Friday, August 1, 2008

Expansion talk

There has been a lot of news about MLS expansion floating around and I havent' written much on it because I've been sort of saving some of my thoughts for my PE column. I'm planning on writing next Tuesday's piece on expansion and kind of break down where things stand and what cities should get an expansion team.

But there's one city I'd love to see win an expansion side.

I've never been there - and maybe that's my thinking, an MLS expansion club would be a reason for me to travel there - but it would be great if Portland were to get an expansion team.

Timbers owner Merritt Paulson already threw his name in the ring and wants to bring MLS to Portland and I'm all for that.

It just seems like a city that would get behind their team and support soccer. Maybe it's because the Blazers have done so well throughout the years in attendance and fan support and the major Oregon schools get behind their teams too, but Portland and MLS seem like a natural fit.


Jonah said...

i'm with ya, man. it's a great town and always has had a sort of 'alternative' mindset when it comes to everything -- environment, politics, music, etc. so that's partly why the timbers have been so successful. and cramming the west coast with teams is great for travel for the gals, chivas, quakes, sounders, etc. the one thing that is NOT good, though, is that the current team plays at PGE Park, home of the triple-a portland beaves... on TURF. that's a necessity because of how much it rains in pdx. and this is not a good thing for soccer. it would take some serious money to get a domed/retractable-roof stadium.

Ben7 said...

Portland and Montreal...
Vancouver and Montreal... (duck and cover)

as for why, here are some thoughts:

A.C. said...

I'm sorry, I'm all about the Vegas bid.
Love Portland, love Vancouver, have family in Montreal, but Vegas, baby! Vegas needs a team of their own. I honestly think MLS gets a higher profile in the cities that don't have another major franchise. Why should MLS always play the little brother? In Vegas, an MLS team could be the headliner, so to speak.

briguy said...

I attended my first Timbers game on July 10th, a few days after seeing the Red Bulls get destroyed by Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on the 4th.

The Rapids home ground was amazing, and seeing the game was fantastic. After the game we were able to head down to the pitch for the fireworks show--again, an amazing facility.

That said, the difference in atmosphere between DSG Park and PGE in Portland was night and day. The Timbers Army is a tremendous supporters group, and put the fans at DSG to shame (for a Thursday night match against the Puerto Rico Islanders, no less).

PGE has problems, no doubt. But it is in an ideal downtown location, adjacent to mass transit. As part of their MLS push, the Portland group is looking at revamping PGE as a soccer stadium and relocated the Beavers (AAA Baseball) to a new stadium.

I'm worried about Portland's chances; a second NY team seems to be a foregone conclusion according to folks like Ives, and there's always handwringing about St. Louis. Personally, I'd like to see MLS eventually add Montreal, Vancouver, Portland, and St. Louis. The Western rivalries would be intense (as they already are between Seattle and Portland, for example).

A team in Portland would bring immediate credibility to the fan side of the game, a la Toronto; the difference is the addition of a built-in rivalry amongst the Timbers and Sounders.

For more on the grassroots movement to bring MLS to Portland, check out

Anonymous said...

Seattle is close enough to BC. Sorry Stevie N. With all the tfc probs and belly aching and the "You asked us to join MLS, we didn't ask you" b.s., let's keep the new teams in the good old USA baby. Screw field turf btw. Vegas is cool. I really don't care where in the USA as long as there is a decent market. Weren't the canadians crying about their own league? More power to them. Can you say short man's syndrome?

Anonymous said...

I don't know how Portland can not grow grass b/c it rains so much. I mean doesn't it rain a lot in England and Scotland but yet they manage to grow grass fields right? Proper drainage at our fields should be a foreign concept.

Anonymous said...

Re: growing grass is not a problem. Oregon is one of the top producers of grass seed in the world. Yes, it grows like magic with all the rain. The problem is PGE is used by the AAA baseball Beavers, PSU Football and local high schools for Friday night Football. And until recently, when Merrit Paulson took over, the Timbers got shafted in the pecking order. The solution is the AAA team is moving across town as part of the owner's plan. He owns both teams and wants the Timbers to be the centerpiece of a refurbished PGE.

For those of you that have never been to PGE, it is smack-downtown, right alongside the famous pubs, it's damned near 100 years old making it the FENWAY or WRIGLEY FIELD of MLS.

The place rocks and so does the local beer. MLS would be foolish to pass P-town up. Ready built rabid fanbase, nothing like Vegas.

For the record, Vancouver fans are lame, really lame. If you want the Barney show and a poor high school stadium, pick them. Portland is the real deal, not one of these suburbanite insta-stadiums.