re not doing anything else. They have three ‘directors’ who guide them through the songs and yells, and their enthusiasm flows out into the other parts of the stadium. And the songs are catchy….especially when you hear them for about 90 minutes nonstop.
Our seats were in Section 95, second row. Right near one of the goals. We got there early enough to watch the teams warm up, our goal being the area for the L.A. Galaxy (no David Beckham now but still an impressive collection of muscle and agility), the day’s opponent. One thing I didn’t expect was the friendly(?) heckling that went on between the fans and the visiting team players. Oh yeah, the players gave as good as they got and could have busted a head or two in any bar fight. The Timbers are community-involved, so we saw lots of things on the big screen about their love for the people of Portland. And then the clock ticked down to the first 45 minute half, and we sang the National Anthem and settled down to watch. Our goal was the Timbers’ to defend for the first half, and the Galaxy managed to get down there far too often. But the half ended at 0-0. Two Timbers players went out injured in that half, and there was one Galaxy member who seemed to fall down quite frequently, but we rested our voices and waited for the second half to begin, hopefully with a Timbers score. Our goal was the Galaxy’s to defend this time around, so I got lots of Timber-time. Seeing soccer players move on television doesn’t hold a candle to watching their movement from two rows up.
The game ended at 0-0…or so I thought. Turns out there’s something called Stoppage Time in soccer. The clock is never stopped during regulation play, even when a player is down, so those seconds are added to the end of the game. Turns out we had five minutes to go…but no time countdown on the scoreboard, I assume the teams knew but I sure didn’t, because after The Galaxy scored and we all groaned, one Diego Valeri of the Timbers managed to score another goal! Yay. We were tied. Then I noticed all the players milling around the field, talking to each other. Color me puzzled, since I thought I’d missed something important. My daughter informed me the game was over. End of Stoppage Time. So, no victory for either team, but not a loss either. We headed for the train back home, hearing discussions about the various players…and the refs (soccer’s no different from any other sport…refs are blamed for all sorts of things!)…and who was playing who next week as the fans slowly came back to normalcy. Fun!
So, now I’m a fan. And I have a Timbers scarf to prove it :o)

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1 Comment

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One response to “TIMBER(S)!!!

  1. Thank goodness for Valeri! What a fun day! PTFC!!

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