Thursday, July 2, 2009

Timbers and Sounders Match Had Plenty Of Atmosphere

From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup
Packed house.


Despite the Portland Timbers' 2-1 loss to MLS side Seattle, last night's US Open Cup match at PGE Park in Portland was a good time. MLS executives will probably be drooling over the turnout and genuine soccer atmosphere at last night's match. The game was a sellout according to reports, although I did notice a space to fit in more people in the stands, not including the tarped off top 10 rows. (Who knows exactly why they did not open those seats up.) There was great fan support, and the match turned out to be pretty good despite Seattle not dressing some of its bigger names.

Sounders fans made the trek down to Portland to root on their team in large numbers standing outside the northeast entrance chanting quaint things like "We hate Portscum" and other things like that. Nobody ever said Seattle fans were very creative or smart.

From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup
Sounders fans represent.


Joining the Sounders fans were lots of people trying to buy and sell tickets. Tickets were reportedly sold out and there was actually a ticket scalping market for a US Open Cup match in Portland. Amazing. It's unclear whether the scalpers were actually making money but I did hear one guy offer $45 for two tickets which were presumably the $12 general admission tickets ($17 on the day of the game).

From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup

Damn scenesters playing hacky sack during the game.


Even the viewing deck of the swanky Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) on the south side of the field was packed with non-paying spectators. (For some reason the MAC members are all allowed to watch events at PGE Park without paying for tickets, there must be some sort of deal going on.) Fans lined the street on the west to get
a free peep at the action as well.

From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup
Rich people watching for free.


From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup
Poor people watching for free.


Inside most everything was orderly and I grabbed seats in a section right above the Timbers Army (TA) behind the north goal. TA was revved up for this match singing well before the match began, even doing a little chant for Timbers owner Merritt Paulson as he walked out on the pitch. Paulson gave a little wave and clap because he knows TA really helps sell his product.

There were even distasteful signs from the TA. A "Knulla Ljungberg" banner, which a quick google tells me is roughly "eff Ljungberg." It seems the sex was a little too rough as Seattle's DP was out injured for the match. Another one, shown earlier, exhorts University of Portland alum Kasey Keller to "Do the Cobain" with a shotgun drawing to further illustrate that they didn't mean become a hugely successful musician with an icon status. (Note: I found this to be in pretty poor taste, but I'm not one who can really be a judge of taste.)

From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup
Is this necessary?


From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup

It's an orca, but I think they want it to represent a "flounder".

The now-retired Timber Jim made two appearances. One in the flesh and one in cardboard. The latter being a giant Timber Jim carboard cutout, complete with chainsaw, cutting down the Space Needle. Needless to say, that was quite good. Unfortunately, I was behind it and it looked more like some weird fetish act, but there is a good video of it here.

From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup
Timber Jim may get arrested for that.


From Timbers v. Sounders US Open Cup
Aaaach...They're heeeere!

After all of that, the game started. Seattle jumped on Portland with a goal in the first minute of the match after some poor marking left Roger Levesque free to head home the opener. During the goal celebration Nate Jaqua mimicked chopping Levesque down with an axe. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Portland looked rather ragged in the first half. It could not maintain possession and its backline looked like Real Madrid's against Barcelona. Seattle earned its second goal in the 27th minute as Stephen King knocked in a goal from the 18 that ricocheted off the left post and into the net. A sublime shot after the loose ball Portland could not close down.

Portland pulled one back in the 43rd minute when a loose ball was poked in by Mandjou Keita. It was nice heads up play by Portland's one decent offensive force. Keita narrowly missed a header in the eighth minute going only inches wide of Keller's post. If it had not been for Keita's goal before half, I fully expected the match to favor Seattle 4-0 or 4-1.

The second half was a much better affair as Portland started to maintain some possession, but lacked the quality in the final third. Portland's left back was dire, though. Missing markings and arguing about offside calls when he was caught ball watching. Portland had several good buildups but was never able to make the final pass or pull the trigger at the correct time.

