SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – The Portland Timbers traveled to Costa Rica for their second game of Group B play in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League to take on Deportivo Saprissa in the famously boisterous Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.
And the environment did not disappoint. On a temperate evening that brought atmospheric fog into the building, the Saprissa supporters blanketed the stadium with singing, chanting, drumming and a noted cacophony of sound all game.
But the Timbers players were not alone. Around 50 Timbers Army members made the trek to Central America to cheer on the visitors. For Jesus De Lara, who came down with a group of eight, it was a trip that he had been planning for a long time.
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“We waited for the [group] draw to happen and we knew that we were going to want to travel somewhere,” he said. “When [CONCACAF] chose Costa Rica [in our group], we knew we had to come to Costa Rica.”
Tucked away in a corner of the stadium, the traveling contingent sang familiar Timbers Army cheers and waved flags and banners throughout. Though the game’s result didn’t go Portland’s way as they lost 4-2 in an energetic match, the Timbers Army were supporting to the very end. A number of Timbers players came over after the match to show appreciation, high-fiving supporters at the railing.
As for De Lara, the trip didn’t end here as he had already planned to also see some of the famous Costa Rican natural environment. He and his group were planning to leave following the match to head to the Pacific side of the country to explore further.
But the game and Estadio Saprissa experience was definitely something that De Lara and many of the visiting Timbers Army supporters had long been looking forward to, in part to feel the energy of a game in a setting as famous as Saprissa.
“We want to see the atmosphere,” De Lara said just prior to kickoff. “We know we have our Timbers Army and we’ve made a name for ourselves in the United States but what we hear about Saprissa and their supporters group, we want to see it. We’re excited.”