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Mid-Day Ticker: Portland stadium progress, Quakes get midfielder and more



'Tis the season of stadium news.

On the heels of the Kansas City Wizards getting approval for a new stadium, the Red Bulls opening their arena against Santos FC and Baltimore looking into the possibility of building a new stadium comes word that the Portland Timbers are close to city approval for completing renovations to PGE Park.

The Oregonian reports that owner Merritt Paulson's proposal to renovate the downtown-Portland facility has enough political support to pass through the city council during next week's vote. Paulson has also guaranteed to cover the costs of renovation.

The Timbers currently play at PGE Park, but with the franchise moving from USL to MLS it became necessary to convert the stadium to more soccer-friendly specifications.

PGE Park is also home to the Portland Beavers, a Triple-A minor league baseball team, and the Portland State University football team. The Beavers will be moving elsewhere prior to the 2011 MLS season, but the football team will maintain its use of the park for home games.

In other soccer news this Friday:


The San Jose Earthquakes bolstered its midfield by acquiring USL veteran Joey Gjertsen, the San Jose Mercury News reported. A former standout for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact, Gjertsen will compete to replace Shea Salinas, who was taken by the Philadelphia Union in the expansion draft.


The revolving door in the Manchester United defense keeps turning.

A day after John O'Shea was shut down for the season with blood clots in his leg, the team announced that Rio Ferdinand will return from a back injury that caused a three-month absence to play Saturday against Hull City.

Nemanja Vidic is reportedly two weeks away from making his return.


Chelsea and Ghana-international midfielder Michael Essien will be out 4-6 weeks after tearing a meniscus at the African Cup of Nations. Essien, who had just overcome a hamstring injury, will miss Chelsea's crucial Premier League tilt with Arsenal (Feb. 7) and is likely to miss the first leg of the Blues' Champions League knockout stage bout with Inter Milan (Feb. 24).


It's becoming more clear that Ruud Van Nistelrooy will be moving from Real Madrid this month, but the destination is still up in the air.

Harry Redknapp declared that the Dutch striker's weekly wages likely prohibit Tottenham from making a move for him. Hamburg, West Ham and Stoke City have expressed interest in the 33-year-old as well. Stay tuned.


Excited for Portland? Can Gjertsen help the Earthquakes? Will Rio's return lift Manchester United back to the top? Can Chelsea withstand the Essien loss? Where would Ruud fit in?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. KC and SJ both play in 10K temporary stadia. Both have plans for new SSS. Neither team has broken ground…yet.

    As for inflating attendance numbers with doubleheaders…yes, the Quakes finally were able to do so. Not unlike other MLS teams…such as fireworks and Rapid games of the past at Mile High.

  2. This is completely ridiculous argument. In a stadium you choose the soil and the grass. Its called importing. They can grow what ever the hell they want in Portland, at a cost. Since MLS is cheap, we get cheap turf.

    I’ve seen them growing grass inside the City of Manchester Stadium with monster UV lamps that they roll around the field. They’re just controlling costs.

  3. since your going to point out the reain fall, what about the topography? or the soil, in both places? What type of grass is it in england, is it more like a moss, then the long blades we have in the us? Those things do count don’t you think?

  4. Great, another venue where you can barely watch a game on tv with the ball bouncing ten-feet high and shooting into touch before a player can catch up with it.

    As for grass vs.plastic, nonsense.Here’s some stats:

    Liverpool: Annual rainfall – 41.3″

    Portland: Annual rainfall – 37.5″

    If they can grow grass at Anfield and Goodison they can grow it in Portland.

  5. Again, allow me to share my perspective. From the “traditions” perspective – and this is based on what I have read about the Sounders, and from attending Timbers and MLS games – you’ve got the band; the march to the stadium; the “golden scarf”; the Supporters’ Alliance; the scarfing of the season ticket holders with the “hold up your scarves” stuff (well, this was a good marketing move – but compare to the Timbers, where the coveted scarves are funded and created by the supporters); and the “Seattle/Sounders” as you said above are what I refer to as the “traditions”. The supporters’ group may have their own traditions, I don’t know. I’m not surprised you claim to only know of the one tradition, but all of those things I mentioned are both unique to the Sounders (AFAIK) and were created by the Front Office. Compare to Timber Jim/Joey cutting off a slab of lumber whenever the Timbers score (and the subsequent presentation thereof), which, again, is an organic tradition. Again, I’ve heard that tradition called everything from “awesome” to “bush league”, but it’s important to me and it’s important to us as supporters and it contributes to our feeling of support for our team. Asking which set of traditions is better is going to elicit an opinion, but the important thing for the rivalry, at least to me, is 1) both teams have traditions; 2) the traditions started differently.

    This goes back to the “customers” pejorative as well. You claim your interest in the game is genuine, and you say you’ve been to A-League games, so this may not apply to you specifically – but the phrase “customers” applies to Sounders fans willing to buy the FO-generated club culture the USL/A-League franchise didn’t have, while typically being ignorant the USL/A-League club existed in the first place. (See Mike Petke’s ESPN blog for a good story about the inaugural match.) Now, to be fair, if these people exist they’re probably in the minority. I know a couple Sounders fans who don’t fit this description and who would probably have gone to a USL Sounders game if the team had just been marketed a little better, for instance. Levied broadly, though, it implies the Sounders experience has been created by the club’s marketing department and not by the fans who support the club (which is why more than just Timbers fans have made the accusation).