Sigi Schmid, Seattle's manager, sensed some danger and inserted Fredy Montero, the Colombian rookie who has looked very promising this season. Montero was clearly a cut above the rest but he tried to do too much on his rather than work within the system. Lots of flash yesterday, but not much to show for it. Little did Portland fans know that the "Montero, no means no" chant could soon be directed at Nate Jaqua.

As the game went along, Seattle started with its stalling tactics. Sanna Nyassi, who previously played for Portland, flopped on the ground in the corner like a fish out of water. Nobody was around him and he just rolled around on the ground like somebody was rending his flesh. Portland's keeper, Steve Cronin, was very upset with Nyassi's histrionics. Yelling and gesticulating at him so much the ref waved him away. Then Nyassi continued to roll around to put out a non-existent fire.

Unfortunately, some fan decided to peg him with a water bottle. Deserving or not, that just cannot happen. But, it gave Cronin an excuse to run over at Nyassi, yell some more and pick up the water bottle. On his way back, Cronin gave the Timbers Army a nice smile and discrete thumbs up it appeared, but it was tough to tell. There was no debate that he was pleased that Nyassi had gotten a little comeuppance for his high school dramatic acting.

Despite the loss, TA continued to sing until the final whistle. I captured some video on my new phone, here and here. Overall, it was a successful piece of marketing for the Timbers and nice sales pitch as the team tries to convince Portland to pony up funds for a makeover for PGE Park. It had everything; a packed house, boisterous fans and enjoyable atmosphere. About the only thing more you could have asked for was a victory. That will come when the financial power is more equal.

20 comments:

Bigus Dickus said...

Fantastic!

Precious Roy said...

It seems the sex was a little too rough as Seattle's DP was out injured for the match.

Bravo.

Mike Georger said...

I don't get the gun banner.

The Fan's Attic said...

Not sure if you're serious or not.

Mike Georger said...

Well considering I can't read backwards very well, yes, yes I am.

Mike Georger said...

I guess 'cant read' the banner would have been better.

The Fan's Attic said...

It's clear you can't read because I explain the banner in the paragraph above it.

Anyway, it deals with Cobain, Keller and telling Keller to do something Cobain did.

Mike Georger said...

Goddamnit I missed that paragraph. When I saw it in the backpasses I thought it said 'do the corain' and I was very very confused, the 'b' looked like an 'r'. (Whats a battle?)

Yeah, that is in poor taste.

Lucas said...

Orca > Sammy Sounder > The Pod

MoonshineMike said...

Why do you hate use hacky sack scenesters?!?

Lauren said...

Did you honestly expect Ljungberg to play on that pitch?

The Fan's Attic said...

Did I expect Nate Jaqua to have allegations of sexual assault leveled against him today?

The Fan's Attic said...

I hate them for playing hacky sack in the middle of a game. They are fucknuts.

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

Wish I could have made it down for the game. I had a few buddies that piled in a van to go represent. Luckily, they showed it on TV up here in Seattle so I was able to watch the Timbers go down. Looked like a great atmosphere. Should be good times once the Timbers join the MLS...

Dirt said...

Timbers are rubbish. Nice tifo but Portland and ACES need to stop worrying about Seattle and start worrying about their own affairs. WTF is up with Timbers wearing away shirts at home?

Ashley said...

Black isn't the away kit. Black is for Exhibition matches or Open Cup Matches. White is the away Kit

Bigus Dickus said...

No photo of Timber Jims first appearance? In the Flesh? Is he a man mountain? Or a part time Walmart clerk with no teeth and alcohol issues weilsding a gas-less chainsaw?

Johnny said...

@Dirt Both sides wanted to wear green. But the referee decided neither Seattle's rave green kit or their change kit (rave blue) provided enough contrast with Portland's dark green. So the Timbers had to wear black.

Stearling said...

Hell of a match, we sit in 118 and got to see all the TA love and that Sh!ttle fan get his face crushed after attacking some Timbers fans and the security in the Beer garden.

We didn't play terrible, what did you expect from us? We're third in the USL with two games in hand...yea yea, big deal right? Match the payrolls and there is no reason we should have been in that game.

Can't wait till 2011!

Dirt said...

@Johnny I know they wanted both wear green but Sigi and staff conveniently forgot to bring the blue away shirts. lol