El Salvador fans, Dragon vs. Timbers, 9.27.16

SAN SALVADOR – The Portland Timbers’ important 2-1 win over C.D. Dragón in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Tuesday night came via a unique environment at the Estadio Cuscatlán. Due to CONCACAF stadium requirements, Dragón was playing some 85 miles west of their regular home field in San Miguel.

As such, the crowd was light and the sound somewhat quiet.

But in a slice of the western side of the stadium, a small but loud group of new Timbers fans were busy blowing vuvuzelas, slapping noisemakers and cheering for the visitors. Made up almost exclusively of the children and families who had visited with the team the day before as part of a special community outreach program with the club’s Stand Together platform and local literacy group Contextos, the kids were clad in their red jerseys from their Soyapango club soccer team to match the Rose City Red kits of the Timbers as well as many wearing donated Timbers green shirts.

Also among the visiting support were a group of four traveling Timbers Army supporters.

Stephen Dorow, a member of San Francisco’s satellite Timbers Army group, The Green and Golden Gate, and a Timbers annual member, had been planning the trip to Central America for months.

“I was really excited about the prospect of international travel to support the team and when the [CCL] schedule game out, there was a choice between Costa Rica and I was hearing a lot of people were going to Costa Rica,” he explained.

But when a friend from Portland wanted to celebrate her 40th birthday in the same place she had once worked on a volunteer project, they chose El Salvador and joined up with two more friends—and Timbers fans—who traveled south from Guatemala to attend the game.

The foursome quickly united with the kids from Soyapango, helping teach them Timbers Army chants and all madly waving their scarves and cheering loudly. The U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes, even came down to join and cheer.

For Dorow, the trip beat his previous record for most miles covered to attend a match—though his previous mark was a pretty memorable journey as well.

“Columbus was [the longest], before this, which was extra special, of course,” he said with a smile.

And with three points in the bag, they—both new and long-time Timbers supporters—all traveled home their separate ways happy.