I mentioned before in seangates fanpost about "devotion" how last year I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Munich and the Allianz Arena. Of course, I had to bring along my scarves and jerseys, just to represent the club thousands of miles away from home. I visited a German school, along with my German friend, wearing Timbers gear that gained curious looks from kids decked out in Bayern München shirts,shorts,hoodies, etc. One kid came up to me and asked in pretty decent English for his age, "Where is Port-lahnd?" When I said America, he sort of frowned as if to say, "they have fußball in America?" The more and more I walked around the city, I got a real appreciation for a "real" soccer city. I was in a mall when they made the announcement that Pep Guardiola was the new manager, and I swear as soon as the announcement was made, masses of people started to crowd around the televisions. Before my visit, I thought Bayern fans were bandwagoners, just supporting the team because they were just coming off the European treble. After more and more time spent, I saw a city which revolved around Bayern. I think we have that here as well.
I've seen comments on YouTube and other sites, usually from Europeans (particularly British) who discredit the MLS for its lack of support. I laugh and say "well you've never been to Downtown Portland on a gameday, or have you seen the KC Cauldron?" But as trolls typically do, they find a way to slam my response with some inaccurate piece of hoopla.
As a result, come Aug. 6, I hope we put on a show. The best team in the world is coming to town. The likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Manuel Neuer, Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinstieger and maybe even Robert Lewandowski will be playing on our home pitch. Players that we would dream to see in green and gold will be playing in our city. It would make me smile to think that those same kids that I met in a German school some 9 months ago, would know who the Timbers Army is, and see the finest in American supporters culture.
Nevertheless, I'm excited. To think that maybe there are supporters from Munich who will come and take pictures with their Bayern gear outside of Providence Park, just as I did with my Timbers scarves and jersey outside of the Allianz Arena, gives me joy. This is a great opportunity to show who we are on a global stage, and I can't wait to see it happen.