Team

04 April 12:55 pm

Winning Instagram from March by @didikimm

It has been said that soccer players are creatures of habit. Most have their matchday routines, and few stray from their superstitious rituals for fear of angering the soccer gods.

Some eat the same pregame meal, while others have a particular order in which they dress. From an outside perspective it might seem odd, but to the rest of us it’s part of the game.

For fans, it’s no different. Superstitious by nature, many fans have a pregame ritual they abide by. Stumptown Coffee Roasters want to know what your ritual is. Do you wear the same faded t-shirt or frayed scarf? Do you and your friends bike to the match? Share it with us.

Throughout the 2013 season, the Portland Timbers and Stumptown Coffee Roasters are asking fans to share their pre-game rituals for the first home match of every month. All you have to do is Instagram a shot of your morning pregame ritual and share it with the hashtag #SCRTimbers.

One random fan will be selected each month to win a prize pack from Stumptown and the Timbers that includes:

  • One (1) Signed Timbers Jersey
  • One (1) 12oz bag of Kenya Gaturiri Coffee
  • Two (2) Stumptown Coffee Roaster Mugs
  • One (1) Stumptown Branded Red Rooster Hand Mill Grinder

Last month, @didikimm won the Stumptown & Timbers prize pack for her Instagram of Timbers fans braving cold weather and long lines to get into JELD-WEN Field prior to the season opener. This month, it could be you. 

For full contest rules, click here.

27 March 12:22 pm

Bless Field plan courtesy OPI

A ball, some kids, and a place to play. When you get down to it, soccer is a simple game.

However, sometimes finding that place to play becomes a challenge.

The good folks over at Operation Pitch Invasion have set out to change that. OPI, a tightly connected affiliate of the Timbers Army 107 Independent Supporters Trust, has been working since 2011 helping repair soccer fields throughout Portland as well as fundraising for the creation of whole new ones. 

Their next project is Bless Field at New Colombia. As their release says: "Bless Field is uniquely situated in a neighborhood where children from 22 countries, who speak 11 languages (plus the common language of soccer), take their first steps into integrating into the larger community." The Portland Timbers Community Fund has come on board with a commitment and OPI is organizing a very unique event to raise further funds that is sure to entertain the hardiest of Timbers fans:

“Beating Seattle Never Gets Old”
Thursday April 4; 7:00 pm
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd
$12 in advance; $15 at the door

Hosted by 5 Minutes to Kickoff's Bob Kellett and Steven Lenhart, the evening is a gathering of past Timbers greats from the NASL era including Willie Anderson, Bernie Fagan, Roger Goldingay, Mick Hoban, Bill Irwin, and Jimmy Kelly talking about great moments of Timbers history.

Come see highlights of the Timbers playing against Pele and his Cosmos in Portland in 1976; the Timbers playing the Chicago Sting at Wrigley Field in 1982; and, in an extended cut, the Timbers playing the Seattle Sounders in a playoff semifinal before a record crowd in Portland in 1975.  

It's a special night with some rare footage, great stories, and every penny raised goes straight back to Bless Field. Only 350 tickets are available, so get yours now.

15 March 8:59 pm

As a Portland Timbers fan, there's really nothing like attending a rivalry match against the Seattle Sounders. It is fierce, visceral, loud, spirited, entertaining, awe-inspiring . . . and that's just the first ten minutes of the supporters groups' tifo unveiling.

The battle on the field can raise the stakes to a whole other level. This Saturday's clash between the Timbers and Sounders (Mar. 16, 5pm PT, NBC Sports Network, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940) culminates an entire day of Rivalry Week intensity. NBC Sports Network will air three of the games and have a special highlight show during the afternoon jumping from each of the other matches around the league.

This emphasis on MLS rivalries has grown each year but the Portland-Seattle clash has proved to be a premier event. And no wonder. The uniqueness of this soccer animosity goes back nearly 40 years skipping across NASL, USL and MLS editions of both teams.

Oregonian sports writer Geoffrey C. Arnold is the paper's primary Timbers and soccer beat writer. Covering Oregon sports for over twenty years, Arnold has attended MLS Cup, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, and much more. But it was the 2009 U.S. Open Cup match between the then USL-era Timbers and the then first-year MLS Sounders that piqued his interest around this loud and incredible rivalry. He set out to find more about the heros and villains, interviewed players past and present, examined the art of the tifo and much more. The result: Cascadia Clash: Sounders vs. Timbers.

