In Timberlandia’s first live viewing of a match this season, the energy was exuberant during the pre-match tailgate, attended with a fervor by passionate Timbers and New England Revolution supporters alike. Gillette Stadium in Foxborough is certainly impressive, and the fun of the tailgate holds great appeal, but the hosts will need to imitate league newcomers Portland by finding a more soccer specific stadium closer to downtown Boston.
That said, the Revs supporters, known as the Midnight Riders in reverence to Paul Revere, were exceptionally gracious to the away support. Much thanks to Ken and the rest of the New England chapter of the Timbers Army for their organization and enthusiasm to make this away trip a special one for all in attendance, including the home support who expressed their admiration for a sizeable contingent of Portland fans.
As for the match, it was well worth the trip as the Timbers came back to level the score and earn their first ever MLS point against the New England Revolution in a match where Portland showed poise and confidence against a veteran opponent. The Timbers succeeded in holding the hosts scoreless beyond the twenty minute mark, but once again a failed clearance proved Portland’s undoing as they dug themselves an early hole on the road when Revs rookie Stephen McCarthy took his chance and beat Jake Gleeson with a wicked bad cracker to the far post (apologies for the colloquialism, Timberlandia has been in Boston for several days now).
Gleeson may have done better, but he made amends on numerous occasions, particularly during a particularly torrid period where he was forced to parry a shot onto the crossbar, followed soon after by a spectacular double save as he cleared a dangerous cross and was first to react to the rebound as he bravely closed down the Revs Zak Boggs to smother any attempt at a putback.
It was perhaps this stalwart defending that provided the impetus for the Timbers equalizer, a well worked team goal that saw striker Kenny Cooper win the ball into Jeremy Hall’s path, who laid the ball off to Captain Jack Jewsbury, who crushed the ball to the far corner past Revs netminder Matt Reis to put the sides on equal terms.
That would signal the end of the scoring, but in the second half the Timbers looked the team more likely to score, as Kalif Alhassan was unlucky to have a superb free kick effort deflect off the post with the keeper easily beaten. After two losses to start the season, a draw was a positive result that illustrated the squad’s improvement and potential for success early in the season.
For the supporters, it was a meeting of old friends and new that showed that even across great distance and in the cavernous confines of an American football stadium, the Timbers Army made its’ voice heard. Much thanks to the Timberlandians who provided photos of their sightings of Brenaldo on TV, feel free to post those directly to the Facebook page. With less than two weeks before the home opener against the Chicago Fire, Timberlandia simply can’t wait for the opening of Jeld Wen field to a packed house.