Futty Danso, Timbers vs. Union, 5.7.11
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

#ThrowbackThursday | A history of Portland Timbers Friday night matches

While the state of Texas is known for its Friday Night Lights and that other "football," the Rose City and the Portland Timbers have been able to provide many memories playing at end of the workweek. 

When Portland kicks off against the Houston Dynamo Friday at Providence Park, it will mark the 91st time the Timbers have played a professional match on a Friday in 40-year history of the club. The 90 previous matches scan all three professional eras and some of these Friday night games live on in club lore for a variety of reasons. 

The first match Portland ever played was on a Friday night, a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders. Like many future matches in the Rose City, the game was played in the rain. The lone goal came from a Seattle penalty kick in the first half and despite forcing ten saves from Sounders goalkeeper Barry Watling, Portland was unable to find the net. 

Two weeks later, the Timbers again played on a Friday night, this time facing off against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Portland upset the undefeated Whitecaps for the first road victory in club history. The match marked the debut of English winger Willie Anderson and just nine minutes into the match Anderson assisted on a Barry Powell goal. The assist was the first of many for Anderson, who finished his Timbers career with 53 assists, which currently stands as the second most in club history. 

In NASL play, the Timbers finished with an impressive 20-7 record in games played on Fridays with ten wins each at home and on the road. One of the largest wins in club history took place on a Friday night when the Timbers beat the San Jose Earthquakes 5-0 at Civic Stadium. The victory marked the first time Portland had ever scored five goals in a single match. 

Unlike when the club played in the NASL, Portland did not have many successes on the workweek’s final day in the USL era. Friday was the only day of the week that the USL Timbers had more losses than wins, dropping 26 matches compared to just 12 victories. Despite this, one of the most famous matches in club history happened on a Friday night. 

On May 12, 2001, the Portland Timbers played its first home match in the second professional era of the club. In front of 12,295 fans, Portland knocked off the rival Sounders by a 2-0 scoreline. Mark Baena and Brent Sancho had the goals, while Matt Napoleon preserved the shutout. 

Portland's move to MLS has once again seen impressive play on Fridays. The club has a record of 6-3-2 in those matches, having been the host nine of those 11 times. 

On May 7, 2011, first Friday match of the MLS era saw the Timbers beat the Philadelphia Union 1-0 behind a Futty Danso header. Current Timber Jack Jewsbury delivered the assist as Portland won its fourth consecutive home match to begin its MLS expansion season. 

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