On the same day Seattle set an attendance record for an MLS match, the rival Portland Timbers sent out a press release designed to show that their fans too can pack a stadium for a soccer match. This was another tactic in their strategy to prove to the soccer world that maybe Seattle doesn’t have MLS’s most passionate fan base.
The team’s supporters group - the Timbers’ Army - announced yesterday that they had sold out their allotment of season tickets a full month prior to their first home match against the Chicago Fire. The club had partnered with the Timbers’ Army to sell 3,000 plus tickets in the eight sections on the North End of the stadium and the Army, through a series of campaigns and events, sold out the entire part of the park. The group is setting aside, however, 500 tickets to be sold on game days.
“Three-thousand tickets seemed like a steep hill to climb when we took this on,” said 107ist President Dave Hoyt. The 107ist is the Timbers Army’s business arm. “That we’ve sold out a month before the first home game just shows how ready this city and our fans are for MLS.”
The press release was conveniently sent out the same night Seattle hosted MLS First Kick 2011 and set a record attendance of 36,000 plus fans for an MLS match. The timing may have been coincidental, but the rivalry between the two clubs is not. Last night during the match ESPN showed a picture of the now-famous Portland billboard launched in September that simply says “Portland, Oregon. Soccer City USA” and has the Timbers’ logo. The billboard was not located in Oregon, however; it was placed a block away from Qwest Field.
Like two siblings bickering constantly, expect the lead-up to the match between these two clubs to be heated. I for one can’t wait to see them face off on May 14 on ESPN.