Timbers turning ground and stones as MLS debut nears

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Portland Timbers have set up a 24/7 webcam through which visitors to the club's web site can watch the renovation of PGE Park.

The work began earlier this month, even though the USSF-Division II Timbers are still playing out the final games of their 2010 season. Portland has two regular-season games on the road before the league playoffs began, and the team will have to play home postseason matches at other area facilities. 

Via the webcam, it seems like there is still so much to be done to make the stadium soccer-ready, and the pace of work is quick with the next MLS season roughly six months away. Meanwhile, the cars and MAX light-rail trains whiz by on Southwest 18th Avenue adjacent to the urban stadium.

The constant motion and activity is a symbolic of what's going on within the organization these days. Player signings are imminent, new head coach John Spencer has been attending USSF Timbers' games and practices in order to evaluate which current players could make the jump to MLS, and Spencer and technical director Gavin Wilkinson are planning scouting trips while checking with their network of sources in search of potential players.

"We're leaving no stone unturned," Spencer said recently.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber was recently in the city for the stadium renovation groundbreaking ceremony. He told The Oregonian newspaper that the Timbers' recent placement of a billboard near downtown Seattle was "terrific," and that he loves the Timbers' aggressive marketing approach. He also said he can feel the buzz for MLS in the city, more so than in other cities.

The rivalry between the Timbers and Seattle Sounders in MLS hasn't even hit the pitch yet.

The Timbers are on pace for 10,000 season tickets sold by the end of the year, according to a team representative, and before the year is out, the team will have made its expansion draft selections. Portland has the first pick over Vancouver, the other 2011 MLS entrant, in the expansion draft, and Wilkinson has said that he already has created a list of potentially unprotected players.

One can only imagine which Sounders players are on that list, and the likelihood of one being chosen. 

Then comes the MLS Superdraft to open the new year – will the Timbers, who have the second overall pick, take a shot at highly-touted Omar Salgado, the teenage phenom who recently trained with Portland? 

There's also an official kit and team apparel unveiling in the works.

In short, Portland is putting everything together as we draw closer to the Timbers arrival in MLS. There is plenty of reason for excitement in Portland, and Timbers fans will be able to follow every step of it online.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Portland Timbers, MLS- Seattle Sounders, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps, USSF Division 2. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Timbers turning ground and stones as MLS debut nears

  1. Kejsare says:

    The webcam is spiffy! About 12 frames a second!

    Just in case you want to know: [from SCUSA]

    “The camera is a digital SLR that is mounted on one of the councouse railings. technically it is totally movable and adjustable, but it would have to be done manually.”
    -Father Jack

  2. Matt says:

    I wonder how long I’ll have to watch until they put in a grass field.

  3. Kejsare says:

    …when the City of Portland no longer owns it and PTFC is owned by a billionaire willing to spend, and some miracle involving not having a creek 7 feet under the field. etc.

  4. jim b says:

    In related news, KC now had an interior webcam. Now thats a sexy stadium

  5. Matt says:

    ‘Tis a shame, such nice renovation…but every time the beautiful game gets played on plastic, a kitten dies.

  6. Kejsare says:

    you should look into the Feral Cat Alley at the stadium. there is food placed out for feral cats. don’t know the history behind it, but it’s there!

  7. Ed says:

    How come every time the Timbers have a press release they end up talking about Seattle? Jealous???

  8. scott47a says:

    If you look close enough you can almost see Larry the Lightbulb rounding second base.

  9. Ivan says:

    Yes, soccer should not be played on artificial turf EVER. No excuses; shame on both Portland and Seattle. Nice stadiums, but aritificial turf equals FAIL!

    And, yes, every time the beautiful game is played on plastic, a kitten dies! Poster above couldn’t be more right!!!NO to artificial turf in soccer!

  10. Jose Romero says:

    scott47a: GREAT Larry the Lightbulb reference! I’ll miss the Beavers and their mascot, Round Tripper. He was know as Lucky at the end there but he’ll always be RT to me.

  11. Kejsare says:

    Show me the $$$. Then we’ll talk grass, stadium ownership by the club not the city, and that pesky clause with the MAC who has a final say in selling the stadium.

  12. JimmyJoe says:

    That billboard in Seattle seems like the worst case of little brother syndrome that I’ve ever seen. Also kind of a waste of money. They could be spending that on grass!