Rose City United: Portland Fire defeat Portland Police 4-1 as rivalry “heats up” in second-annual charity match

PORTLAND, Ore. - Banding together and honoring the commitment displayed by the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland community came out in support of the second-annual Rose City United charitable soccer match at Providence Park on Saturday morning. 

The event received over $1,000 in donations to be divided among Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division and Portland Fire & Rescue’s Toy N Joy Makers, along with perishable food items and toys. Family, friends and citizens of the Rose City came out in mass to root for their local police and firefighters in the 90-minute, full-field match that saw the Fire win 4-1 for the second consecutive year. Portland Timbers assistant coaches Sean McAuley (Fire) and Cameron Knowles (Police) returned to the sidelines for a second year to help guide each team.

“It’s awesome to see the community come out, especially for both [Portland] fire and police,” said Portland Police Bureau gang enforcement officer Jason Hubert, an 18-year veteran of the police force and also a featured fan in the club's ax photo billboard campaign last winter. “The Portland Police Bureau and the Fire Bureau [both] do a great job out here in our community and it’s good to see our community come out here and gives us support for this.”

“I think it’s amazing what the Timbers have put on for us here. It’s really a great spectacle,” said Fire & Rescue’s Todd Sabrowski who led his team with a hat trick. “It’s a thing [the firefighters] talk about and it’s great that [the Timbers] show their support for us.”

Photo: Molly J. Smith

In a heated match on a brilliantly sunny morning, each team wanted the honor of hoisting up the log slice in victory at the end of the match. 

“We tried to limit the Police and we did well with that by putting fires out when they got into our area of the pitch,” said McAuley. “When we got onto the opposition's half we really put the pressure on high and we were on fire.”

Despite the defeat, Police coach Cameron Knowles was pleased with his team’s effort and looked forward to continuing the rivalry next season. 

“We put a lot of fight into the game for 90 minutes. We were up against a very good team with some good players but we kept fighting, said Knowles. “It’s a disappointing result but we have 12 months to work on it and hopefully we come back fit and ready for next season.”

The Fire opened scoring with a goal from Jared Borland in the 21st minute with Sabrowski--a second year veteran of the match--scoring the next three for his side including an airborne volley from outside the right post in the opening minutes of the second-half to give the Fire a 3-0 lead. 

“It feels good to be able to score for the fire department and support what we’re out here for,” said Sabrowski, who has served as a Portland firefighter for five years. “We enjoy coming out. We’ve look forward to it each year.”

Displaying an unwillingness to give up, the Police continued to push for a goal and were rewarded in the final minutes of the match as David Rasmussen put a finishing touch on a cross to spoil the Fire’s clean sheet. Rasmussen took advantage of his moment in the spotlight, displaying a celebratory cartwheel that paid homage to the celebrations of Timber’s midfielder Jack Jewsbury’s goal against the Seattle Sounders.  

“[It was] maybe even better than Jewsbury’s because his wasn’t good at all,” joked Knowles.

Photo: Molly J. Smith

All in the sake of the competitive spirit, evidence of a growing rivalry between the two sides was present on the pitch in the entertaining match. 

“A lot of us know a lot of the Fire guys but there is a lot of rivalry,” said Hubert with a smile. “There is heart and soul and blood and sweat out here. We tried our best and we’ll see what we can do next year.” 

“We’re all competitive people so I’m sure they didn’t like losing,” laughed Sabrowski. “I’m sure they’ll be head hunting for us next year.”

While the rivalry of the annual match on the pitch continues to heat up, both sides received a standing ovation from the crowd for their efforts on the field and in respect to the sacrifices made by the Police and Fire departments in serving the city of Portland. 

“We’re humbled in what they do for us,” said McAuley. “Their effort today was outstanding but more so their effort in their daily life of what they do to protect us. We’re very humbled at being at this event.”

Knowles echoed his rival coach, saying: “It’s a big event for our club and for us as individuals to be involved in. It’s an honor to be out here and share the field with the men and women who serve our communities and then also their organizations they’re apart of, the Sunshine Division and Toy n Joy. We’re just happy to be part of it.”