—by Matt Lindley
Winning a championship can have a very definitive effect on a professional sports team, especially one with a strong supporters group like the Timbers Army. The biggest impact will likely be an influx of new blood into the North End, so as a service to our newest TA, I humbly offer the following:
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT, N00BS!
EPISODE 1: TWO TEAMS — ONE CUP!
Portland Timbers vs. Columbus CrewSo, who do we play this week (or, what did Matt learn on Wikipedia)?:
The Columbus Crew were an inaugural member of MLS and had the first ever MLS Draft pick: USMNT legend, Brian McBride. In 1999, they moved into the first soccer-specific stadium in United States history. 16 years later, that stadium hosted an MLS Cup final. (Things did not end well.) Speaking of MLS Cups, the Crew won one once! That’s right! In 2008, the Crew won an MLS Cup under head coach Sigi Schmid. Schmid promptly resigned his post to live out his dream of opening a dessert bakery in the Seattle area.
Last time we saw them... Time flies when you have a three-month off season.
What to watch for…: NEW COLUMBUS UNIFORMS!!
They might be wearing these beauties. Prepare for the drunk guy behind you to make pee jokes… a lot of pee jokes.
Player to watch for: Kei Kamara. Despite his choice in hairstyle, he finished second in the league in scoring. He’ll be coming in hot and probably want to make a statement against team that ripped the MLS cup from his grasp just three months ago.
Know your fellow supporters: The Columbus supporters are called the “Nordecke” and were born out of a merging of the team’s original three SGs [that stands for “supporters groups,” kids]. They will likely travel well, considering the circumstances.
FUN FACT! “Nordecke” is German for “Hey, youse guys look thirsty down there!” Hospitality at its finest.
Match prediction: Being opening day, this one will have all the bells and whistles:
Epic tifo? Check.
Pre-game ceremonies? Check.
More than one annoying person in your section that co-opts WAY too much British slang? “I’ll be right chuffed, guvna!”
As far as the match, the atmosphere will be insane, but the Timbers always come slow out of the gate, so I’ll have to guess…
2-1 Timbers :)