Providence Park

Sinclair’s brace helps put an end to Portland’s two-game skid

Sinclair’s brace helps put an end to Portland’s two-game skid

Portland, OR – The Portland Thorns came into Wednesday’s matchup in dire need of a victory. Portland had lost two matches in a row, including a 3-1 loss at home to Sky Blue FC on June 17. Losses in Providence Park just don’t happen. Including the loss to Sky Blue, the Thorns came in with am impressive home record of 13-2-3 since the start of the 2016 season and looked to add another on to the win column with FC Kansas City in town.

FC Kansas City came in winless in its previous three matches (0-1-2), and with an overall road record of 1-3-1. For a team that is struggling, and is poor on the road to boot, Providence Park is the last place you want to be.

Portland fed off the home crowd, as is usual, and dominated from the start. Any danger FCKC posed was because the Thorns made little mental errors, but nothing large enough to bite them. Portland had the occasional misplayed ball here, the occasional poor pass there, but largely looked to be playing a game of cat and mouse.

Before Kansas City could really get in any kind of groove they found themselves playing from behind.

Just fifteen minutes into the match Allie Long put a shot on goal from about 10-yards out. Her shot was blocked, but it bounced off the post and right to the feet of a wide-open Christine Sinclair. The Captain did what she does best, and put the Thorns up 1-0.

From that point on it never felt like much of a match. The question wasn’t if the Thorns would win, it was how many goals would they score before the final whistle?

The answer: Three

Hayley Raso added a goal in the in the 32’, and Sinclair added another goal in the 75’.

This was a great bounce back game for Portland, and much needed as their next two matches will be on the road.

FINAL SCORE: Portland Thorns 3 – FC Kansas City 0

Notes: Hayley Raso scored the first goal of her NWSL career. A beautiful shot from beyond the right side of the box that curled around the defense and just over the hand of the goalkeeper. She joked postgame, calling the shot “lucky” but it was one of the more impressive goals I have seen. Sinclair looked to score her second goal of the match in the 71', but a controversial handball call negated it. She got her revenge four minutes later when she scored the team's third goal of the game.

Next Up: Portland travels up north to take on rival Seattle Reign FC on Saturday, July 1. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM at Memorial Stadium.

Providence Park to add 4,000 seats in modern expansion

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Portland Timbers

Providence Park to add 4,000 seats in modern expansion

Since the Portland Timbers’ arrival in Major League Soccer in 2011 and the addition of Portland Thorns FC and the National Women’s Soccer League in 2013, Providence Park has become one of the foremost venues in North American soccer. It has won numerous awards for its unrivaled fan experience and atmosphere and has been named FourFourTwo’s Best Stadium for Soccer in the United States as well as the top MLS stadium experience across all sports by StadiumJourney.com.

Originally built in 1926 in the downtown core of Portland, its 91-year history has seen the likes of soccer, football, baseball, dog racing, concerts, ski jumping, presidential visits and much more. Now nearly a century since it first opened, Providence Park is poised for another transformation. An already great stadium for sport will become an even greater cathedral for soccer, while helping meet the ever-increasing demand for tickets.

Club leaders have proposed a modern, yet historically influenced $50 million-plus, privately financed expansion project for the east side that would add approximately 4,000 new seats, a striking new street-level colonnade and an iconic, modernized expansion—all at no cost to the city or public. An expanded Providence Park will make the stadium viable for the future and help ensure that Timbers and Thorns FC remain in their unique downtown location long-term, well beyond the expiration of the current operating agreement in 2035.


(Allied Works Architecture)

The proposed design by internationally renowned and Portland-based architecture firm Allied Works would add a 93-foot high covered structure on the east side of the stadium, taking a vertical approach to a relatively small footprint while integrating well with the existing stadium. The proposed project includes four new levels on the expanded east side, with three of the four levels created for reserved and group seating sections to help meet demand, while including a unique, pedestrian-friendly public arcade along SW 18th Avenue.

While Providence Park is already a top destination for soccer, challenges for the future remain. The stadium has sold out for every single Timbers regular-season and playoff match at home since the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2011. The Timbers currently have an ever-growing waiting list of more than 13,000 fans for season tickets. MLS matchday ticket demand for the available supply is at a premium. In short, more people want to get in than can be accommodated.

