Editor's Note: Portland Timbers supporters, long a loud and frenzied presence at games in Providence Park, can also be found across the country and around the world. In this monthly series, Timbers.com will take a look at how these fans--often hundreds or thousands of miles away from the Rose City--follow their favorite team and support from afar. Are you a Timbers supporter in away territory or the frontier? Let us know in the comments.
Lucas Romão de Carvalho never expected to become a fan of the Portland Timbers.
The 18 year-old Brazilian from Guarulhos, the second-largest city in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, and better known by his Twitter handle @TimbersBRA, caught his first glimpse of the Timbers when, in 2012, ESPN Brasil showed footage of the Timbers Army singing the national anthem a cappella.
Lucas was smitten by the passion in the stands and ever since then, he has had a special affection for the American club.
The match that truly sealed Lucas's burgeoning Timbers fandom was the 2013 home opener, a 3-3 draw against the New York Red Bulls that also marked Diego Valeri's regular season debut with the club.
"Seeing the incredible reaction [from the fans] and the team's fighting spirt in search of the draw, I was sure that I was in love with the Timbers," Lucas said via translator.
But Lucas's passion for the Timbers begins with the fans. He marvels at the Timbers Army tifo and the boisterous, non-stop chanting from the crowd.
With time, however, Lucas also began to appreciate the team's performances on the pitch. He enjoyed the style in which Caleb Porter's sides played and the heart that the team showed in each and every match.
"Watching the team makes my connection to the club even stronger," he said.
Yet actually watching the Timbers, it turns out, is not always easy in Guarulhos.
Most of the time, Lucas can only follow the team on social media and through the box score. Yet every week, he dutifully scours both the television listings and the web for any way that he can watch his favorite MLS club.
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And while he mostly watches Timbers matches at home alone, that doesn't mean that he's the only Timbers fan in Brazil.
"I know other Brazilians that like the team," he said. "But we can only meet through WhatsApp or the Internet. We live very far away."
This season, though, Lucas may get the opportunity to watch more MLS games than usual because of a single signing: Kaká. Last July, MLS expansion side Orlando City SC announced that it had acquired the legendary Brazilian midfielder for the 2015 season.
In April, Orlando City will even be traveling to Portland for a match that will be televised on ESPN2. If history is any guide, Lucas may once again get the chance to watch his favorite team on ESPN Brasil.
"MLS is rapidly growing in visibility here in Brazil, which is good!" he said.
Lucas believes that Kaká's arrival will help raise the league's profile even more in his home country. But, as a Timbers fan, Lucas says, there's also a downside to the increase in coverage.
"The spotlight is always aiming towards Orlando, New York City FC, and the LA Galaxy," he said. "The other clubs need to do something to get more visibility here."
Lucas, for his part, couldn't be more thrilled that his favorite MLS club has brought in its first-ever Brazilian player: defender Jeanderson.
"I'm very happy to see a Brazilian representing us in the City of Roses!" he said.
Whatever the future may hold, though, Lucas remains undeterred in his passion for the Timbers.
"Not a difficulty or a defeat will diminish my love for the club," he said.