After 12 straight games on the road to start the season, the Portland Timbers finally made their return to the home pitch.
Not only was it the home opener, but it was the grand re-opening of the newly remolded Providence Park. Additions and upgrades to the east side of the stadium allowed 4,000 more Timbers' faithful to pack the park.
It was supposed to be a grand evening for the Timbers, unfortunately, they had a juggernaut at the front door to welcome them home.
The best team in the league, LAFC, was their opponent on this night, and they quickly soured any happy feelings in the glitzy new stadium.
It took just six minutes of action for LAFC to capitalize on a huge mistake by Jeff Attinella and take the 1-0 lead over the home town team.
Attinella threw a lazy pass attempting to reset the offense, LAFC intercepted it and beat the Timbers goalkeeper one-on-one for the easy score. It was the type of game where the Timbers showed they could play with the best in the league, but it was unforced mistakes that did them in.
It wasn't all bad though. Designated Player Brain Fernandez was making his home debut, and he would strike one of the most spectacular bicycle kick goals you will ever see.
Despite the magic from Fernandez, the Timbers just couldn't take down the best the league has to offer.
Final Score: LAFC 3 - Portland 2
A Grand New Home:
The talk after the game wasn't just centered around the game, it was centered around the venue it was played in. Providence Park was also making its debut after an offseason of expansions and upgrades. Said head coach Gio Savarese, "You can feel the difference of those extra 4,000. Not only because they're loud, but that presence. That building that feels like it's on top of you is fantastic.
Added Diego Valeri, " The feeling is so different. Our crowd was great, as always."
Moving On From His Mistakes:
Jeff Attinella had a major mistake early in the game that led to a quick goal for LAFC, and he was quick to take the blame.
"When you're a goalie and make a pass like that, make a mistake, you get punished," said Attinella. "That one's clearly on me... I know that you won't hear any of the guys blaming me, but that one's on me, that's on my shoulders. As a goalie, you gotta own it and move on and try to learn from it."
Attinella was right. None of his teammates blamed him for the loss, and in fact, his coach jumped to his defense. When asked if he was worried about Attinella's decision making Savarese was quick with the answer. "No. No. Zero concerns... anybody can make a mistake. It's how you react to mistakes that makes a difference, and I thought that he reacted very well."
The Timbers play a U.S. Open Cup match against the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday, June 12 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The team returns to MLS action when they host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, June 22. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. at Providence Park.