Last Night's Party: Portland v. Chicago
I'll leave the deep & heavy talk about the Timbers debut last night to someone else (who will probably utilize the overused word "historic" in their piece) today because there is plenty to go around but can I just say one thing using another overused word? Yes? Good. Here goes.
I know everyone throws the "D" word around alot in U.S. soccer circles, ("Miami deserves an MLS team", "Qwest Field needs to have grass, the fans deserve better", "Bring back the Cosmos, New York deserves a team in the 5 boroughs") but last night was awesome, even as a neutral, because damn it all Portland DESERVED it. Those fans treated their team like a Ferrari even when it was Ford Focus; the fact that the club was a "minor league" team in USL really seemed to matter little.
Just for the sake of very simple comparison look at Seattle's numbers from 2001-2008, the years they played in the USL/A-League alongside Timbers, then look at Portland's numbers. The Timbers' lowest yearly average is higher than Seattle best year. Hell, in 2009 they only drew 100 fewer bodies on average to games than FC Dallas and in 2010 they outdrew them by 110.
I'm not saying it makes the Oregon folks better than the Washington or Texas folks or anyone else, I'm just saying that the people in PDX have been showing up for years and last night got was they deserved for all their lust for soccer.
They got a night in the spotlight. They got a win in their first MLS home game. They got America (and the world) talking about them. And they finally got a return to this country's top flight.
I'd like to say that you really can't hate on that as an American soccer fan but we all know that's not the case. Portland has been taking its knocks for years, mostly from Seattle and Vancouver, but now the "Portland is full of meth & hippies" comments will come from far and wide.
Oh well, I'm sure they can handle it. Welcome to the bigtime boys.