All-Star Week is here, folks, and as you all know, the festivities are shifting to Cascadia for the first time in league history as Portland plays host to the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star game.
The Rose City can lay perhaps the strongest claim to the “Soccer City USA” moniker that has persisted around American soccer circles, and this week’s slate of events looks set to provide more ammunition for that argument.
It’s not just the game itself – though the All-Stars’ meeting with Bayern Munich on Wednesday will certainly be a spectacle (9:30 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMas, TSN, RDS).
All week long, fans will be able to experience all Portland has to offer, with the happenings centered around the city’s Waterfront Park and historic Pioneer Courthouse Square, located right in the middle of downtown Portland.
On Sunday at Waterfront Park, famed indie rock band The Flaming Lips will take the stage (5 pm PT / 8 pm ET) in a concert that will also be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com.
The week will continue in high gear from there, with another live show coming on Monday night – the Men in Blazers podcast at Pioneer Courthouse Square (9 pm PT).
Before the show, though, fans can participate in a meet-and-greet with Real Salt Lake and US national team star Kyle Beckerman (4-5:30 pm PT) and witness some of the brightest young soccer talent the league and the city has to offer as some of MLS’ top Homegrown players take on the Portland Timbers U-23s in the inaugural Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game at Providence Park (7 pm PT, live stream on MLSsoccer.com).
The action will continue at Providence Park on Tuesday morning, as both Bayern Munich and the MLS All-Star teams will hold public training sessions, offering fans a chance to see their favorite players practice up close. Bayern will training from 10-11:30 am PT, with the All-Stars following from 1-2 pm PT. Also be sure to stick around afterwards, as MLS WORKS, ESPN and the Special Olympics have joined forces to put on the Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Match, starting at 2 pm PT on Tuesday.
After all the soccer action wraps up, there will be more chances for fans to meet the players, including appearances by USMNT and Sporting KC star Graham Zusi, and D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid. The day’s action wraps up with another concert, this time by indie act The Cold War Kids, starting at 9 pm PT at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
But don’t forget, there is a game on Wednesday, and even if you are in Portland but can’t make it to the stadium, you can catch the action on the big screen at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Win or lose, though, Portland is set to become the center of soccer in North America for the next few days, and it won’t disappoint.