PORTLAND – A sellout crowd turned out at renovated Jeld-Wen Field on Thursday as the Portland Timbers played their first home match as an MLS side.
And the Timbers (1-2-1) gave their singing, chanting and drenched supporters plenty to celebrate with their first league win, a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Fire.
“Remarkable,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “An absolutely historic night for our league; and for, I think, the sport overall in North America, and certainly for the city of Portland and the Timbers.
Portland’s Jorge Perlaza opened the scoring in the 29th minute. Rodney Wallace raised the lead to 2-0 at halftime. Perlaza struck again in the 48th minute before Chicago (1-2-1) cut the margin to one with a Portland own goal and another by Marco Pappa. The Timbers put it away late when Mamadou Danso nudged the ball into the net from a scrum in front of the goal.
Sharing the spotlight Thursday was the $36 million renovation to the sporting ground used for Portland athletics since 1893. The park previously called PGE Park and used for minor league baseball and other sports, has been converted into a soccer-specific stadium.
“Frankly this stadium here, it’s terrific,” Garber said. “I spent a lot of time lobbying to get the public support, the financial package for the renovation. This money went a long way. This is a great building.”
Forward Fredy Montero (wrist) was one of 19 Sounders who flew to Philadelphia on Thursday. However, it has not yet been announced which player will be left off the 18-man roster.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer