A Day Long Remembered
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Apologies for the terrible Star Wars reference, but for those of us who live eight hours away, Portland Timbers games are special occasions.
I truly believe that Timbers games are the best sporting atmosphere in the United States -- they certainly rival anything I've attended internationally as well.
As I've gone on the record with multiple times over the past few years, I don't think the atmosphere can be accurately depicted through words or images. You really have to go see it for yourself.
That being said, I did my best in my column this week to summarize my thoughts of Timbers - Sounders: the best rivalry in American sports.
For my photographer Jesse Mattson, and me, the match is something we won't soon forget.
Aside from the amazing tifo, here are some notable images that Mattson was able to capture during the match:
For his two goal performance in the 3-1 victory, Timbers playmaker Diego Valeri was voted as the MLS Player of the Week, but that's not what I want to focus on in this photo of him taking a corner kick.
Rather, shift your attention to the banner next to the Norwegian flag. The art depicts Portland's 2015 MLS Cup trophy next to a cup of Joe from Starbucks.
While the Timbers have generally been the worse of the two teams in their MLS tenures, Seattle have failed to win the big trophy in domestic soccer (though they've captured four Open Cup titles and one Supporters' Shield).
During pre-game warmups, the stadium camera slow zoomed onto this banner, bringing a noise out of the crowd that nearly shattered my ears all the way up in the open-air press box.
Portland's tifo game: always on point.
I often wonder why one chooses to become a goalkeeper. You have to be crazy, they often say. Crazy and okay with loneliness.
The opening goal wasn't Stefan Frei's fault, but imagine what's going through his mind in this image as the Timbers Army collectively celebrate right behind him.
The images of goalkeepers alone after conceding haunt me for some reason -- it's like you're peering right into their soul.
We can't know for sure, but Frei certainly looks to have the 1000-yard stare right here, and who can blame him?
Lastly, no Timbers game is complete without Timber Joey, who cuts off a part of a scarf-adorned log after each Timbers goal. Why? Because Portland.
Never change, Rose City.