Soccer doesn’t end with the World Cup

The World Cup has been over for a while now and it may seem like soccer goes with it. 2018 is a long time from now, but that is the next World Cup, and it is the next time we will see soccer on it’s biggest stage.

Lucky for us Portlanders, we don’t have to wait four years to watch quality soccer in a quality atmosphere. In fact, a loud screaming army of fans is just a 15 minute walk from the Portland State campus. So you may think that soccer will now take a backseat to every other sport again, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Interest in the soccer world begins right in front of you. It begins with the Portland Timbers.

The Timbers aren’t exactly having the best year. Coming off their most successful year as a team last season, fans had big expectations for what this team could accomplish in 2014. But Portland got off to a bad start, and haven’t had a rhythm going since then. The Timbers can win big games, and lose games they definitely shouldn’t. And then they do something you would never expect them to. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. This team is a roller coaster to follow, and with the end of the season approaching, it’s bound to get even crazier.

The Timbers are currently in seventh place in their conference, after a big come-from-behind win against the Colorado Rapids. Portland needed those three points to push them within striking distance in the playoff race, which is currently very close. The Timbers are within three points of third place, and are among five teams who are within four points of each other.

Unfortunately for Portland, the Timbers have played a lot more games than the teams in front of them, putting them at a disadvantage. Wins, and the three points that come along with them, will be the only way that Portland can catch up to the teams ahead of them if they want to play in the postseason.

Now I’m not going to tell you that MLS is soccer at the same level as the World Cup, but there is an excitement to the Timbers, whether they are winning or losing. They definitely keep it interesting, unfortunately it doesn’t always work out at the end the way the fans want it.

But if you found yourself enjoying the World Cup, the Timbers are the next best thing we have. Watching head coach Caleb Porter’s squad play will make a soccer fan out of you more than once every four years.

Soccer exists year round, and the MLS may not have all of the big stars—European soccer is where the big World Cup names are, other than a few American stars of course—but right now, not even Europe is playing, so take this time to understand club soccer at a smaller level; at Providence Park where the Portland Timbers are playing for their playoff lives every time they step on the field (pitch).