On the eve of this next installment of the Cascadia Cup Portland-Seattle rivalry, I sat down with Arnold to find out more how he started his book, why he thinks such conflicth exists between the teams, supporters, and cities, and where he thinks the rivalry will be headed to next.

Be sure to sit back and take in all the league's rivalry matches throughout the day.
 

The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.

14 March 12:27 pm

Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer

Earlier this week in the UEFA Champions League, Turkish side Galatasaray traveled to Germany to take on Schalke. It was a crucial encounter that Galatasaray eventually won 3-2 to move on to the quarterfinals. Their rabid fan base traveled en masse and though the away section was overflowing, there were reports of supporters attempting to carve a tunnel under the fence to get in.

According to The Guardian, "(Schalke Sporting Director Hans) Heldt confirmed the incident before the game, which ended with a 4-3 aggregate victory for the Turkish club, saying: "Yes, that's right. Some supporters have tried to dig a tunnel with their bare hands."

While we applaud the devotion of the traveling Galatasaray fans, for those of you who are contemplating heading north to watch the Portland Timbers begin their defense of the Cascadia Cup in a battle with the Seattle Sounders, all you have to do is get on the bus.

The 107 Independent Supporters Trust--the organizing group of the Timbers Army--is handling all Seattle Away day travel. Tickets are still available for public purchase and include a bus trip and game ticket option to get you there or just a ticket-only option if you want to drive yourself. 

They're going fast but you can get yours now by visiting the 107ist.org site here. What are you waiting for?

14 March 11:57 am

Image via Portland Mercury

"Communication, it's everything, on and off the field," Valeri says. "We go on the road and we can't learn. I want to start this month. I have coaching, an English teacher. She teaches me words and sentences, but I want to start. I want to watch films and read books. Only English."

If you want to learn more about what drives new Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri, why he came to MLS ("It's grown. I find a team, a club, MLS, that is spectacular"), how his family is settling into Portland (he's taken his four-year-old daughter, Constanza, to the zoo), how he's bonding with his teammates (he roomed with team captain Will Johnson in Tucson preseason), and how the Argentine is trying harder than ever to bring his English up to the same speed as his silky moves on the pitch (see above), then you must read this excellent feature by Brian Gjurgevich in this week's Portland Mercury. Grab a copy on your nearest street corner to save the artwork and read the piece online right here.

13 March 1:49 pm

Big matches mean big tifo and this Saturday's Cascadia Cup rivalry match between Portland and Seattle should be no different (5pm PT, NBC Sports, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940). MLSsoccer.com takes a look at some of the past iterations of Portland and Seattle supporter-created tifo.

Wear headphones. Turn volume up to 11. Watch the video.

13 March 8:17 am

Sometimes that which is local goes global. This is particularly true of the culture of soccer and how it can reach around the world. For the Timbers and their fans, there is a special bond between supporter and club. One area where this is particularly true is how many Portland season ticket holders reach out to the club via their season ticket holder services representative to share their stories about their travels and experiences as a fan.

Case in point: season ticket holder Sean Ingersoll reached out to Timbers ticket services manager Leigh Calvert about his travels in Africa with some great pictures; pictures that had a particular Cascadian bent. An avid soccer player himself, Ingersoll and his friends have often challenged themselves to play soccer in remote environments. And when I say remote, I mean places like, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

Ingersoll picks up the story:

Some friends and I decided it would be fun to go to Tanzania and climb Kilimanjaro.  We have all played on the same GPSD adult soccer team, FC77 Rangers, and we try to play soccer in some unique environments.  In 2010 we climbed to the top of South Sister and had a 3v3 match in the snow-filled crater at 10,300’…which was awesome.  This year we decided to go to Africa and climb the mountain with Zara Tours, maybe even kick a ball around on the top. Zara sponsors several charity projects in Tanzania, including an orphanage in Moshi. We thought it would be a decent gesture to bring some school supplies and soccer gear so we passed the word around to our kid’s soccer teams, friends, co-workers and the effort just exploded. I think we collected over 250 lbs. of paper, notebooks, pens, 50-ish pairs of used and new soccer boots, balls, pumps, socks, etc. So we paid for the extra baggage and shipped all of the goods with us to Tanzania for the kids at the orphanage. We met the kids and teachers--it was an incredible experience. 

