After a successful 3 matches in Tucson, the Caps moved onto the Rose City and the Simple Invitational, featuring NASL side Minnesota United, fellow MLS side Chicago Fire and the hometown and newly crowned MLS Cup Champion Portland Timbers.
I arrived into Portland on Wednesday afternoon. I had to skip the early game in order to meet up with my hosts, who decided to drive downtown, so I could put my bags in their car. It was Chicago vs Minnesota, so I wasn't put out too much.
The game itself was pretty ordinary with a T2 heavy team taking on some weird hybrid Residency/WFC2/first team mix. In previous years, this fixture was the last one, meaning we usually saw the starters. I won't recap any of the 3 games I saw as you've probably read enough recaps and beer has clouded my memory.
As some of you know, I have many friends in Portland, 2 of whom I stayed with last July and again this weekend. As such, I have been accused of being a Timbers fan. I can guarantee you that I am not.
I had made contact with the supporters group for Minnesota United and found out where they were hanging out. I met with a few of them and managed to trade a scarf (which I'll cover in a different entry). We chatted about each of our cities and teams and shared some insight as to what MLS is like. We entered Providence together, but went our different ways when I met up with a friend who works there. Through various encounters, I barely made it for kickoff.
As our game approached it's conclusion, one of my many TA came to visit me. We had a very nice chat about things, some soccer related and some not. I asked where to get some really good food. We ended up walking all the way around the stadium to get me a pork belly cubano sandwich. As I was standing on the concourse, I met a few more Caps supporters and struck up a conversation with 4 random Timbers supporters mostly about Blas Perez.
I was invited by 3 different people to stand with them in the Timbers Army. After declining the invitation in Seattle last August, I accepted, under the premise that it happened after the Caps game. I met up with my host who had a ticket that got me into the sections. The game had just started and they were doing their Tetris thing. My buddy was just as confused as I was. After that, he went down into one of the sections to confirm there was space available. He waved me down and we settled in to a couple of spots (nobody sits) and made my presence felt. There was a lot of excitement that I had joined them. It was definitely something that I will remember for a long time.
Of course, I did thank the individual who provided me their ticket so I could get into the Army and those who invited me. I know, incredibly Canadian of me.