“Providence Park is one of the most special stadiums in sports,” said Mike Golub, president of business for the Timbers and Thorns FC. “With our proposed expansion, we will enhance the incomparable fan experience and intimacy and provide the opportunity for some of the more than 13,000 members of the waiting list to become season ticket holders.”

Additionally, MLS is evolving rapidly as the league continues to grow in all areas and additional expansion teams come on line in the upcoming years. Stadia in Major League Soccer are growing in size and the rising economics of the league are making it increasingly challenging to compete, as Providence Park – with an existing capacity of 21,144 for soccer – currently ranks in the bottom half of the league in terms of size.

Inspired in part by the famous Shakespearean Globe Theatre in London and the iconic La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires—both with their upright vertical seating areas and literal on-top-of-the-action perspective—the new Providence Park expansion would complete the full U-shape stadium design as was envisioned by the original then-Multnomah Stadium architects of A.E. Doyle and Morris Whitehouse in 1925. The end result would “finish” the stadium after almost 100 years, completing a transformation to a fully realized, urban soccer stadium.

“The expansion of Providence Park will continue to honor the rich history and traditions of the stadium and city of Portland and marry them with the best of modern stadia,” said Golub.

This private investment into the city-owned venue also goes a long way towards keeping the club’s unique urban environment viable well beyond its current operating agreement. The added capacity to the century-old, community gathering space will better position it to attract additional, larger-scale soccer and special events, and will benefit other stadium users, such as Portland State University football. The expansion and ensuing increased capacity and public use would substantially increase the city ticket tax revenue that benefits directly back to the City of Portland.

While the team continues to work with the city and neighborhood association on specifics of the proposed project and the initial design-review process commences, the potential construction timeline would include a two-offseason process, beginning either at the conclusion of the 2017 or 2018 season at Providence Park and concluding in time for either the beginning of the 2019 or 2020 MLS season.

“This proposed project is a win-win for everyone involved, and we’ve been very encouraged by the collaborative work that’s been put into this project to date,” said Golub. “We still have some work to do, but we are actively working with the city and neighborhood association, and everyone is excited by the prospect of an expanded Providence Park and ensuring the long-term viability of this unique stadium.”

Portland Timbers home game experience one of the best in all of American sports

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USA Today

Portland Timbers home game experience one of the best in all of American sports

BY 

Think it’s been tough getting tickets to a Portland Timbers’ home game in the past? The fact that they won the MLS Cup in 2015 certainly didn’t make it any easier. Well, things are about to get a whole lot worse. Stadium Journey Magazine just voted Providence Park, the Timbers’ home turf, the 11th best place to watch a sporting event in America.

Staff members from SJM visited 761 professional, minor league and college stadiums throughout the country and put together what they consider the “top 100 stadium experiences”. This list has a little bit of everything. We’re talking baseball, football, soccer, hockey, auto racing, the Kentucky Derby and somehow even one professional lacrosse arena snuck in there.

For anyone who has ever seen a Timbers game up close, this high praise should come as no surprise, but still, it’s nice to see Portland soccer up there with American sports icons Camden Yard and the Daytona 500.

The magazine calls the stadium “a facility that combines the past and present and merges it into a one-of-a-kind facility.” But Providence Park, which has been around since 1926, couldn’t possibly be one-of-a-kind without the Timbers Army and the rest of fans that make the Timbers game day experience truly unique.

The Timbers have sold out every single home game since entering MLS in 2011. That’s over 100 straight sellouts, folks. That’s passion. That’s Portland. In May 2015, Justin Surber, Oregon Sports News writer, wrote, “a Timbers game at Providence Park is a near-perfect representation of the city of Portland and its character (and characters)”.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Moda Center made the list at #31, and the Oregon Ducks’ Autzen Stadium came in at #86. And then there’s those damn Sounders again. Seattle Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field made the list at #29.

