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Sun. Dec 7th at 3:00pm EST · ESPN · UniMas · UDN · TSN1 · RDS2
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Final

Kick Off: Portland delivers in opener, Ream's sorry

Portland Timbers fans

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“I don’t think you’ll see an atmosphere like that in American soccer history — ever.” – Timbers owner Merritt Paulson

“Best day ever.” – Timbers' supporter Phil Kennedy

"Even during the warm-up, I thought it was electrifying … Myself and the staff were talking and saying, 'This doesn't feel like the U.S. No disrespect to anybody, but it felt like you were playing in the [European] Champions League." – Timbers manager John Spencer

“It’s the best crowd I’ve played in front of in MLS.” – Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury

“It was just a magical night … It was just such a great privilege to be out there playing in front of those fans.” – Timbers forward Kenny Cooper

”Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve and Your Horrible Neighbor is Moving all rolled into one festive occasion.” – Kerry Eggers, The Portland Tribune

Those are just a handful of attempts to describe what American soccer experienced on Thursday night.

For an image of what Thursday night’s win over the Chicago Fire represented for the citizen of Portland, read this column by The Oregonian’s John Canzano, who says he’s “a believer.” Several members of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, who were at the match, will likely have said the same thing.

Here’s a video report from JELD-WEN Field, which provides a taste of the atmosphere that was experienced.

Although he admitted that he “felt a little scared” when the Chicago Fire cut the Timbers’ lead to 3-2, Spencer called it one of the best experiences of his life. The former EPL player says he wanted to win Thursday’s MLS regular season game more than the 1994 English FA Cup final.

Alongside forward Jorge Perlaza, who scored two goals in Portland’s win, the star of the night was the Timbers Army. In case you missed it, here’s the TA singing the national anthem before the match.

For an explanation of why the Timbers Army is so important, this report puts the deep connection between the supporters and club into historical context.

Relive the match through photos: a gallery of 44 stirring images from the unforgettable night in Portland, courtesy of The Oregonian.

Timber Joey was one of the busiest people at JELD-WEN Field on opening night with more than a couple of lumber slices to saw off. But did you know that Timber Joey does not play soccer? Professional bare back bronco riding is his cup of tea.

As if they weren’t busy enough prepping for the weekend slate of matches, clubs around the league are also planning some last-minute signings before the close of the international transfer window today. And the rumor mill is churning, especially regarding Colombian players.

This report from Colombia says that young forward Andres “Manga” Escobar can potentially land in Portland or Philadelphia, two clubs already featuring multiple Colombians. (SPANISH)

Finnish striker Juho Makela could be on his way to the Chicago Fire according to articles from Finland and Australia. (FINNISH)

One day after LA Galaxy star David Beckham made his voice heard on referee decisions he did not agree with, it was another Englishman, Colorado Rapids manager Gary Smith, who feels his team were “robbed of a point” in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.

The New York Red Bulls are in for a challenge this weekend from a San Jose Earthquakes side that is playing their best soccer since rejoining MLS, according to SJ manager Frank Yallop.

Speaking of the Red Bulls, defender Tim Ream has apologized to the fan base for his error which cost his team in a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union. He issued the mea culpa in his blog entry for the New York Times.

The good news for NYRB is that French designated player Thierry Henry has been declared fit to start for the match against San Jose at Red Bull Arena after it didn’t look so promising earlier in the week. It will be touch-and-go with Henry’s Achilles injury.

Another designated player, Seattle’s Fredy Montero, has in fact traveled with the Sounders to Philadelphia, where he will play with a cast to protect his wrist if he sees time with the Union.

Toronto FC defender Nana Attakora hopes to win back a starting spot when TFC host D.C. United on Saturday. He admits he’s had personal problems which have taken him off his game.

In Columbus, former Crew defender Gino Padula explains the philosophy behind the “Schelotto and Padula Soccer Academy.” Guillermo Barros Schelotto himself will be working on the project in Ohio beginning this July.

They’re building a youth soccer base for the moment, but the New York Cosmos are shooting to be part of MLS. The New York Times Magazine, profiles the man behind the project, Paul Kemsley, who promises a Studio 54 party should he make his dream a reality.

Is this real? Apparently, they’re still looking for an heir to Paul the Octopus, who enjoyed a world-renowned streak of picking games during the World Cup. In Malaga, Spain they’re going to have two octopi go head-to-head for the new crown.

A 360-degree spin move that results in a goal? Denis Bergkamp scored a famous one for Arsenal but there may be someone who outdid the Dutch attacker and he comes from Paraguay. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Chivas USA manager Robin Fraser confirms preliminary talks with Brazilian Zé Roberto

MLS Commissioner addresses complaints regarding inconsistencies in officiating

Landon Donovan in doubt for match in Chicago due to knee inflammation