My brothers and sisters, welcome, the moment is here.
The Portland Timbers play for the cup at home.
Across the years we’ve entered into the stadium to watch our team play many games.
We’ve stood upon seats with our hearts in our mouth watching the Timbers rise against our hated rivals and fall to amateurs. We’ve played taps, travelled in numbers, yelled in shock at televisions, ridden buses and airplanes and sung, “we’re gonna win the league.”
There has never been a home game as meaningful as this one that is right in front of us.
This is a fanbase that spans the globe, that unites every fan through a common bond that is the love of the Timbers. However, this is a fanbase that comes from a place.
We come from Portland.
This is our home.
And this place is not easy.
We’ve suffered through a global pandemic, deaths in our family, violence in the streets, right wing extremists, police brutality, and a surge of politically driven attempts to cast this beautiful place where we live as the embodiment of everything that is wrong.
This place is rainy, gloomy, moody, and expensive. This place is beautiful, subtle, caring and passionate.
We, the fans, are all these things because we are Portland.
When the gates open and the stands fill, it will be packed with Portlanders. Some of those were born here. Some of those moved here. And some of those people in the stands grew to love the city because they watched from afar as we poured ourselves into every single kick, every tackle, every simple measure and tactical shift that happens for 90 minutes.
We’ve seen legends roam our fields from Clive Charles to Scot Thompson to Diego Chara to Diego Valeri. We’ve watched the best in our league come to our corner of the world and falter as they attempt to understand.
We’ve bonded over pain, failure, disaster, olives and Spiced IPA. We’ve seen the miraculous, the daring, and the unbelievable.
The Double Post
The Sunshine Goal
The Sunflower Goal
The Andrew Jean-Baptiste Stunner
Suzuki against Seattle
The Red Card Wedding
Tony Betts golden goal
Nemo, Nemo drag him off the pitch
There are so many that they begin to get lost among the years.
The thing that ties all of these moments together is us.
We are the thing that remains. We watch, we endure, we celebrate, we commiserate but we remain.
We are Portland.
We gather not just for sports, but for a celebration of this city, this team, this time in our history.
There is no 2021 game left after Saturday. We’ve come to the end of the season.
Nothing remains for us but to let loose every bit of ourselves, our love, and our passion for the boys of the field.
When you step into the stands on Saturday, understand that you bear the weight of responsibility for carrying forward the support, love and belief of every Timbers fan who cannot make it to this game. Understand that for every person who was able to buy a ticket there is another who would do nearly anything to be where you are right then.
Take this belief, this love and let it lift your voice. Let it fuel your belief in the boys, let it fuel your love for each other and let it bring us home from this incredible voyage.
And for me, please, when you reach your seat on gameday stop for one moment.
I want you to look at the stadium, the rain, the rafters, the seats.
Look at the fans, the players, the banners, the flags, and absorb it all. Hear the ghosts singing our songs, chanting, dancing and believing in PTFC across the decades.
Create a memory of this moment and hold onto it.
Then, let this memory go and with furious abandon give every last measure that you have for this team.
Together we can make another memory in our long history. Together we can make them believe.
Together we can show the 11 on the field, the substitutes, the coaching staff, and all the future players who ever think of coming here that we will be there for them.
We are Portland.
What we built can never be broken.
-- John Nyen