    The Sounders have been good for the league and I hope the support keeps up; it’ll only help the rivalry.

  6. Agree. My opinion of Portland joining the league completely changed after the news of turf. Gimme a break with this. Don’t these teams ever learn. Take a look around the league. We don’t want it. The fans don’t want it. It makes you look like a bush league club and you’ll attract bush league players. If you’re gonna do something, do it right.

  7. Oh, and I almost forgot. People always accuse us of being corporate – I think the word that was used earlier is “customers.” I don’t know where that came from either.

    There is a huge community of young adults in Seattle that plays and follows soccer. We’ve been waiting for a team since 1996. We didn’t buy tickets because XBox Live decided to sponsor the team. Our interest in the game is genuine.

  8. Fair enough John. Your points are well made. But as a season ticket holder, I’m not sure what has caused people to claim that Sounders fans have think they have “traditions.” I think the vast majority of us would freely admit that the only thing we do that is unique (to MLS and to European football) is the cheer where the north end yells “Seattle!” and the rest of the stadium responds with “Sounders!” That is, honestly, the only unique thing we do, and the only thing that can even be considered in the running for tradition.

    If you run up against Sounder fans who supported the USL club who feel like they have traditions, they probably have a better claim – I didn’t support the USL club. I went to plenty of A-League games back in the day, but that was before the MLS took all the talent out of the A-League. I don’t claim to have any traditions, and I’ll bet most Sounder fans feel the same way. I sure won’t disagree with you if you want to bash our “traditions” – I’m just not sure any of us would claim to have them.

  9. Jay, I play for the Britannia Arms in Cupertino- 2nd division though. They had 2 divisions when you played, right? the CISL is now made up of 26 teams in two divisions. two of the top teams this year (Las Camaradas & PAC) won the over 40 and over 48 divisions at the Kings Cup in Vegas last week.

  10. It’s turf, it’s been turf, it’ll be turf. Geographically some places just can’t feasibly support a nice grass field. I know folks on bigsoccer like to rail against the turf-ication of MLS, but it’s not like PNW locations like Seattle/Portland/Vancouver really have a reasonable choice. It’s turn or soup when it rains

  11. The “invented” comment wasn’t typed on my keyboard – “invented” or at least the notion behind it is a fairly common sentiment towards your club (see: the DC United FO, around October).

    I guess it’s the pride in the atmosphere. I’m not saying you can’t have pride, but the difference between our atmosphere and your atmosphere is completely different. The reason the Timbers are in MLS now started with twelve people standing behind a goal in 2001. The fan base and atmosphere has grown pretty much organically, and we will be in MLS because a lot of people love the club and have worked hard to make it happen.

    I’m not saying you can’t be proud of the fact you pack in your stadium, or of your marching band, or of your “traditions”. It’s clear the Sounders have been good for MLS. However, seeing all these “traditions” rise out of seemingly nowhere is a complete counterpoint to why I love the Timbers. It has nothing to do with being big time or small time, it has a lot to do with the geographical rivalry going back to USL and NASL days, and a lot to do with the ways in which the front offices and supporters on both sides have acted since Seattle went MLS. I think the stark differences between the two clubs are going to make for a great major league rivalry.

  12. So, the bandwagon will not fade very fast? Freddie’s legs look pretty damn good and he’s an oldish guy. I hope our casual fans last as long as his legs. Thank you for your optimism.

  13. Seattle represented very well at the MLS Supporters conference. Their support in the USL was almost inarguably awful but they’re quickly getting their stuff together. I’m all for it since a good opposing supporters crew drives everyone to be better.

  14. I do respect some of the ECS who have followed the team for the past decade. I don’t like them, but I respect them. But all the new clowns with their rave wigs and foam fingers are just jumping on the bandwagon and will fade as fast as Freddy Ljunbergs legs.

  15. I am just confused if he realizes that all the new fans that come to support the timbers are also “customers” based on his logic. So he would just become a hypocrite at any rate.

  16. Timbers fans are ridiculous. We Seattle fans are proud of the way we support our team, in a way that no other MLS team can match at the moment. But I don’t think any of us are stupid enough to suggest that we “invented” supporting an MLS team, or that we are doing the rest of the league a favor by packing 30,000 people in for each game. We just love the atmosphere of our home games and are proud of it.

    Most, if not all, of us are excited to have Portland in the league. This small-time complex that many Portland fans that post here have will only make the rivalry better. But to be honest, I’m just glad to have a natural geographic rival that will have fans as passionate as ours. It will make those games more meaningful and more fun. Timbers fans should be happy about it, not bitter.

    Lastly, Seattle is a big league town. We have a terrible history of supporting any kind of minor league franchise in and around Seattle. I don’t think any of us would deny that. You can go ahead and think less of us for it.

  17. I agree that they definitely overuse colors since Chelsea AND Birmingham City AND Portsmouth AND Everton are all blues or at least have “blues” as one of their nicknames, i’m sure there’s more.

  18. Sounders customers are hilarious. Never supported the team in USL, but now they think soccer was invented in Fish Fume USA. If you went to Sounders games when they played in Tukwilla, I’ll give you your respect. If you never seen the Sounders until they moved to MLS, go blow yourself.

  19. Alright so maybe I should look up statistics before making generalizations 🙂 my bad, i didn’t realize SJ attendance was as high as it is.


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