Major League Soccer
Saturday 23rd July 2016
Kick off 12.30 Actual 12.58
Portland Timbers 1 Los Angeles Galaxy 2, attendance 21,144
7′ 0-1 R. Keane
11′ 0-2 G. Zardes
41′ 1-2 Z. Valentin
@ Providence Park
1844, Southwest Morrison Street
Portland, OR 97205
Admission $35, fees included, Print at home ticket.
Programme free, 52 pages.
Portland Timbers are probably the only club in the M.L.S. who genuinely sell out their matches. Knowing this meant being on the ball for when tickets were going on sale. I actually phoned the club 2 days prior to the release date for this match, just to confirm the actual time they would go on sale and was surprised to be able to book a ticket over the phone immediately. Three days later I still hadn’t received my tickets via e-mail as promised, but a call to the club saw this rectified within a couple of minutes and they even phoned me back a few minutes later to make sure everything had come through ok. Excellent service. The early kick off also meant that I couldn’t rely on a morning flight arriving on schedule, so I decided to fly in on Friday evening instead, just in case.
Once again, but far worse than normal, the match eventually kicked off 28 minutes late. I don’t know if this was anything to do with a problem with the stadium opening less than an hour prior to kick off following an electronic fault with the turnstiles. No announcement was made, so not sure. As for the teams, when it came to Portland, I have to say I hadn’t heard of a single player, whereas LA had half a dozen I knew of, which didn’t include Steven Gerrard or Ashley Cole, neither of whom even made the squad.
If you only ever visit one stadium in the M.LS. then this is the one to do. A fantastic atmosphere from start to finish, a tight old stadium that has been adapted from baseball to fit ‘soccer’ very well indeed and seemed like the fans here actually understand the game. A lightening start by the visitors, which could easily have been doubled, set the game up brilliantly. The Timbers goal just before the break meant the match held the interest ’til the end. With all home games being genuine sell outs, the few tickets available to the general public are what we would call ‘ restricted view’ in England. Over here, the view of the pitch is of no concern to the majority of sports ‘fans’, as they are not there to watch the game, but to eat and drink for a few hours. However, the poor sight lines are easily rectified, as along the back row, beneath the press boxes, it is possible to sit on bare concrete, where the view is excellent and no less comfortable than the bench seating anyway.
The stadium was opened in 1926, as Multnomah Stadium, and has undergone renovations in 1956, 1982, 2001 and 2011, the year the Timbers joined the M.L.S. As stated, all home games are 21,144 capacity sell outs.
The stadium is well located and walkable from Downtown Portland or accessible by the very good public transport system, although I had hired a car, as I would be heading to another sporting event this evening, which was ideally situated en route to my destination on Sunday afternoon. I had parked maybe 200-300 yards from the stadium, for a reasonable $20, which ensured a trouble free exit from the city.