To Whom it May Concern

Dear Timbers,

On behalf of all sports fans in Oregon, I want to say thank you. There is still a lot of soccer left to be played this year, but regardless of what happens with Portland in these last couple of games, the Timbers have redefined soccer for me.

For the casual sports fan, especially in the U.S., soccer takes a backseat to a lot of other sports, but anyone who thinks this is the case in Portland any longer is mistaken. There has been talk about whether or not Portland is more about the Blazers or about the Timbers now, but that conversation is pointless. We have room for both teams, and their success should build off of each other. Instead of arguing about what kind of city we are, we should enjoy this success while we have it.

The atmosphere at Jeld-Wen Field has been spectacular for a few years now, but this year there has been an added layer to the excitement for this phenomenal fan base: The Timbers are winning. Yes, winning. Not tying—although there was a lot of that during the regular season—it seems as if they are past that point now. This team went to Seattle during the playoffs and won for the first time as an MLS team in their Cascadian Cup rival’s house.

Then they returned home to an absolutely raucous crowd in Portland and took it to the Sounders immediately, scoring two goals in the first half and adding a third early in the second to almost completely eliminate any hopes the Sounders had.

Okay, so the wins were great. Actually, fantastic. I imagine there are a lot of people out there like me who were not exactly soccer fans before the arrival of the MLS in Portland but have slowly made the transformation. I watched all 180 minutes of the Timbers-Sounders playoff matchup, and I loved every single minute.

It’s not just the success. Granted, that is a big reason why the Timbers have dominated the sports media this season. But it is also the way the Timbers have gone about achieving it. They have tried a number of different ways of becoming a MLS power. It started with Kenny Cooper, and it continued with Kris Boyd. But finally the Timbers have found the right mix of players, and it’s showing on the field, in the stands and all around Portland.

The growth of this team has been absolutely spectacular to watch. A team that was known for a great home-field advantage has turned into an MLS power with an even better home-field advantage.

This season has been so much fun to watch, and it has turned me from a casual soccer fan into a die-hard Timbers fan. The beautiful game lives up to its name, even in a league like the MLS that is often laughed at. I wish the Timbers the best of luck in the next few games, and I hope people who do not realize what is going on in Soccer City, USA, figure it out before the upcoming games. This could be a spectacular run—one that should be enjoyed by all Portlanders.

Alex Moore
Vanguard Sports Desk