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Timbers claim top atmosphere in American soccer

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on April 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm with 5 Comments »
April 17, 2011 10:04 am
Fireworks, Timbers Army display moments before MLS kickoff in Portland.

The Sounders and Timbers won’t only compete on the pitch. And after their opening game at Jeld-Wen Field tonight, the Timbers upped the supporters’ rivalry by claiming tonight to have been the best soccer atmosphere not only in MLS but ever in American soccer.

“I don’t think you see an atmosphere like that in American soccer history – ever,” coach John Spencer said. “I think it was tremendous. We came out in warm-up and I thought it was electrifying. It was pretty incredible. Me and the staff were talking and just saying this doesn’t feel like the U.S. – no disrespect to anybody – this feels like a Champions League game.

“I thought the atmosphere before the game – during the national anthem and stuff – I haven’t seen that in American soccer to be honest with you. It was tremendous.”

Spencer went on to expand his praise even beyond the U.S., saying that this crowd would compete with anything in the Scottish Premier League aside from Celtic and Rangers … even with all but the biggest clubs of the EPL.

Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said this was the best crowd he’s seen — and heard — in his nine seasons of Major League Soccer.

“It unbelievable,” he said, when I asked for a direct comparison with Sounders crowds. “Obviously I probably have some favoritism here, but for me it’s the best crowd I’ve played in front of in MLS. The Timbers Army: unbelievable the whole game. Like I said, even when (Chicago) got two goals back it seemed like they got louder. It was unbelievable. I knew it was going to be something special, but I didn’t even expect something like that. You know Seattle’s great, don’t get me wrong, but tonight was an unbelievable atmosphere that they created and spurred us on to a big three points that we needed.”

The attendance was 18,627 — which is roughly half of what the Sounders draw at Qwest Field. However, Jewsbury said he has heard the architecture of the stadium — and maybe especially the enclosed, wrapping and steep north end of the Timbers Army — amplifies the sound.

“From what I’ve heard even before the game they said (with the pitch) below ground level the sound just kind of reverberates,” he said. “Boy you can hear it once everybody gets going. It was special.”

Here’s more on the stadium from the Timbers’ website.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. Lavarock says:

    Congrats to the Timbers for not only their first MLS victory, but for their first victory at home. Cascadia will be the hardest region to play in for American soccer. This victory makes the Cascadian teams 3-0 for their franchise home openers, and that’s something to be proud of. Again, congrats Portland, but I still hate you.

  2. EverydayFan says:

    The Bad Boys of Cascadia have arrived … Good on you for improving MLS … But you’re still Portland scum to me.

    Your pop-off coach and GM will learn some respect soon enough.

  3. They did a fine job but I’d say that’s a bit much.

  4. firewood says:

    One home game with a good crowd, and Portland is now the “King” of MLS? In the words of Mike Lafontaine, “I don’t think so!”

  5. elmocatt says:

    Seriously doubt their claims – looks like the new digs did not change the north end and west side of old PGE much and only added some bleacher type seats on the opposite east side. Although the north end was loud, sound used to escape out that east side – probably still does, since the east side is still at street level even with the added new seats.

    Anyway, their bubble will burst come July 10 when the Sounders come to town. I know we have owned them both on the pitch, and in the stands, in the last two years for open cup matches.

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