Portland fans: Timbers' debut "means everything"

Fans emotional as momentous occasion overshadows loss to Colorado

Timbers Army - @ Rapids 3/19/11 #2

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Adam Marshall and Jared Cushman broke off from a Timbers Army crowd gathered near the south entrance to Dick’s Sporting Goods Field prior to the game. They wandered to the gate and gazed for a few minutes through the bars, taking in the manicured field and the empty seats.

Marshall and Cushman were just two of about 500 Timbers faithful who came to Denver to witness their team’s entrance into its inaugural MLS season.

“It means everything,” Marshall said. “All the hard work, not only by [owner] Merritt Paulson and the Timbers front office, but all the hard work of the Army and all the Timbers supporters have given to get us to the top level of American soccer. There’s so many emotions going through us.”

Marshall works for a beverage distributor, Cushman for a courier service. They have been Timbers fans for years and there was no way that they were going to miss the Timbers’ inaugural MLS game.

“We’d have gone anywhere, whether it was here or someplace else,” Cushman said. “Ever since they announced Portland was getting an [MLS] team two years ago, we knew we wouldn’t miss this.”

Photo courtesy of Craig Mitchelldyer

The Timbers lost their opener against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, 3-1 — the reigning MLS Cup champions were just too strong. But the excitement of Portland having played their first MLS game overshadowed the result.

By simple fact of having taken the field and playing the game, Portland fans packed into section 100 were emotional, witnessing their dream come true after such a long wait. Their genuine passion was on display at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field.

“If they hear us sing, they’re going to play their hearts out,” Marshall said. “If we win, awesome; if we lose, so be it. Either way, I won’t have a voice left.”

Speaking before the game, the result was secondary to the feeling that they were about to experience history.

“You only have one first season. You only have one first game,” Marshall said.

The two fans said they would travel to Seattle and Vancouver, maybe others if their work schedules allowed.

The next buildup is for April 14, the Timbers’ home opener at newly renamed JELD-WEN Field against the Chicago Fire. It’s an event that Marshall assures will be extra special.

“I’ve been to many sporting events,” Marshall said. “World Cup qualifiers, NBA playoffs, even the NBA Finals. But hands down, [the Timbers’ home opener is] going to be the greatest sporting event I’ve ever been to.”