PORTLAND, Ore. — Rain? What rain?
Despite steady showers, the Portland Timbers’ supporters showed up early to JELD-WEN Field, lining the sidewalks around the newly refurbished stadium. They were too excited to get in and start singing their songs and waving their banners to arrive on time.
Once inside, led by the Timbers Army, the entire fanbase created one of the most energetic and uplifting environments MLS has ever seen, inspiring the Timbers to their first-ever MLS victory, 4-2, over the Chicago Fire.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Portland 4, Chicago 2
“I don’t think you’ve seen an atmosphere like that in American soccer history—ever,” coach John Spencer said after the match. “I think it was tremendous. When we came out for warm up, I thought it was electrifying.”
The north end of the stadium, home to the Timbers Army, filled long before the other sections, and they kept up a steady soundtrack of songs, including “Timbers Wonderland” and “Bury Me in Timbers Green.” The tifo display, including banners depicting many iconic images of Portland, was as organized and colorful as any MLS has seen before.
But the most thrilling moment came just before kickoff, when the Timbers Army led the entire stadium in the singing of the national anthem.
And once the game began, they had more reasons to cheer. “When the first goal went, it was pretty incredible,” Spencer said.
By tradition, each time the Timbers score, the club mascot, Timber Joey, chainsaws a slab of wood from a massive log erected in front of the north end. He was a busy man on the night, slicing off four slabs that were then given to the goal scorers after the match. The goalscorers then saluted the Timbers Army by raising their slabs overhead.
“It was kind of surreal,” Rodney Wallace, who notched the second goal, said. “I’ve never had an experience like that before after a win.”
In many ways, neither have the Timbers’ fans.