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Portland group applies for MLS expansion

Timberslogo 2008_006

The city of Portland, Oregon took a major step toward potentially having an MLS expansion team when a prospective ownership group from the city put in a formal expansion bid on Tuesday.

Merrit Paulson, president of Shortstop LLC, released the following statement:

“Today, on behalf of the greatest soccer fans in America, we submitted our formal application to bring Major League Soccer to Portland. We expect to get a response to our application no later than March of next year. In the meantime, we will continue to work with MLS, city officials and the community to turn this exciting idea into reality for Portland and Oregon.”

Let the fun begin.

What do you think of Portland joining fellow Northwestern city Seattle in MLS? Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is great news. I grew up in Portland and remember going to Timbers games in the old NASL. The city loves soccer, and would support the team. They had great attendance this year, and the Timbers were a last place team.

    Would the league prefer a large market team with no support, aka Miami (they already tried that once), a team in a region where there aren’t any other teams (the SE argument) that won’t be supported, aka KC, or a team that will have an instant rival and a very large and passionate fan base.

    They have a viable stadium plan in a great location. PGE Park is in the middle of downtown with great access to mass transit. If Garber and company at headquarters can’t figure this one out the league really needs to consider giving up.

  2. Unless you’ve lived in New York, you’ll never understand why New Yorkers don’t support the Red Bulls. I would have loved an MLS team in Queens/Long Island when I lived there. Giants Stadium is a pain in the butt to get to. There is no mass transit to the stadium except for some busses from the Port Authority. So quit whining about a 2nd NY team, I would have supported them instead of the Metrostars. But, I’m not sure if they deserve one of the next two spots.

    I now live in Seattle and would like to see Portland win a franchise. They have great supporters and the plan is to renovate PGE park to a soccer stadium and move out the baseball team.

    I don’t want to see more Canadian teams because this is an American league (but Vancouver would be my preference for obvious reasons). And St. Louis sounds about exciting as watching the Wizards play, plus their ownership are too cheap to pay the expansion fee.

    Here’s my top 4:



    New York 2



    Here are the fans that the MLS NEEDS!!

    The location of PGE Park is awesome! So easy to get to on light rail! Every stadium should aspire to be so easy to access.

  4. EDIT: Whoops, forgot about a second NYC team – I would love to see a second New York (a REAL NY team) based in one of the boroughs – how about Coney Island? Lots of redevelopment potential there and can help revitalize what was once a great part of NY history.

  5. I think it would be wonderful if they got in – it would extend the already deep-rooted rivalry between Portland and Seattle, and I’m not just talking soccer-wise (though that is obviously the cherry on top of the cake :). It would be a great market to bring MLS into, and provides a natural rival for Seattle – with all the nonsense over the “Brimstone Cup” The “New England Cup” or whatever other faux-rivalries MLS tries to sell (IMO, There are only two true rivalries in MLS, and its between the Galaxy/Chivas and Houston/New England), another natural, genuine, organic rivalry between two teams would be a great thing.

    Next up to get an MLS franchise I believe should be:

    -Montreal Impact (Already have an SSS, dedicated fanbase, aids Garber’s plans for tapping Canadian market)

    -Vancouver Whitecaps (dedicated fanbase, again aids Garber’s plans for tapping Canadian market – also creates another good rivalry in the Northwest).

    -St. Louis

  6. @ Mark (and whoever else is trashing the NY 2.0 idea)…

    I’m sorry but you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Here’s a hint: the NEW YORK Red Bulls don’t play in New York. They play in New Jersey.

    If you knew anything about the Metro area, you would know that East Rutherford, NEW JERSEY (where the Red Bulls currently play) and Flushing, NEW YORK (where the NY Mets of Major League Baseball are located and bidding for a team), are no where near each other. It’s actually somewhat of a distance. Now, don’t get me wrong, there ARE some New York fans who come out to Jersey to watch the games but the VAST majority couldn’t be bothered…hence the low attendance. Moving the Red Bulls to Harrison, NJ (by the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ…a historically soccer-loving town inhabited mostly by Portuguese and Brazilians) should definitely help some.

    All in all, my point is: yes, the Red Bulls are having a bit of a tough time getting attendance up. However, considering the location of the Red Bulls and the potential location of “FC Mets”, the two fanbases would be completely different.

    Anybody else who’s ready to trash NY2.0, please check your geography first before posting anything.

  7. Portland lives for soccer. I went to my first Timbers game 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. Portland is ready for the MLS. For those of you who are questioning PGE Park, you should know that it’s not “run down.” It’s a piece of Portland history, which we cherish. For those of you wanting to see the plans to upgrade the stadium, go here: Speaking for all 15,000 in the Timber’s Army… “We want MLS!”

