As a soccer side, the Portland Timbers are truly shit. Woeful. Terrible. I'm used to watching half-assed football, but this was something else.


TIMBERS: Eye-bleedingly unwatchable this season...

Nevertheless, don't let the fact that the on-pitch action is less skillful and inspiring than watching Bruce Willis act sincerity, put you off. Because the atmosphere at a Timbers game is the best fun I've had in this city for $11.


TIMBERS MOB: Foul-mouthed, bordering on violent, even that kid on the right...

Yes. It was with some trepidation that I finally went to a game last night, in search of a certain local film critic, who has been badgering me to make it along for a while. I found him stood at the front of the rowdy Timbers Army with a megaphone, screaming chants to lead the mob. Not that they needed much favorite chant was "we'd rather bomb Seattle than Iraq."

I've heard from numerous quarters that the Timbers' management dislikes the Timbers Army because they stop the team from marketing itself as family friendly. Too much cussing. Which is entirely the attraction, of course.

Never mind that the team has no finishing ability and no self confidence. Never mind that the referee couldn't have come across as more biased against Portland if he had been adjudicating his daughter Seattle's beauty pageant. Never mind that the bastard even disallowed a Portland equalizer for no good reason other than to punish the Timbers' crowd for their ebullience.

These people are fun. In a city that rewards restraint, the Timbers Army is unrestrained. In a city that prefers to avoid conflict, even when that conflict is healthy and likely to be productive, the Timbers Army scream things like "f...u...f...u...c...k...FUCK YOU" at the management. There are smoke bombs. There was even some pushing and shoving in the smoking section at one point, or so I'm told.

And better still, none of it is choreographed. It all has the spontaneous feel of, I don't know, civic pride? Except nobody formed a committee. Nobody needed a resolution on city council, and nobody facilitated a fucking desired outcomes session, first.

The next game is on Saturday night. You should probably give some thought to being there.