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Timbers Army - March 12, 2012
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

Kick Off: Timbers supporters give MLS night to remember

Just when you thought they couldn't top what they did last year, the Timbers Army outdid themselves in front of a national TV audience yesterday in their first league match of 2012.

Forget the final 3-1 win by the hometown side over the Philadelphia Union (watch the full match highlights here). The real memories were made by the Timbers faithful.

If you don’t believe us, watch them singing the US national anthem. They floored the president of NBC Sports, Jon Miller: “I’ve been with NBC for 34 years, and I have never seen anything like this tonight. This has blown me away”.

In fact, the postgame questions were about the fans and the best soccer column of the day was written about them. The Oregonian’s John Canzano, who sat in the Timbers Army for the match, writes: “It's so Portland here that a Timbers game now feels as essential to quickly understanding this city as a visit to Powell's Books and Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Rose Garden at Washington Park. Maybe more …”

Who knows whether it was the Timbers Army that got in the head of young Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who faced the music on his slip-up which allowed Portland to equalize: “It was unfortunate. It was a little lack of concentration.”

Watch video of Union manager Peter Nowak addressing the media after the match, when he says: “If we can hold up for another 5 to 10 minutes [after their opening goal], it would be a different game. I’m not disappointed with anything.”

The tone was very different in the press conference for Timbers manager John Spencer, who reiterates his expectations that goal-scoring DP Kris Boyd loads up on the postgame logs awarded for goals in Portland: “I think he’s going to end up building a house with the logs he’s got. A nice big log cabin. Hopefully he buys a nice big plot of land somewhere with a good views.” (VIDEO)

Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury, who enjoyed how the rain and cold added to the atmosphere on Monday night, is setting the bar high for his team: “The sky is the limit for this group and I’m just excited to be here.” (VIDEO)

A successful year by the Timbers in Year 2 may add even more pressure to succeed on the expansion Montreal Impact. Owner Joey Saputo says the wins must come soon enough: “Our fans will be patient, but we don’t expect for them to accept the expansion team excuse for very long.”

Staying in Canada, lucky for Vancouver Whitecaps fans that Sebastien Le Toux is terrible at dancing. That was his first “sport” growing up: “It was just me dancing with the girls and I was awful. Probably 10 girls with me and they were making fun of me because I can't touch my toes. I remember that. So I said: 'Next year, put me in the [soccer] team. I can't dance any more.’”

Caleb Porter and his US Olympic side want to go to the big dance in London and the U-23 manager will meet with media today to discuss how he plans to emerge from CONCACAF Olympic qualifying with a roster that features 13 MLS players.

There’s a controversy surrounding the decision by adidas to discontinue the color black from the six colors offered to MLS goalkeepers this year. RSL netminder Nick Rimando is particularly “gutted” after having to wear orange last weekend and he gave his jersey away on the final whistle: “I figure if I keep on giving them away, I won't have to wear them any more.”

Blackburn Rovers players Michel Salgado, formerly of Real Madrid, and Australian Vincent Grella are rumored to be in the crosshairs of MLS clubs. Salgado is reportedly in talks with Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC, while Houston are linked with Grella.

Speaking of Houston, the Dynamo play the Honduran Olympic team in a friendly match on Thursday, according to this article. (SPANISH)

In Scotland, they list three players that are supposedly on Paul Mariner’s wish list for Toronto FC. The Englishman was confirmed to be at a match in Scotland on Sunday.

The New England Revolution are rumored to be signing Karlsruher FC player Florian Lechner, who no longer figures in the plans of the 2. Bundesliga club. He says the contract is on the table. (GERMAN)

Meanwhile, Chicago Fire playmaker Sebastian Grazzini, who says that he sees no weak spots in the 2012 Fire squad, claims that his MLS contract expires in June and that it’s still unclear where his future lies this summer. (SPANISH)

An 18-year-old goalkeeper who hasn’t played a minute in MLS is possibly looking at a transfer to English giants Chelsea FC. This report claims that the EPL side will take “a long look” at this FC Dallas goalkeeper with a view to a summer move.

Later this afternoon the Seattle Sounders will arrive in Mexico, where they face Santos Laguna in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg tomorrow. Will Eddie Johnson start this match for Seattle? Manager Sigi Schmid says it will be a game-time decision.

The first CONCACAF Champions League semifinalist will be determined later tonight when Monterrey host Morelia holding a 3-1 aggregate goal lead from the first leg (10 p.m. ET, Galavision).

In Europe, they are awaiting for more quarterfinalists to emerge. Two will come from today’s second leg between FC Basel and Bayern Munich (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus) and then the return match pitting Olympique Marseille against Inter Milan (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer).

If you have the ability to watch more than one screen this afternoon, there’s also the Merseyside derby pitting Liverpool and Everton on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (4 p.m. ET).

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

The New York Red Bulls player who is Larry Bird’s MLS doppelganger

Sporting KC’s Aurelien Collin showing off new side in 2012

The MLS player who has earned the label “stud” from his teammates after one game

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