  8. Nah, they’ll give it to Vancouver unless it becomes implicity clear that a stadium deal can’t be done there. They’ll want the advantage of a two-way rivalry, as Vancouver is as much a proximity rival for Seattle as Portland, and it’s also a rival for Toronto and Montreal. Plus, it’s bigger (about 600,000 more in its capital region).

  9. Great news – here’s why I think Portland gets the nod for sure:

    -Portland media market is as large as Vancouver & St.Louis

    -Baseball will move to another park

    -Great passionate fanbase

    -Historic stadium will have $30m upgrade

    -Downtown stadium near bars and transit

    -Portland is the most like the ‘toronto model’ of all the 2011 cities

    -Stadium funding already unanimously supported by city council who are the only ones needed to approve

    With all that, I don’t see why MLS would pass up Portland.

  10. As a SoundersFC season ticket holder and a resident of Olympia (half way between Portland and Seattle, I would be pumped if they got one of the next two franchises!

  11. Does anybody think the fact that a Seattle team is on the way will impact the verdict on this? I am all for it, but worry that a team in a major city like Seattle will shut this idea down.


  12. Portland Stadium already has a ton of corporate boxes. Check out the website. PGE Park is just a great place to watch soccer. I’m sure it’s not as good as Foxboro, the Meadowlands,or the lovely RFK.

  13. Rochester sold to a new owner when the old one went bankrupt (if im not mistaken) and the new one has been doing a terrible job…

  14. I’m just curious – sort of related – What ever happened to Rochester?

    At one time they had crowds that rivaled MLS…

  15. The Toronto model also has a brand-spanking new, modern stadium. Unless a new stadium with all the corporate boxes and amenities (and the committed, signed-on-the-dotted-line financing) are part of whatever paperwork Portland submitted, fugheddaboutit.

  16. Some Facts:

    -The Portland media market is almost exactly the same size as Vancouver and St.Louis. All 3 rank about #21-23 by size.

    -The Timbers would NOT share with a baseball team – an new baseball stadium is part of the plan

    -PGE Park is a beautiful and historic venue, downtown, on transit and has successfully hosted MNT and womens world cups.

    -The city council unanimously supports the plan.

    -As a rival NW city, Vancouver has significant stadium issues – no guarantee of an SSS or even site approved. They would play in a domed football stadium for the good part of a decade.

    -The anonymous Portland investment group has been said to have deeper pockets than Coopers group at least.

  17. Hey…for all those looking for more info…check out or (the official site).

    The plan calls for PGE to be renovated with stands down the east side of the stadium, creating a horseshow.

    The Beavers (the AAA baseball team who shares PGE) will move to a renovated stadium in one of Portland’s eastern neighborhoods.

  18. MLS–stop expanding. you’re watering down the play to 1996 levels, and if that’s so who cares about SS stadia and all that?

    –a voice in the wilderness

  19. I wasn’t a soccer fan until I found the Timbers Army. I live in Southern California and have attended Galaxy games…boring!

    I now plan to come up to Portland at least yearly to see the Timbers and experience the awesomeness that is the Timbers Army!!! It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen (so of course I had to experience it and stood through the entire game in section 107). What a trip!!!

    I hope Portland & MLS can move forward on this!

  20. Oh no! I am old enough to remember the expansion days of the NASL…Did we have a team there? Here is a quote:

    “It was during this magical season that the Timbers endeared themselves to the City and Portland became known as “Soccer City USA”” Wikipedia info 2008.

    Well next generation of players begin to prepare for the soccer ice age. Back to indoor (Futsal?) and sporadic regional leagues to take on a semi professional flavor. If the world markets cannot bring an influx of resources to growth of US market, then soccer will not become a professional sports industry mainstay but always an entrepreneurial risk.

  21. NYC has been waiting 13 years for the NJ team to stabilize and figure out its shiz. The NYC team was always part of the plan, but they never got it because the NJ Metrostars drew crap and did more poorly than I think anyone imagined.

    If you still think the RB are a NYC team, you seriously need to read up on how it works here, or call a friend who lives/lived in NYC and they’ll give you the scoop.

  22. For you PGE Park Bashers- Why don’t you come out to a game? The stadium is in the middle of downtown, not in the freaking suburbs where you have to drive an hour to see a game. We just installed luxury boxes a couple of seasons ago. The outer portion of the stadium is a old fashioned ball bark look and not a cooky cutter hole like they build in Carson. PGE would be ideal for the Timber and MLS. And lets not for get the history. The original Timbers played here and Pele won the NASL playing here.

