[Guys! Welcome our new Timbers correspondent Brian Gjurgevich—pronounced just like it's spelled—who will be escorting us through this coming season of MLS madness. Welcome, Brian!—eds.]

There’s no fresh-cut grass, hardly any sunshine, and the dirt is more tiny rubber pellets than actual soil, but it’s starting to feel a lot like spring at (soon-to-be-renamed) PGE Park.

With baseball banished to Escondido, Portland’s sole outlet for enjoying live, top-notch-professional-athletics-with-beverage-in-hand-outdoors-among-friends now lies in soccer’s humble corner.

It’s called football everywhere else, I realize. But in Portland, it goes by “the Timbers,” and the regular season is less than one week away.

The Rose City’s very own big-league football club completed an undefeated preseason Saturday after a 1-1 draw with San Jose. And because the Timbers won’t play their home opener until April 14, I thought it prudent to mark my first Blogtown entry (Hi!) with a few suggested locales in which to catch Portland’s first Major League Soccer match LESS THAN A WEEK FROM TODAY. Check ‘em out after the jump.

If you like soccer, Portland and people — and two-outta-three ain’t bad! — here are a few spots to catch the Timbers in their first-ever MLS match against the defending champion Colorado Rapids at 6 p.m. on March 19:

* McMenamin's Bagdad Theater (3702 SE Hawthorne) will hold an all-ages 107ist/Timbers Army-sponsored viewing with the game on the big screen.
* Buelahland (118 NE 28th) will have tap/food specials and the match on two screens.
* Cascade Brewing Barrel House (939 SE Belmont) upgraded its TV package just this week to ensure it’d have the game.
* Kell’s (112 SW 2nd) will host a viewing party as part of the Timbers official Pub Partners series.
* The Workshop (2524 SE Clinton) will have happy hour prices during the game.
* The Thirsty Lion (71 SW 2nd) will show all home and away games and will hold drawings for tickets and prizes during the opener.
* Paddy’s (65 SW Yamhill) will have drink and food specials and a 13-foot screen for the opener.
* The Dublin Pub (6821 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy) will show all games this season on its projection screen.
* Other Army-approved watering holes: On Deck (910 NW 14th), Prost! (4237 N Mississippi), The Beermongers (1125 SE Division) Laurelwood Public House (5115 NE Sandy), The Guild (1101 E Burnside) Weird Bar (3701 SE Division), and of course, the spiritual epicenter of the Timbers Army, The Bitter End (1981 W Burnside).

Of course, if you love soccer but hate people and Portland (I know you’re out there!) every Timbers game will be broadcast live this season, meaning you don’t have to leave the house or make any human contact whatsoever to enjoy the scene. The oddly named ROOT Sports (a new brand for Fox Sports Net, cable Ch. 34) will air 16 games this year, including the inaugural MLS match. Local station FOX 12 will have 11 matches, along with a weekly show, “Timbers in 30,” Sundays at 6 p.m. Complete broadcast schedule here.

Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson is evidently more worried about missing a call than the germs left by the thousands of Timbers season-ticket holders who posed with the axe.
  • Timbers FC
  • Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson is evidently more worried about missing a call than the germs left by the thousands of Timbers season-ticket holder who also posed with the axe.