Timbers fans pack Providence Park to kick off 2017 campaign - KPTV - FOX 12

Timbers fans pack Providence Park to kick off 2017 campaign

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Having gone from the shortest offseason to the longest, the Portland Timbers are on the quest to reclaim the league championship

Season seven in the MLS for PTFC was also game number one in Major League Soccer for Minnesota, who joins Atlanta as expansion clubs to raise the league to 22 teams

When it comes to opening nights, the Timbers continued to raise the bar. The night started with the Timbers Army standing and saluting another potential Portland run towards the top of the table.

The match kicked off the entire league season, and fans knew it was a big night when the national network teams came to town.

Lake Oswego native John Strong is the lead soccer voice on FOX, and he certainly knows how special Soccer City USA truly is.

“I don’t think anybody does a better opening night than the Portland Timbers in any sport,” Strong said before the match. “This is still my stadium that I grew up going to games in. I went to the first Timbers game in 2001. I called my first game in this building in 2002 in the high school state championship semifinals.”

Strong’s broadcast partner, Alexi Lalas, played those early years when Major League Soccer was nearly buried six feet under. Now up to 22 clubs after 21 years, Lalas likes Portland’s chances of raising another Cup

“In this league of parity, you can certainly go top to bottom and bottom to top very, very quickly,” he said. ”I think they have restocked this team, and I would venture to say that this is one, if not the most talented, starting 11’s in its history when it comes to Major League Soccer. Now, does it translate to the field? We’ll find out.”

The organization also literally raised a new bar for fans this season. Axe and Rose is now pouring on the west end of the stadium. Timbers food and beverage head Ben Forsythe explained that fans can get a drink from 36 taps featuring more than 12 different flavors.

While the adults have a new place to grab a brew, younger fans still can find fun with Timber joey. Even as he kept busy Friday sawing off five slices of the log, the Timbers mascot still had the littlest PTFC fans lined up, ready to cheer on the team.

Rooted in culture, grown by cheers each year and backed by an army, Timbers supporters never skipped a beat, and with the unfurling of a happy little trees tifo display, the new season was underway at Providence Park.

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