The Portland Timbers, surely, just want to go home. But before last year’s MLS Cup finalists return to Providence Park after a 12-game road swing to open the season, their upgraded digs will get a soft opening.
T2, the Western Conference side’s USL Championship team, will play two league matches at the newly-renovated stadium: May 25 against El Paso Locomotive FC and May 29 against Real Monarchs SLC, the reserve side of Real Salt Lake. The Timbers will then hit the ground running with a June 1 match against early Supporters’ Shield leaders LAFC.
“As we get closer and closer to the official relaunch of Providence Park, and for all the hard work of everyone involved to come to fruition on June 1, these T2 games are a terrific opportunity for fans to get a first glimpse of this amazing transformation and for our staff to grow with its many new features,” said Mike Golub, president of business for the Timbers.
Providence Park, originally a minor-league baseball ground, has seen an upgrade in seats, concessions, signage and other forms of infrastructure. The project, privately funded, is estimated to have cost $85 million.
While away from home, head coach Giovanni Savarese’s team has gone 3-6-2, with their final road match set for two weekends from now at the Philadelphia Union. They're currently ninth in the Western Conference standings.
In the interim, Portland has largely kept together the core of their 2018 group that lost MLS Cup to Atlanta United, though recently splashed the cash for Argentine forward Brian Fernandez. The move reportedly includes a club-record fee of $10-12 million.