Fans pour into stadium for rainy Timbers' MLS home opener
First MLS match in renovated Jeld-Wen Field
Two hours before the Portland Timbers' first MLS home match, lines of people circle around Jeld-Wen Field. Rain has just begun to sprinkle.
An electricity of anticipation fills the streets around the stadium. Thursday night's match is one of the most historic Oregon sports events in two score years, the culmination of more than a decade of effort to bring the highest level of North American league soccer to the Rose City.
The crowd is everything you would expect from an American sport, taking its cues from the soccer hooligans of Europe and South America. Timbers scarves are wrapped around most necks. Green hair is prevalent. Timbers tattoos mark a few. Songs are sung.
As the gates open, the rain begins coming down harder. The fans get their first look inside the renovated stadium. As the Timbers Army files into section 107, flags begin waving.
The clock on the scoreboard counts down the minutes until the first ball is kicked, and Soccer City USA waits for the Timbers to play the Chicago Fire.