Crossed axe flag, Timbers vs. Crew, 5.17.14
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Can't make the World Cup? The New York Times suggests coming to a match in Cascadia | The Backcut

“They have traditions and match-day experiences there that are authentic and organic and that I would put up there with some of the greatest soccer cities in the world,” Mr. [Alexi] Lalas said. “And I think it’s caught on there because it’s an area where counterculture thrives. Because of that, I think they’ve created a soccer atmosphere that is uniquely North American.”

Can't make it to this summer's World Cup in Brazil? The New York Times Travel section suggests a journey to the Pacific Northwest to experience a match in Portland, Ore. (and two other cities further north).

Breaking down the culture, majesty, atmosphere, tifo and overall sensory overloading experience that is a Timbers match at Providence Park, the article takes a look at just what makes attending a game in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver a unique experience on par with some other global soccer capitols. 

[The] crowds gather at Providence Park hours before the matches begin, and the intensity of the Timbers Army — before, during and after the matches — is something to behold; hours of nonstop singing and chanting and synchronized taunts. They erect huge section-covering canvas banners — called tifo, an Italian word for choreographed fan support — elaborately painted fluttering billboards, some of them covering 16,000 square feet and weighing more than 1,500 pounds. The Timbers Army, which takes up 6,000 seats, stands and screams for the entire match, the roar reverberating from the covered stands.

Read the whole thing here.