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Timbers to fans: Thanks, sorry, and we're not done yet

by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT Kalif Alhasssan waves to the fans at Jeld-Wen Field after he and the Portland Timbers closed their inaugural MLS regular season with a 2-0 loss Friday to the Houston Dynamo.

After the Portland Timbers' 2-0 loss Friday night to the Houston Dynamo, the Portland players remained out on the pitch for a long time.

As Timbers coach John Spencer stood at midfield, the players unraveled a large sign and walked around Jeld-Wen Field showing it to the fans.

The sign read: 'THANK YOU! FROM THE PORTLAND TIMBERS TO THE BEST SOCCER FANS IN NORTH AMERICA'.

From the Timbers' first MLS match six months ago to their final 2011 regular-season match Friday, the club and its fans have had an epic love affair. The Timbers finished 9-5-3 at home. The fans finished undefeated -  cheering, chanting and singing almost every moment of every match.

The fans' feelings about the Timbers can be summed up when the Timbers Army sings 'Portland Timbers, we adore you.'

The Timbers expressed their feelings about the fans after the Houston match. Like all great love letters, their words contained gratitude, remorse, and above, all devotion.

Spencer: 'The players have put in a tremendous amount of effort this year. I'm absolutely sick for the fans. You see the reaction after the game, it was tremendous. I know that if I was born and raised in Portland and I wasn't the head coach of this football club, I would be in the Timbers Army, having a few beers, having a few tattoos and I would have a great time in there. I'm absolutely devastated for them tonight that we couldn't put on a better performance and come away with a win at home.'

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins: 'It's like letting your family down. Those people, not only do they spend their hard- earned money to come see us, they spend their time to support us. They deserve the best, and obviously we want to give them the best. Every day we come and we fight for them, and they do the same for us. So our heart and our thanks go out to them.'

Striker Kenny Cooper: 'I'm sure everyone is disappointed tonight. It's certainly not the way anyone wanted to finish the regular season here at home. The fan support was incredible tonight and has been every match of the year. Not just regular-season games, but friendly games and reserve league games. It's just been really amazing, and I'm really in awe of the support we get. Certainly I wish that we could've gotten a win for them tonight. But the season is not over. There's still games left. And we'll go on the road and we'll fight hard for them. We're all incredibly hungry to get to the playoffs. You just look at our fans, and they deserve to be there in the playoffs. They've been amazing. We'll go on the road and we'll fight hard for them and we'll see what happens.'

Midfielder and captain Jack Jewsbury: 'You can tell by our home record, they've kept us alive and in this playoff hunt. Without them, who knows where we'd be. Especially for someone like myself, who has been around a for little bit, to see the support that we have here in the city, it's truly special and something that every guy in this locker room is proud to be a part of. When you're done playing you'll remember these times.'