I texted a half dozen friends “Beautiful day 4 soccer” as I walked to work Thursday morning. There was something in the air, even at 7am.
Work was pure torture, but 4pm rolled around and I rolled into the Fryolator-and-cigarette-smoke-infused embrace of the Bullpen. The weather, however, was fine, so we enjoyed the fresh air on the patio. We consumed pitchers and suppressed our giddiness. Primed, we crossed 18th at 6pm to stake out our shoulder-room spots in section 107, row N.
The rest of the evening was pure bliss:
Timber at The Offside: Match 1: Portland Timbers 1-0 Puerto Rico Islanders
The Bottom Line: The Portland Timbers ushered in the 2008 season with a 1-0 victory against the Puerto Rico Islanders in front of 10,977 at PGE Park. Playing a man up after the Islanders Tairo Atieno was shown a straight card in the 40th minute for a behind the ball elbow against Justin Thompson, the Timbers found the net in the 71st minute when Chris Brown blasted home a shot from 30 yards out.
(Check out the links to other match reports at the bottom of the post.)
Tonight was Timber Jim’s last game. He has been the mascot for the Timbers since the 70’s. An amazing person and an icon in the city as far as soccer fans are concerned. I decided to try my hand at a little multimedia, gathering audio and shooting stills and then piecing it all together before leaving the park.
Oregonlive video: Timber Jim puts down chainsaw – a tribute including an interview with Timber Jim and game footage from Thursday night.
Looking to the future: the Timbers’ latest signed player, Benjamin Totori, is well loved in Honiara, Solomon Islands:
Benjamin Totori has always been a footballer with an uncanny ability to succeed at the very highest level. All throughout his career, he has been a shining and most vivid example of how young people can transform their lives when driven by unparralled ambitions. Its a trait I fiercely admire. My blog is proud to announce that this young man will now ply his trade with the Portland Timbers in the United States. Pending international and USSL clearance, Benjamin will have a remarkable opportunity to make his dreams come true. It remains to be seen if Totori will succeed at this level but judging from his past experience, nothing will stop him from achieving his ultimate goal.