The Portland Timbers are known around the MLS for having some of the best fans. The Timbers Army makes sure that Providence Park is rockin’ for every home game and PTFC is well represented for away games. While preseason games have a very different feel compared to regular season games, the Arizona regional arm of the Timbers Army, known as the Desert Corps, help give the games a Portland feel with their raucous cheering.
The Desert Corps were formed after the playoffs in 2013, according to Henrik Nielsen. “I spotted a couple of Timbers fans that I had previously connected with, and got them all together, and said, ‘We should do a Tifo,’” Nielsen said at the Desert Corps tailgate before the Cascadia rivalry match against the Seattle Sounders on February 3rd.
The Desert Corps, and regional supporters’ sections as a whole, are a great way for people who grew up, but no longer reside, in Portland to keep a part of the Rose City with them. “It means a lot to me because I’m from Oregon,” Nielsen said. “I think it’s something special in soccer that we have this tailgate every year, because soccer, especially Portland, is mostly like a pub thing.”
“I do love the fact that you see fans from other teams that are here for spring training. They walk by and look over at this [the tailgate], and they’re like, ‘Why don’t we have that?’ It’s because this really does show that Timbers fans have a much tighter sense of community than other teams,” Nielsen said about the community of the Timbers Army. About two thirds of the Timbers fans there aren’t from Arizona, according to Nielsen.
“There’s probably like three times or four times more Seattle fans than Portland fans, but you don’t see a tailgate for them,” Nielsen added, showing the intense feelings Timbers fans have towards the Sounders, even from Tucson.
This year, the Desert Corps’ annual tifo, always a source of pride, was specifically made for the match against Seattle.
The Desert Corps’ next tailgate is on Saturday, February 17th.