The rivals up north have been setting MLS attendance records since entering the league in 2009. The Sounders averaged twice as many fans at their games in 2016 than the Timbers. That’s an average of 42,636 soccer fans. At a soccer game. In America. Wow. It should come as no surprise, though, which game boosted that average up the most. Yup, you guessed it. Portland Timbers. On Aug 21 last season, the Sounders/Timbers rivalry game drew 53,302 rabid fans to the Clink.

Providence Park seats 21,144 fans. Not going to be catching up to any Sounders attendance records anytime soon, but here’s the good news: The Oregonian reported that expansion is a potential in the near future. The bad news, is that expansion doesn’t seem anywhere near enough supply to keep up with the every-increasing demand. With a seating capacity of 21,144 and a wait list for season tickets at nearly 13,000, the idea of adding an additional 3,’500 seats already feels like way too little, not nearly soon enough.

When you start to think about it, though, is adding even one more seat to the stadium really good news? Like a pot ready to boil over, the intense atmosphere at Timbers games thrives on the intimate nature of Providence Park. I know it’s weird in this day-in-age to ignore the market and refuse to expand, but as far as the Timbers go, I’d much rather they do nothing but Keep Portland Weird.

After all these years, Portland is still "putting silk stockings on hogs"

After all these years, Portland is still "putting silk stockings on hogs"

It was the early 1970s and the City of Portland had made the decision to install artificial turf in ancient Civic Stadium. Rather than go with Astro-Turf, the common solution at the time, the city opted for a different choice. It was called Tartan Turf and it didn't last, hardened very soon and looked quickly like a worn carpet in the world's oldest hotel room.

I remember watching the workmen scrambling around the surface of the big old barn, applying the adhesive and then the carpet. I was working for the Portland Beavers at the time, trying to get through college. Bill Cutler, the man who owned the Beavers at the time, was there, too. He looked at me with a sad face and shook his head.

"It's like putting silk stockings on a hog," he said, then turned around and shuffled back to his dumpy office in the bowels of the dark stadium. Very soon, Cutler would move the Beavers to Spokane, unable to make a lease deal with a City Council here that seemed to think it suddenly had a big-league facility on its hands.

Our civic leaders have never really cared much about sports and their venues. If Paul Allen hadn't written a big check to build what's now Moda Center, our NBA team would have been long gone years ago. Our city would never have found the means to construct a new home for the Trail Blazers. We'd still be haggling over video boards and walk-through security for Memorial Coliseum -- trying to make an outdated, uncomfortable 12,000-seat arena work for an NBA team. Trust me, I speak the truth on this.

Yeah, the replay screens. They've been either dark or a blurry mess at the coliseum for years and the city -- or maybe the Portland Winterhawks -- are finally doing something about it. Because, as you know, watching hockey without being able to see the replay of a goal or a big save is ridiculous. Which, of course, is not the only reason the Hawks draw so many fewer fans when they play in the coliseum rather than the Moda Center.

Wow. The narrow leg room, crowded concourses, ugly rest rooms and frigid arena temperatures are still going to be there, but you now have a replay screen.

So many decades later, that's just another pair of silk stockings, folks.

I'm not going to get into another debate with the well-meaning people who pushed to get that dump declared a national treasure. It's pointless. Keep your national treasure and put a big red bow around it for all I care. What this city needs to do is actually build a NEW sports venue.

Are you aware Portland -- unlike any other major city in the world that I know about -- has NEVER BUILT A FOOTBALL OR BASEBALL STADIUM, EVER, in its history? It's renovated a few. Hell, we've had more renovations than the late Joan Rivers did. The city actually staged a minor remodel last winter so a college wood-bat league team called the Pickles could play in Walker Stadium at Lents Park. But actually build a new ballpark? A real ballpark? Or a big-time football stadium?

Forget it!

The city of Hillsboro is packing people into its Ron Tonkin Field for Hops games. That venue is next door to a very attractive football stadium, too. Portland? Well, we're still tweaking what's now Providence Park, adding new seats in a venue where the concourses are tiny and the amount of rest rooms is inadequate. And yes, we're throwing a few replay screens into Memorial Coliseum.

I'd tell you that's not how progressive cities do things, but it comes down to one thing: Recycling is great for pop bottles but not necessarily for sports venues.

Welcome to Portland, where some things never change. And national treasures now come equipped with replay screens.