This past Saturday I went to what many Seattle Sounders fans might refer to as the lion’s den — Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, OR. (OK, that’s probably not exactly the phrase that would be used, but hey, my mom might read this!)
It was a gorgeous sunny day and the storyline was primed for something big. Sporting Kansas City was coming to town having won their first seven matches in a row. The Portland Timbers had lost their last four. So I was really excited to be there to shoot the match for Prost Amerika.
A lot of people have asked how the atmosphere compares to CenturyLink Field in Seattle and I don’t think there’s a simple answer. It’s just different. The Timbers Army does seem to have a larger “presence” than the Sounders supporter groups. But I suspect that is due, in part, to it being a much smaller stadium. Jeld-Wen Field seats around 20,000 whereas CenturyLink seats over 38,000. So the TA is a larger percentage of the overall crowd in Portland.
Another difference is the fact that aside from the supporter section and behind the opposite goal, I noticed a lot of people sitting most of the match. In Seattle, the entire lower bowl stands for the 90+ minutes. I think no one can objectively say that one stadium has a better atmosphere than the other. But both of them are certainly two of the best in the league.
The match didn’t turn out to be the prettiest I’ve ever seen. The Timbers won 1-0 after a Sporting KC own goal. But after losing four straight, the fans didn’t care how they won.
On to the photos…