Timbers vs. Rangers, KICK magazine

#ThrowbackThursday | 39 years ago Saturday, the Portland Timbers hosted their first ever international friendly

In the 40-year history of the Portland Timbers, the club has taken on numerous foes from around the world having hosted teams from Europe, South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. But it was 39 years ago this Saturday that Portland welcomed an international opponent to Providence Park (then known as Civic Stadium) for the very first time.

Announced seven weeks before the match was to be played, the Timbers were one of five NASL teams to take on Scotland's Rangers F.C. in 1976. When they came to Portland in May of 1976, the Glasgow club, which was founded in 1872, hadn't lost a single match since December of the year before.

The match took place on May 23, 1976, the day after the Scottish club had knocked off the Seattle Sounders 1-0, at the Kingdome. Playing under international rules (which used a different offside rule than NASL and forbade extra time for non-cup matches), 11,473 fans showed up at Civic Stadium and were treated to a fairly even match between the two clubs.

Portland was the first team to find the back of the net as 20-year-old Chris Dangerfield put the hosts on top in the 24th minute with a strike from outside the penalty area. In his second campaign with Portland and in what-would-be his last season with the team, Dangerfield became the first Timber to score against international opposition. As of today, 41 different Timbers have scored in the club's international friendlies. An English midfielder, Dangerfield scored six league goals in his two seasons with Portland and currently works as a color commentator on San Jose Earthquake matches.

The lead was short-lived for Portland as Rangers tied the match up just four minutes after Dangerfield's goal when Tommy McLean beat Portland goalkeeper Jim Cumbes for a goal.

Although it looked like the Timbers might hold on for a draw against the Scottish Champions, it was not to be, as Rangers notched the game-winner less than two minutes before the final whistle. Alex O'Hara, who was just 19 years old at the time, notched the winner on a goal that "was disputed by several Portland players as an offside which wasn't called," according to the Oregonian's report of the match. The victory marked the 32nd consecutive match (competitive or friendly) that Rangers hadn't lost. Timbers 'keeper Cumbes finished the match with nine saves.  

Despite the 2-1 loss that day, the match started a long tradition of international teams playing in Portland. Rangers was the first of clubs such as Manchester United, Club America, and Boca Juniors to play friendlies against the Timbers.