This version of the “Monday After” starts with Portland’s inaugural home game on Thursday night. Although we covered that match in great detail, it is worth noting the substantial amount of free publicity generated for the Timbers and the league by the crowd’s performance on Thursday night. Programs such as Pardon the Interruption featured the Portland opener and other national media outlets similarly reported the event.
Last Friday I was asked back to World Football Daily to discuss the Portland opener and a number of other business events. We will provide a link to that appearance shortly, but I’ll repeat my thoughts about Portland’s opener here. I thought it was a uniquely American soccer experience that provided a wonderful evening for fans of MLS and American soccer. The crowd sounded great and the venue provides a packed environment that is unique in MLS. The noise was reminiscent of many European stadiums, but the artificial surface, Timber Joey and chainsaw effects created a memorable American soccer experience.
Elsewhere, the weather wreaked havoc with crowds on the East Coast. Nevertheless, the week started strong with more than 22k in Toronto for David Beckham’s lone visit to the city in 2011. The same night saw 15k brave rough weather as RSL held off Colorado. Portland stole the show on Thursday night with more than 18,600 in attendance. On Saturday night, TFC attendance dropped dramatically, to just over 16k, but Vancouver kept numbers strong North of the border with just over 20k for a 0-0 draw. Philly reported just over 15k in a driving rain storm at PPL Park, the smallest crowd in stadium history. Columbus joined the sub 8k crowd for a rainy night at Crew Stadium, while New York drw only 14k for their thrashing of San Jose. The Sunday games got off to a good start with more than 18k in Chicago and a similar number in Portland. Houston rounded out the weekend with just over 15k.