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Portland Timbers Games
The sixth largest city on the West Coast – following Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle – Portland, Oregon is beginning to embrace sports entertainment. This city known for their liberalism and environmentalism, but they are dipping their toes into professional sports with the Portland Trail Blazers in National Basketball Association, the Portland Thorns in National Women’s Soccer League, and the Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer. Despite the slow progression of sports in Oregon, the Portland Timbers are a growing team with a surprisingly engaged spport base. To learn more about them, keep reading.
In 2009, Portland was awarded an expansion team for MLS. When they started competing in 2011, they became the fourth team to uphold the name “Timbers,” which can be traced back to the ‘70s when the city participated in the now defunct North American Soccer League. The current iteration of the Portland Timbers was largely pushed by Merritt Paulson, the majority owner of Peregrine Sports, whose other projects include the Portland Beavers and the USL Timbers. Years before being granted a team, Paulson pushed to prioritize creating a soccer-specific stadium in Portland – a requirement for obtain an MLS club. When he lined up upgrade plans for the old PGE Park, the ball started to roll.
PGE Park is now Providence Park. It has been the Portland Timbers’ home since they began playing in 2011. It is shared with other local teams such as the Portland State Vikings and the Portland Thorns FC. Although there were controversies regarding the city investing so much in sports, the renovation was a success, and Providence Park was completed with seats for 20,000 patrons. However, since opening in 2011, soccer has become so popular that Portland City Council approved another $50 million expansion to increase seating capacity to around 26,000 total seats. The Portland Timbers have shockingly sold out every home game to date, backed by loyal support groups such as the Timbers Army.
On the field, the Portland Timbers has rivalries with a nearby West Coast team, the Seattle Sounders FC. This rivalry originated in the North American Soccer League, and it picked up where it left off when Portland joined MLS. When the teams compete – such as in the 2013 MLS playoffs – crowds go wild, and tickets fly. Another key rivalry is with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, a Canadian team just north of the United States. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Seattle Sounders FC, and Portland Timbers compete against one another for the Cascadia Cup, which is awarded to the best soccer team in the Pacific Northwest. Recently, the Portland Timbers have ranked in the upper half of the Western Conference, a sign that they have a fighting shot at the Cascadia Cup. Follow the Portland Timbers to see how they fare.