The experience started off rather poorly, as it seemed I would never make it to Jeld Wen.
First, I got off on the wrong exit, I managed to find Delta Park fine when i went to a Blazer game last season, but no such luck Friday night. Then I got stuck in Friday Rush Hour traffic. It took a while, but I finally did make my way to the Park n Ride. We get on Max and enjoy the ride into downtown.
Then I made mistake #2 for the evening. There were a number of other people sporting Timbers gear on the train, so I told my girlfriend "Hey, there's other Timbers fane, we can just follow them". Keep in mind, I knew where I was going, had everything planned out. Yellow line to Pioneer Square, Blue line to JWF, I knew it. The problem is, I wasnt exactly sure where Pioneer Square was, and the part of the train that tells you the next stop wasnt working. Sooooo we ended up getting off the train like 5 or 6 blocks too early, but I got us to the Square, and we got on the Shuttle Bus up to the Stadium. In the end, everything worked out okay, and we got there just about 7. We got some food (me a very tasty Timbers dog, and the GF a Deluxe Nacho which, as it turns out, is gigantic, and too spicy for my taste)and found some seats. We ended up in section 203 as the lower bowl was already packed. It took a little while, but rest assured, our section filled to the brim. If I got any closer to the dude next to me, Payment probably would've been required, and the drunk guy on the other side of the GF liked to wave his beer hand around, but it worked out well, because our respective signifcant others were equally clueless as to the action on the field, and thus enjoyed each others company. Now, on to the game.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how agressive Portland was playing. Now, I'm no soccer expert, and I haven't been able to watch as many matches are I would've liked this season. But from what I have seen, I've learned that when the Timbers are agressive, good things happen, and when they aren't, its usually not pretty. But on this night, this glorious night, agressive was the play, and the second goal followed. Then it was absolute insanity. Screaming, cheering, yelling. Jumping, high-fiving, shoulder slapping, and a gloriously solitary smoke bomb. That was when I knew that this was a special night.
The first half wound down. My girlfriend left with drams of giant popcorn buckets and soda. The crowd in 203 thinned and I was able to rest my legs. It really is amazing how exhausting it can be to stand for an extended, particularly when I can't really move due to the afformentioned guy that was pressed up against my shoulder. So I took my respite, enjoyed some popcorn and a capless Barq's, and reveled in the beauty that is a 2-0 halftime lead.
The second half begins, and as the clock ticks up (I had to explain that to my GF, but she got it eventually), the action on the field continues. More agressive play. Sal Zizzo going And-1 (or the soccer equivelant) and dribbling around fools was completely awesome. Kenny Cooper making mistakes that even I could see? That wasn't so awesome. As an aside, I know that he's been somewhat of a dissappointment thus far, but I was surprised by the level of apparent hate for the guy. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the Rose Garden-esque "Kenny, Cooper" chant that immediately followed the anti-Cooper ugliness. There were some questionable officiating calls, and some not. There was a goal wiped away, I was so busy going crazy that I don't even know why it was taken away. Then there was the one that wasn't wiped away. The absolutely amazing and increidble and unexpected third goal.
If the first goal was awesome, the second was unbelievable, the third could be summed it one word; COLD! In the celebration following the 3rd goal, the one so great that I'm running out of descriptive words, the dude behind me spilled what I'm fairly certain was a pretty full beer down my back. My shirt was soaked, as were my pants, and the bench, and the ground, and the bottom of my shoes. Now, I pride my self on being a pretty "Zen-like" person, so, naturally, I pretty much laughed it off. I definately wasnt happy, but it was basically inevitable, and if I had had a full cup in my hand, I'm sure it would've happened to the poor bastard in front of me as well.
The game was over, everyone knew it, except for the clock. I don't know how much time was left. I don't remember details of the play that followed. I think I was sort of in fact that the Timbers had managed three goals. I think I remeber Perkins making at least a few impressive saves. And there were a few minutes of stoppage. And there was "You are my sunshine" and the chant at the end of the game. And there was Tetris, I couldn't possibly forget Tetris. I got it on camera, I havent yet watched the video, but if it turned out decent, I may add it to this post, along with some other pictures I took, if it so pleases the people who end up reading this. Suffice it to say, Tetris was incredible. Unfortunately, it didn't reach me. By the final time it happened it had crept its way into 203, pretty far in fact. I think it ended up 3 rows below mine. A few people between me and it tried to participate, but it really takes a majority to work. That would probably be my biggest regret, not being a piece in the Tetris, one of the coolest things I've ever seen at a sporting event. Well that, and leaving before the passing out of the log slices. But theres always next time, right?
If my first Timbers game, several seasons ago, got me hooked. this experience has left me addicted. Like your typical addiction, the game left me exhausted and hurting (I couldnt talk the next day), and most importantly, I can't wait until I get to see another match. And if you're lucky, you may get another recap, I get paid by the word, right?