Thursday, July 30, 2009

Portland Timbers – Puerto Rico Islanders (23-07-2009)

Although I have (unfortunately) left the Northwest, for now at least, I had one last opportunity to see my Timbers at home, when I flew back to Eugene to drive our second car cross-country. I arrived at PGE Park just 10 minutes before kick-off and was faced with long lines in front of the ticket offices.

With some delay, I bought a General Admission ticket for $12 and made my way to the Timbers Army section(s). I had just missed the national anthem of Puerto Rico (well, if Northern Ireland can have one, why not Puerto Rico!), but am sure these Islanders fans enjoyed it.

A stunning 14,103 people had come this Thursday evening for the big game in the USL 1 (the Second Division) between the actual leaders, the Puerto Rico Islanders, and the virtual leaders, the Portland Timbers, with less point but also less games. The expectations for the game were high, particularly in Portland, even though the Timbers have had troubles scoring against good teams. Timber Joey had his chainsaw and wood ready…

Unfortunately, we were not in for a treat today. While the game started with a chance (for the Islanders) in the 1st minute, this would turn out to be one of few in the first half. The Islanders also were the better team of the first half, but created few real chances, and thus 0-0 was a logical half time score.

The second half didn’t bring much more, although the Timbers were able to enforce a bit more pressure on their guests. Even the Timbers Army seemed affected, as they were less lively as normally. I recall only three notable attacks; in the 58th minute the Islanders led a good counter over 40 meters but shot just wide, while in the 71st and 82nd minutes the Timbers wasted good attacks with weak finishes. The final score of 0-0 was therefore more than deserved.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed by my ‘last’ game at PGE Park, although it was clear that both teams were tired and of equal strength. And even though the Timbers Army was not at its strongest that evening (no critique here, as I hardly ever sing or shout myself), they still provide the best football atmosphere in the US.

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