David Horst's play makes a mark while 'stache spawns cultural phenomenon in Rose City
PORTLAND, Ore. – To his credit, David Horst wants to be known first and foremost for his play as a center back for the Portland Timbers.
But there is no escaping that Horst’s mustache is what is quickly raising his profile among Timbers fans.
Teammate Peter Lowry, who documented the growth of the mustache throughout March, dubbed it “Horstache.” The ’stache almost immediately had a cult following and by Tuesday night, just five days after it had its own Twitter account, the mustache had already accumulated 328 followers.
Attention garnered by the Horstache increased dramatically last week, when word spread that Horst was considering whether to shave it off or not. Fans pleaded with him to keep it, and so he did.
“I mean, it’s a mustache,” Horst, 25, said. “I’d hope to get noticed for my playing, but I’ll take getting noticed for my mustache over nothing. The last game, we’re 3,000 miles away from Portland and I look up in the stands and see a sign that says ‘Horstache Forever.’”
(Horst will freely admit that he was rocking the second-best mustache on the field against the New England Revolution. The Revs’ Ryan Cochrane has, hands down, the best mustache in MLS.)
The birth of the Horstache began after he lost the bet attached to a Timbers’ penalty kick contest the first week of March. Horst and 20-year-old goalkeeper Jake Gleeson were the last players to make one.
“He’s so young he couldn’t grow one,” Horst said of Gleeson. “So all the attention was on mine. The whole month I’ve been growing it, and it grows fast. I’m going to keep it.”
Horst said he'll don the mustache a while longer, due in part to popular demand.
“I’ve been put in a position where I can possibly do some good things with it, maybe raise some money for charities, so I definitely want to do that if I can,” he said.
Horst is also making the most of his playing time over the past two weeks. He played the second half of the Timbers opener at Colorado and then started for the first time in Saturday’s 1-1 tie at New England.
After being loaned out the past two years by Real Salt Lake, Horst said he is trying to make the most of his opportunities in Portland. He underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in the offseason and was still recovering when training began in January. But his solid, physical play has drawn praise in recent weeks.
“I was given opportunities in Salt Lake and I didn’t take them,” Horst said. “I didn’t play as well as I wanted to. I don’t know if I wasn’t ready or what it was.
“Now I realize I have to take these opportunities and seize the moment. I think I’m doing that this year."