    As for the baseball team currently playing here? It’s a financial mess. Portland does not want to keep spending money for minor league baseball. It’s a 20000 seat stadium that draws about 3000 for baseball. If Merritt Paulson doesn’t get his stadium in upper southeast Portland, he will probably sell the team. And with the current thought process, the Timbers and Portland State University will both use the stadium. And the Timbers never have had WHITE LINES for football on the field during games. NEVER.

  23. I’m really tired of people saying the Mets plan is the worst ever. You obviously have NO idea what the heck you are talking about.

    You probably can’t even place Queens on a map.

    You keep saying, let NY give sound support to the RB’s before we give them a team.

    WTF do you want NYC people supporting the RBs for?????

    There are 3 million people on the arm of Long Island alone, not to mention the people in the city.

    Do the RBs need to figure out how to capture their New Jersey fan base better, sure.

    They haven’t and should never be capturing NYC/long island fans. That is a different area for a different team.

  24. More like “How stupid are you?”

    Puerto Rico Islanders can never go to MLS because Puerto Rico wants to establish its FA as a strong FA in the region. Canada’s CSA doesn’t count for much but FIFA would block Puerto Rico or Jamaica or Bermuda from fielding a team in MLS.

    Posted by: HA! | October 07, 2008 at 04:45 PM


    You just showed your behind.

    Apparently I’m not as stupid as you would like to think. Or as stupid as Marcos & Holt.

    It is well known that MLS is not an option for us–what part of that is unclear?!?!

    Not because of federation or FIFA theory. Because of the economics. If New Zealand can field and A-League team (FIFA approved). If FIFA decided to let TOronto and Canadian franchises join MLS (you CSA theory comes off as weak also–the CSA isnot as strong as it should be but it’s not helpless).

    USL1 is our only option. We aren’t going anywhere. That is my freaking point. We will be around when the other markets that can defect to MLS will be gone. So better to try and build a future with us.

    Does that help clarify my point for you? Does that help, smarty guy?

    And as far as the Puerto Rican federation goes, Mr. Ha1–seeing as I actually happen to be fortunate enough to know what the federation would actually like to see happen (because I have direct access to the fed president)–I can assure you that Puerto Rico Islanders NOT being able to go to MLS has nothing to do with “the fed wanting establish itself as a strong FA”–of course it wants to leverage itself and under Joe Serralta it has progressed in the last several years. But I don’t know where you got the silly idea that the FPF doesn’t want Islanders in MLS. It is all about the lack of economics and lack of capital. You can take that from someone who has been fortunate enough to have been granted an amazing amount of access to Islanders ownership/management and who the federation President and other fed officials. That’s not bragging. That’s not boasting. That’s just stating the facts. I’m honored that people think enough of me to have given me that sort of confidence and who actually for some strange reason unbeknownst to me take me more seriously than I take myself and most of the other people that know me (which isn’t very seriously at all).

    So unless you have talked to those folks more recently than say yesterday morning,

    Ha! right back at you.

  25. With regards to the stadium, which really is a gem anyway, consider that other cities vying for 2011 would:

    1) Build a cookie cutter stadium in the suburbs – far from pubs and transit

    2) Play indoors in oversized domed football stadiums with no guaranteed SSS in the works

    Conversely, Portland would play in a historic stadium that successfully hosted national team and WWC events, and that is right downtown, on transit, near pubs, and appropriately sized.

    Baseball moves to another stadium, and there is no NFL to take a back seat to late in the season (D2 College football could more easily work around the MLS schedule).

    All tolled, Portland’s stadium situation is actually among the best of the scenarios in play for 2011.

  26. “Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Islanders FC, the number 1 seed, Commisioners’ Cup Winners, who (along with the Montreal Impact) are increasing the USL brand, putting USL on the radar from the Panama Canal north to Canada, who actually get press in Central America and Mexico–they get the SHAFT.

    How stupid is that?”

    More like “How stupid are you?”

    Puerto Rico Islanders can never go to MLS because Puerto Rico wants to establish its FA as a strong FA in the region. Canada’s CSA doesn’t count for much but FIFA would block Puerto Rico or Jamaica or Bermuda from fielding a team in MLS.

  27. I, too, like that logo. It’s much better than that other one with the tree. Maybe the colors could use tweaking. I don’t know.

    Anyhow, I say ‘yes’ to Portland. I say ‘eh’ to converting PGE park. And, I say a big ‘HELL NO!’ to fieldturf.


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