In the top picture, Jim Snyder and I are both from Portland and Timbers fans. My buddy Shawn Mulqueeney is from Issaquah and is a Sounders fan. I suggested we bring our scarves for a summit picture and he agreed that would be fun. About two days into the climb, we got out a soccer ball and invited the porters to kick around with us (middle picture). The elevation was 12,800’. What was amazing about that was the mood of the climb seemed to change after that, from clients/porters to friends. Ah, the power of football. We summited on the third day, got out the scarves, and proved that Cascadia has the best and most hard-core soccer fans around. I did have a ball in my summit pack, but I could barely lift my foot more than 3” to take the next step, much less juggle or head a ball. One kick and I’m certain it would have rolled all the wall back down to the Kenyan border! So we hung out with the glaciers for about twenty minutes, took our pictures, and came back down.

Between stoking a rivalry around the world as well as making a difference in a foreign community, Ingersoll is clearly having an impact. Got a story of your own Timbers fandom from around the world? Send us a note at thebackcut@portlandtimbers.com.

07 March 1:53 pm

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, fresh from his revealing MLS player polls, recently put together a grand list of the 50 most important people in U.S. Soccer. It has many of the names you'd expect. The top 5 are, in order: U.S. Sports TV executives, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, MLS commissioner Don Garber, Nike and adidas.

Of local note though are two rather big names. Coming in at No. 9 is Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan of which Wahl writes:

Let's be honest: the 23-year-old Morgan has everything it takes (on the field and off) to become the next Mia Hamm. Just one example of her appeal: Morgan has in excess of a million Twitter followers, more than any U.S. soccer player, male or female.

In a tie for No. 23 is Timbers and Thorns FC owner Merritt Paulson paired alongside Sporting KC's owner Robb Heineman:

Young owners who live and die with their MLS teams, Heineman and Paulson are the faces of MLS 2.0 and the league's answers to Mark Cuban. If only every league owner cared as much.

Head over to SI.com to read the full list. Any names missing you think should be on there? Any names on there you disagree with?

06 March 3:02 pm

With the unique Spread The Love campaign off and running, we wanted to introduce a few of the lucky folks who were able to experience their first ever Timbers match last week. And what a game to kick things off? A tremendous rendition of the national anthem, excellent tifo, loads of goals, and a thrilling comeback. What more could you ask for?

Without further ado, here's the first group of worthy recipients.

Jeff Enquist, President of PYSA & head coach of Portland City United is one of the first group of 107 Ambassadors. He’s coached in high school, college and the pros and gave his tickets to one of his employees, Sonko. Sonko grew up playing soccer in Kenya and started a club soccer program for kids aged 6-8 there. In short, soccer is Sonko's life. 

“Timber Jim” Serrill--the original lumberjack who sawed logs in the North End--is also the charismatic gent who popularlized the phrase “Spread the Love” from which this whole idea originally sprang. An embodiment of Timbers passion, Timber Jim gave his tickets to young Karina. Karina battled through leukemia when she was 4--it's now in remission--and met Jim through the Leukemia Foundation. She had never been to a Timbers game before. Needless to say, she was very excited.

Rachel Harrison, another 107 Ambassador is an active community volunteer, Timbers Army supporter and committed season ticket holder. She met her friend Jessica at her church. Jessica's son plays club soccer in Portland and had never been to a match before either. Sunday's match was his first and was an instant classic.

Do you know someone whom you think is worthy? Visit www.spreadtheloveptfc.com to nominate someone you know in your community.
 

06 March 10:08 am

Montreal Impact midfielder and Québec native Patrice Bernier is quite familiar with Timbers midfielder Will Johnson. The two have played side by side on the Canadian national team for years with Bernier having 49 caps The Canucks to Johnson's 31. Now set to face off this Saturday in Portland at JELD-WEN Field (7:30pm, KPTV, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940), Bernier spoke to impactmontreal.com about his national teammate:

“He’s a guy that gives 100% all the time and you see that on the pitch,” added Bernier. “They brought him in because they know that he sets the tone. Training, games… I think that’s why their coach named him captain. He always brings that competitive edge.”

Check out the article over on the Impact site and be sure to watch the two go head-to-head on Saturday.