Soccer Culture

30 May 2:12 pm

Throughout the 2012 season, the Vancouver Whitecaps have been examining the supporters and culture in the various cities their team travels away to. This past weekend, our Cascadia rivals were here in Portland and the learned Peter Schaad--voice of the 'Caps--did a great piece on our very own Timbers Army. "If you've always dreamed of experiencing the beautiful game's supporters culture at its finest, you could go to Europe or South America," Schaad intones. "Or, you could travel down the I-5 and catch a game at Portland's JELD-WEN Field."

For Timbers supporters, new and longtime, it's a quick look into what makes the Timbers Army so unique.

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30 May 12:49 pm

 Aragorn = Excited Soccer Fan

While tickets remain for tonight's 7:30 p.m. U.S. Open Cup match against Cal FC (Get them at the JELD-WEN Field Box Office), you may find yourself far from the friendly confines of the Rose City and wish to follow the match via our webstream at

This is great. However, we do ask that you be careful of where and how you watch the match. Actor, poet, painter, son of Arathorn, King of Middle Earth, and die hard soccer fan Viggo Mortenson had some issues of late while watching a live webstream of his beloved Argentine side San Lorenzo as he was waiting for a flight in the Washington, DC airport. Mortenson, who grew up in Argentina, was transfixed as he watched San Lorenzo fight to stay in the top flight. When they scored, he celebrated--much to the consternation of airport security.

The Hollywood Reporter talked about it and apparently Mortenson has a column for the San Lorenzo website whereupon he wrote:

“I screamed GOAAAAAAL with all my soul, and started jumping around the place like a frightened deer among the passengers and their suitcases,” he wrote. "People can't understand why am I screaming "PIPI!" [a player’s nickname] over and over again, and whether it’s because I’ve pissed myself or maybe I got hurt someway,” he added.

We're all for showing raucous forms of celebration. Just be careful not to scare fellow travelers. Tip of the hat for the link to @ShawnLevy--another soccer/film fanatic--who first tweeted about it.

Timbers vs. Cal FC webstream kicks off tonight at 7:30pm

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at)

28 May 9:45 am

Two second-half goals, first by Timbers forward Kris Boyd and then from Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks, led to a 1-1 draw between the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps on an evening that had it all: intense rain, hail and lightning, not to mention an action-packed final 45 minutes.

The image is made up of 570 individual images taken throughout the first half and stitched together to form one large image. The final high resolution picture is 118,188 X 49,694 pixels or 5.8 gigapixels.

Find and tag yourself through Facebook by dragging the red marker over your picture to share with your friends and family.

25 May 4:22 pm

Waiting in line. It can bond people together. Timbers fans have been known to wait in line for hours, sometimes even days, to get their preferred seat before a game. It's a situation that people run across at Disneyworld, music festivals, and the like.

But here at JELD-WEN Field, that line waiting sometimes comes with some benefits. writes in a recent article about the re-imagning of the line waiting experience and how the Timbers are doing it a bit differently

Major League Soccer executives are upping their game when it comes to line management. The league’s Portland Timbers club, for instance, handed out free Stumptown coffee and pizza, and a few of the team’s players joined fans waiting in line to sign autographs. The Timbers club’s owner Merritt Paulson even personally delivered coffee and doughnuts to line waiters during one cold morning.

So who knows? Next time in line, you never who you may run into.

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at)

22 May 9:21 am

With yesterday's announcement that the Timbers would be hosting either Cal FC or Wilmington Hammerheads in a third round match of the U.S. Open Cup on May 30, it's a good time to read up on just what is and why the U.S. Open Cup matters. We'll be having more in the lead-up to next week's match--we've got Valencia tomorrow in a friendly and a Cascadia Cup clash with Vancouver on Saturday--but Steven Goff of the Washington Post wrote a great love letter on Monday to just why he likes this unique soccer event: 

I have a confession. I like the U.S. Open Cup. There, I said it.

[The] Open Cup offers the small clubs a long-shot dream of bumping off high-caliber opponents and advancing to international competition (the CONCACAF Champions League).

Best of all, the Open Cup creates David vs. Goliath matchups unseen in American sports outside the NCAA basketball tournament. One particularly dreamy pairing is close to coming to fruition. On Tuesday night, the Aegean Hawks, an amateur outfit from the D.C. area, will play the third-division Richmond Kickers at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County.

Take a few moments and read the whole thing--the U.S. Open Cup has a tremendously rich history. While the Timbers lean more towards the Goliath in their upcoming match next week, it certainly doesn't discount the interesting clash of teams across American soccer. This year's tournament is the 99th edition of the competition. Who says there's no soccer history in the U.S.?

