Timbers vs. MLS

Some background and history for our 2011 opening matches

John Spencer, Colorado, 2003

Photo Credit: 
(Getty Images)

Yesterday's announcement by Major League Soccer of the 18 teams’ schedule of home openers brings with it a handful of storylines for the Portland Timbers as they open their inaugural MLS season in March.

The Timbers will play the first game in the history of the MLS franchise on Saturday, March 19, when they visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to take on the league’s defending MLS Cup champions, the Colorado Rapids. While fans may be just getting accustomed to seeing the Rapids, Timbers head coach John Spencer is no stranger to the Mile High City, having enjoyed four seasons with the club from 2001-04.

"It is always a great feeling for me, going back to Colorado,” said Spencer. “The Rapids will always have a special place in my heart. But this will be a special occasion for our team, being that this is the first game in Timbers MLS history."

Spencer captained Colorado to three straight postseason appearances and earned two MLS All-Star and Best XI selections. In 2009 he was rewarded for his contributions with induction into the club’s Gallery of Honor.

A week later, the Timbers head north of the border to Ontario, where they will help Toronto FC start the fifth season at BMO Field on Saturday, March 26.

Longtime Timbers fans may recall a friendly between the Timbers’ USL First Division team and Toronto FC in October 2007, which was noteworthy for fan-favorite Bryan Jordan netting a brace in a Timbers 4-1 win at PGE Park. Toronto FC’s lineup that night also featured U.S. National Team members Maurice Edu, Todd Dunivant and Marvell Wynne.

After a season-opening road trip that includes helping two of their MLS brethren open their home schedules, the Timbers return to a newly renovated PGE Park on Thursday, April 14, to begin their 17-game league home slate by hosting the Chicago Fire.

Midfielder Peter Lowry, who was acquired by the Timbers from Chicago in November’s MLS Expansion Draft, is looking forward to facing his old club to ring in the new era in downtown Portland.

“[I am] real excited for that home opener,” tweeted Lowry. “[The] atmosphere is going to be crazy.”

The Fire also happens to be the former team of Timbers assistant coach Amos Magee, who scored two goals in six games over the 2001-02 seasons.

The Timbers Army will also welcome Chicago’s supporters group, Section 8. Both groups enjoy a friendly alliance as a contingency of Section 8 is expected to make the trip to the Rose City. Section 8 fans have visited Portland in the past as Timbers fans bussed up with them to Seattle in 2009 when the Sounders hosted Chicago in MLS play.

With just three of their 34-game inaugural season announced to date, the Timbers already have a plethora of storylines worth following.