Do you remember the first kick of RSL at Rice Eccles, or even at Rio Tinto? I remember both really clearly and the emotions were off the charts both times. Tonight the Portland Timbers get their moment, no longer a USL team, tonight they will take the pitch as a Major League Soccer team. I can't wait to catch the action tonight
Chicago Fire at Portland Timbers - 9pm MT - ESPN2
Well they may have a funny name for their stadium (Jeld-Wen Field) which sounds like something out of one of the Star Wars movies, their mascot may run around with a freakin chainsaw, and they may have crappy weather tonight but you can be assured of one thing, they will have a packed house full of crazed and dedicated fans.
more after the jump:
Now will the action on the pitch match the fervor of those in the stands? The Timbers haven't exactly impressed on the pitch yet, in fact they have just a single point from their first 3 matches. They have only scored two goals (1 each for Kenny Cooper and Jack Jewsbury), while giving up 6. The Timbers have also had a good number of players cut down (yeah cheesy I know) by injuries, out for this match are Bright Dike, Brian Umony, David Horst, and Troy Perkins. Their first round draft pick Darlington Nagbe is expected to be in the lineup as they take the home pitch for the first time joining MLS. This is a team that still has some kinks to work out and have found out early that playing in MLS is very different than playing in the USL. There is some good talent on this team and I think like the Union last year, they will only get better each week.
So if you don't recognize the names on the Timbers roster, it gets even worse when you look at the Fire's roster and realize that even their fans are struggling to learn names like Gaston Puerari, Jalil Anibaba, and Michael Videira, they will know names like Cory Gibbs, Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa. Perhaps the name on the tips of the tongues of Fire fans is Diego Chaves, who joined the team in the offseason and has found the back of the net 3 times in his first 3 matches with the team, yes 3 goals in 255 minutes. You could say he has been "on fire" (yup cheesy again). I still believe that the Fire long term will only be as good as Marco Pappa plays this year and as he discovers a real partnership with guys like Chaves you have to believe the Fire will also continue to be a team that improves each week.
I don't know how it will go tonight but I do know the emotions will be off the charts for the Timbers players and their fans, I have to believe that it will be enough to help the Timbers get a tough fought 2-1 win.
You can catch all the info and action at:
Hot Time in Old Town- The SB Nation blog that covers all things Chicago Fire
Stumptown Footy- The SB Nation blog that is the networks home for the Portland Timbers
OFF MY SOAPBOX