In a move that surprises nobody since the announcement of an announcement was made yesterday, it appears that the city of Portland will play host to the MLS All Star game in 2014. Today's announcement comes just a few weeks prior to the 2013 MLS All Star game against AS Roma, July 31st.
From a business perspective, the event probably makes a lot of sense for MLS. Portland continually sells out Timbers matches and the city, at large, is very passionate about soccer. From Garber's own words: "This is a very special soccer market." Therein lies the primary reason for the game being hosted here.
That said, I do wonder what kind of hurdles MLS will face in getting a high quality European team (to be determined) to play in Portland. While I'm personally not a grass advocate (I've been on the turf and it's nice) the stigma surrounding artificial surfaces in Europe still very much exists. Whether there are any merits to those complaints is not something I'm going to weigh in on here. It could be that the Portland Timbers will overlay the turf with temporary grass, despite that typically causing more problems.
UPDATE: Near the end of the press conference, Merritt Paulson mentioned that he would like to see grass at Jeld-Wen Field and to "never say never" concerning it being installed. Take that for what you will.
To clarify on the team in question, during the press briefing, Timbers owner Merritt Paulson stated that discussions have already started and that they have a "target" in mind. When they announce who it will be, however, remains undetermined.
I'm sure many of these questions will be repeated ad nauseum as the 2014 game comes up. In the meantime, however, it's kind of nice to see Portland get some love from the league. According to Paulson, this will be the first time Portland has ever hosted such an event.
What do you think about Portland hosting the 2014 MLS All Star Game? Who do you think will play here in Portland?