For me and my family, watching the Timbers 2 (T2) team play at least once during summer is an absolute must. We love that their games are laid-back, intimate, a little rowdy and filled with nostalgic good fun.
Nostalgia, because T2 is Portland’s United Soccer League (USL) – aka the minors – and their games always take me back to the original Portland Timbers team before they joined Major League Soccer (MLS). Those days my husband and I would spend a casual, inexpensive afternoon enjoying the game and sipping beer at PGE Park (now Providence Park) from midfield seats so close to the pitch that we could hear all the players shouting at one another.
Today, T2 plays on the Harry A. Merlo Field at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex, a 4,892-capacity stadium located on the University of Portland campus in North Portland. The complex is also home to the university’s athletics teams, the Portland Pilots, which include both men’s and women’s soccer teams.
With snacks and beverages in hand, my husband, our six-year-old son, my mother-in-law and I easily find good seats in the bleachers. All that stands between us and the natural grass field is a three-foot high wall. The whistle blows and the game – T2 versus LA Galaxy II – is on. For the next two hours we clap and cheer on our team from only a few feet away as they run, kick, hustle, dive, pass and jockey for the ball.
When the final whistle blows, it’s late afternoon. Although T2 loses the game, the four of us leave the stadium in good spirits, laughing and repeating our own chant that we made up during the game: “T1, T2, we appreciate both of you!”