Starting at $10, tickets go on sale to the general public Wednesday at 10 a.m. through the JELD-WEN Field box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at or by phoning (800) 745-3000.

18 May 3:16 pm

KickTV really went all out on this one with the graphics . . . . (wink)

Jimmy Conrad does expertly break it down though. Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich is tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. PT on FOX.

Who you got?

16 May 5:35 pm

The old saying that "if you want to be Timbers Army, then you already are," makes for an incredibly easy recruiting tool. The North End at JELD-WEN Field is always packed with legion upon legion of fervent Timbers Army fans.

But what of frontier outposts? How do fans who have chosen to follow the Timbers band together to support their team in the furthest reaches of soccer fandom?

NYC Loggers claiming their territory Photo:

In Manhattan, the NYC Loggers are one group that have taken up the cause. A friendly band made up primarily of ex-Portlanders who now find themselves in Brooklyn and Manhattan, the Loggers set up camp inside the Football Factory at Legends in the heart of Midtown to cheer on the Timbers for every match--no small feat considering the late Eastern time zone kickoffs. 

On Tuesday night, a collection of Timbers Army faithful took up their posts inside The Football Factory for the Portland-Houston match whereupon they came across a collection of staff members who were settling in to take in the match. was kind enough to snap a picture.

Advance intel from Loggers organizer Cesar Diaz tells us that a few of them are planning to come in person to the Timbers Cascadia clash against the Whitecaps later this month and are already looking ahead to when the squad travels to Red Bull Arena in August. As always, the Big Apple detachment of Timbers Army troops are, much like the open arms of Lady Liberty, looking to welcome more to their platoon. As their motto proudly states:

We are the Mad Men who occupy Madison Ave chanting "RCTID" as we support the Timbers from Sea to Shining Sea! Give us your mental, your barmy, your Gotham Masses yearning to be Green!

Are you among the Timbers faithful in far off remote outposts? Find yourself in the Deep South? The Midwest? Europe? Asia? At sea? Send us a note at thebackcut (at) and let us know your tales. Also, is devoting this whole week to Supporters Week coverage with unique features on supporters culture, tifo, and more. Be sure to check it out

08 May 9:59 am

Soccer history isn't always dealing with obscure fith division teams from some pastoral English countryside. No. Rather there's a long American--and even Oregonian--slant to what we know as The Beautiful Game.

 Jan. 20, 1914, Lincolln High School Boys Soccer Team
Photo courtesy the Futbol Heritage Archive/Boxscore News World Sportswire

George Fosty, president and a founder of the Society of North American Historians and Researchers, has written a lovingly researched post online that charts the history of soccer in Oregon all the way back to the 19th century. The early guises of the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club—now known simply as the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) and its quest to build a stadium that eventually becomes JELD-WEN Field, intra-Oregon collegiate rivalries, road trips to Seattle, a Cameron Cup, the inception of the womens game, hoodlums, hoodwinks, and eventual creation of the Portland Timbers are all mentioned in his piece, Knee-Knockers: Celebrating 120-Years Of Oregon Soccer. Fosty explains his love of Portland and sets up its founding in the Oregon Territory as the precursor to a long soccer history:

The city of Portland, the largest city in Oregon, was incorporated in 1851. At the time of incorporation Portland boasted a population of 821, of which 653 were men, 164 women, and 4 were identified as "free colored." By 1885, the population would stand at 17,500. Fifteen years later, the city would register 90,426. By 1910, it would boast 207,214. During these years, Portland would distinguish itself as one of the most forward thinking cities in North America. A visionary approach that often split over into the realm of sports, among which included the game of soccer.

While much of those early years are difficult to research and may be built around more conjecture than fact, it's an interesting read into the nascent stages of Oregon soccer. Read the whole thing here.

Hungry for more history? Check out Portland-based historian and occasional contributor Michael Orr’s new book that expands upon the creation of the NASL-era Timbers in his new book The 1975 Portland Timbers: The Birth of Soccer City USA. Well researched with interviews from many of the original Timbers such as current MLS-era soccer ambassadors John Bain and Mick Hoban, the book is a unique snapshot of a key era of Portland soccer history.

Still wanting more history? The excellent soccer blog Free Beer Movement blog took the recent Lionel Messi achievement of scoring 72 goals over the course of a first division season—including all cup tournaments—to delve into how that broke a record once held by an American soccer player, Archie Stark.

