Swangard Stadium, 10.7.10
Photo by Brian Costello

#ThrowbackThursday | Remembering a Portland Timbers fan tunnel at the Canadian border

Before I became the Portland Timbers #StatMan, I covered the club for four MLS seasons for a variety of websites. Before that, I loved attending USL-era matches with my wife, Keri. It was during that time that I experienced one of my favorite moments in sports. 

In October 2010, the Portland Timbers headed to Canada for the final USL game of its last pre-MLS season. Portland would be matching up with their Cascadian rival, the Vancouver Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, B.C. A draw or a Timbers win would mean the teams would match up in postseason play the next week. 

After taking a bus filled with Timbers fans to Canada, we witnessed a back-and-forth match on a beautiful fall day that saw Portland go down early on a Terry Dunfield goal off an assist from constant Timbers nemesis, Martin Nash. The Timbers took a 2-1 lead after second half goals from future MLS Timbers Kalif Alhassan and Bright Dike. Vancouver ended up tying the match on a Cody Arnoux goal and the final regular season match of the Timbers USL era ended in a 2-2 draw thus securing Portland's place in the playoffs. 

But it is what happened hours after the match that I will always remember. As our bus headed back to the Rose City, we made a pre-border stop at a duty-free store before making our way to the border crossing. As we entered the U.S. Customs building, we noticed another bus had pulled up behind us. To our delight, the Timbers squad and staff stepped off the bus on their way through customs. 

After clearing, our group of fans decided not to reboard our bus and started chanting just outside the building. When the team left customs they were greeted by a human tunnel of fans, cheering loudly. Every single Timbers player made his way through the tunnel, high-fiving the fans as they walked by. 

Minutes later, we were back on our bus, and the Timbers on theirs, all headed home to Portland. But it is a moment I will never forget. It provided a lasting memory of Timbers lore.