Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rowdies travel to soccer-obsessed Portland

TAMPA — During home matches, a bearded man wearing overalls, a hard hat and a Portland Timbers jersey bounces from section to section wielding a gas-powered chainsaw.

Related News/Archive

When the Timbers score, the burly lumberjack revs the saw, cutting a circular wood slab off a gigantic log situated behind the north goal.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies will spend their trip in Portland trying to avoid that sound.

Timber Joey, as he is known by Portland fans, is one of the most unique mascots in American sports, the face of a soccer franchise among the world's most celebrated for its unwavering fan support and incomparable game-day atmosphere.

After each Portland score, Timber Joey saws off a wood slice and presents it to the goal-scorer following the game. A clean sheet from a Timbers goalkeeper is also worthy of a wooden memento.

"I'm hoping I don't witness that chainsaw being done and a log being cut the whole trip," Rowdies coach Ricky Hill said.

Today, in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, the Rowdies continue their tour of the best teams the Pacific Northwest has to offer. After defeating Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders two weeks ago, the Rowdies face another MLS side.

There, they'll be confronted by Timber Joey and the rest of the 20,000 fans that make it, arguably, the best game-day soccer environment in North America.

"Nothing compares to the atmosphere in the Northwest," said Rowdies midfielder Keith Savage, who played with Portland from 2009-10. "They get big crowds and they're loud and they're passionate and they sing and they fight and it's awesome."

Need more proof?

• In the 80th minute of every game, sunflowers are passed around to all the Timbers Army members while the crowd sings You Are My Sunshine, a tribute to former mascot Timber Jim, whose daughter died in a car accident in 2004.

• Chanting along to the theme from Tetris, fans pogo alternately to the left and right, shifting entire sections of the stands in unison.

• Before a game four years ago against the rival Sounders, a 30-foot banner replica of the Space Needle was hoisted in front of the stands, then cut down by an even-taller banner featuring the Timbers mascot.

"It was really neat being a part of that tradition and seeing what soccer's like up there," Savage said.

For the Rowdies, the challenge will be to tune out the sideshow while overcoming the absence of a trio of key defenders. Takuya Yamada reinjured his groin in practice. Daniel Scott is still sidelined with back issues, and Jordan Gafa is serving a one-game Cup suspension for a red card hand ball against Seattle.

"Whether there are 50 people or 50,000 people in the stands, it shouldn't have any impact on what we do on the field," Hill said. "All we have to concentrate on is going out, imposing ourselves and doing the job to the best of our abilities without being distracted or attracted or whatever the case may be to what's going on around us."

Rowdies travel to soccer-obsessed Portland 06/11/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 7:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  2. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during the first inning of Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.
  4. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  5. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand


    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]