With players like Pele (66 for Santos in 1958) and Mueller in the rear-view mirror for global scoring tallies who could have Messi blown by to set yet another record?
An American, of course.
Yes. Someone from the United States of America.
Buried in a host of articles celebrating Messi's accomplishment (many omitting any mention of it at all) was the name Archie Stark.
Read up on this great piece of American soccer history here.

Study up for finals.

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30 April 11:04 am

I don't know how many of you out there are fans of The Wire but if you aren't yet, then you best should be. It is among the finest television shows of all time. Set in Baltimore and ostensibly about the drug trade and the people who try to both profit from it and put a stop to it, the show expanded on issues of education, unions, politics, culture, youth, and everything in between. If you haven't watched it yet, stop reading this and go rent it post haste.

 Omar Little

Back? Okay. The depth of narrative arc led to some truly memorable characters. So memorable, soccer blog The Other 87 celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Wire's first season by asking, what would make the best fictional Starting XI out of such a cast? 

What I find amazing is that the infamous bandit Omar Little does not feature in either XI. The Other 87 argues that he "doesn't fit neatly into either team" and that sorta makes sense if you assume he'd constantly be on the lookout only for himself. But aren't some of the greatest soccer players of all time the same? Wouldn't Omar have been the consummate #10 pulling the strings across the pitch?

I have to believe B&B Enterprises is the kit sponsor for the Bad Guys. Maybe Stringer Bell's copy shop. For the Good Guys? It's got to be Kavanaugh's Irish Pub. How do you think these teams stack up? 

via The Other 87:

The Good Guys


GK – Lester Freamon – He could be painting dollhouse furniture and still pull out a brilliant save between the sticks. He also keeps a level head when the rest of the team loses discipline.
LB Ellis Carver – Known to bash a few skulls, but commands his troops well. Carver provides outlet passes to Bunny Colvin ahead of him, but also has the talent to switch wings with his partner, Herc Hauk.
LCB – Cedric Daniels – Tall, imposing, disciplined. What more could ask of a world class defender? Despite his age, Cedric shows tremendous upshot.
RCB – Rhonda Pearlman – Partners well with Daniels in the back. The two take turns cleaning up messes. When all else fails, she uses her charm to appeal to the ref.
RB – Herc Hauk – Along with Carver, Herc ensures nothing gets into the box. While intelligence isn’t always his forte, he muscles any hoodlums stupid enough to challenge his authority.
CDM – Bubbles – Tactically, Bubbles knows the opposition inside and out. With this insight, he shrewdly predicts every play and provides outlet passes to Kima ahead of him.
LCM – Bunny Colvin – Our warhorse. He’ll try anything to break the opposition, even if it means allowing them to play their game.
RCM – Tommy Carcetti – Carcetti has the energy and guile to go on the offensive, especially when he identifies a weakness in his marker.
CAM – Kima Greggs – She would take a bullet for her team, and that’s exactly why we want her providing support for the front line.
LS – Bunk Moreland – Our target man. While Bunk lacks in speed or athleticism, he more than makes up for in persistence and strength.
RS – Jimmy McNulty – Opposite Moreland, McNulty cracks open the defense with risky runs, often to the displeasure of the coaching staff. 

The Bad Guys


GK – Stringer Bell –Because of this attacking formation, we need an intelligent goalkeeper capable of reading the opposition and deflecting any attacks.
LB – Wallace – Runs up and down the wing, often unsure of his position. Uses D’Angelo for guidance.
LCB – Clay Davis – Senator Davis is more than willing to take the ball from Stringer and distribute it as he sees fit.
RCB – Proposition Joe – Prop Joe is by far the most cautious member of the squad. While his teammates are eager to attack, he waits patiently and watches for the counter.
RB – D’Angelo Barksdale – Like Wallace, D is often unsure of his position, but is intelligent enough to play capably in both halves of the field.
LCM – Chris Partlow – Always one step ahead of the opposition, Chris is the left side of our midfield triangle.
RCM – Snoop – Our bruiser. In spite of her size and age, Snoop isn’t afraid to put in a hard tackle if she’s asked to do so.
CM – Marlo – Marlo is ruthless in his pursuit of victory, but doesn’t come to life until the second half.
LAM – Slim Charles – Often at odds with Stringer’s instructions from the back, Charles acts as provider in the box.
RAM – Bodie – Distrustful of the midfield lineup, Bodie often creates his own goals, especially when Avon is out of position.
ST – Avon Barksdale – If Stringer is the calming voice for the squad, Avon is the banshee’s scream. However, as the head of the attack, you can’t blame his enthusiasm for forcing the issue. 

Hat tip to both soccer blogs The Other 87 and Free Beer Movement for the great tactical breakdown. Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at)