SOCCER: Exhibition match between the Portland Timbers and Gonzaga draws a robust crowd to Lincoln Park Stadium
Game-time temperatures in the 30s and a brief hail storm were not enough to dampen spirits at Lincoln Park Stadium on Sunday as Pacific University hosted an exhibition soccer match between the Portland Timbers and Gonzaga University.
The Timbers won the match 1-0 on a second-half goal by midfielder Neil Dombrowski, but the real winner was Pacific, which worked tirelessly to bring a professional soccer exhibition to their brand new facility at Lincoln Park.
'I thought the facility itself and everything the university did was absolutely first class,' said Timbers general manager and head coach Gavin Wilkinson. 'The crowd was close to 1,000 which, in that weather, was outstanding. I think in good weather you would have seen 2,000 or even 3,000 people out there.'
More than 900 spectators braved the chilly weather to watch the Timbers battle Gonzaga in the second of three pre-season exhibition matches leading up to the start of the USL First Division season on April 17. Even a 10-minute storm in the second half that featured pea-sized hail wasn't enough to quiet the crowd, many of whom were loyal Timbers supporters who made the trip from Portland.
'The whole event was great,' said Pacific men's soccer coach Jim Brazeau, who is also the Timbers' goalkeepers coach. 'It was nice to be able to showcase the facilities, plus it brought a lot of people out to Forest Grove that normally wouldn't get out here.'
Pacific Director of Athletics Ken Schumann was quick to add his own rave review of the vent.
'Things went exceptionally well,' Schumann said. 'The event exceeded our expectations. It was wonderful to have professional soccer here in Forest Grove and we heard nothing but positive things about the facility and the community.'
Things went so well, in fact, that both sides are already buzzing about doing it again next year, perhaps pitting the Timbers against the Major League Soccer expansion club from Seattle.
'Ken and Jim Brazeau were incredible to work with,' Wilkinson said. 'With the facility they have, I definitely think we'll be back next year.'