Visiting teams impressed by Portland's home advantage
PORTLAND, Ore. — The atmosphere generated by the Timbers Army at Portland's JELD-WEN Field has been a popular topic of discussion around the league since the stadium opened seven weeks ago.
A handful of MLS clubs have experienced it firsthand and the early reviews from opponents have been remarkably positive.
“It’s unbelievable — unbelievable,” D.C. United coach Ben Olsen told Timbers media relations personnel. “You have to come here and play to the field, but the atmosphere is unbelievable. If you can step away and look at it from a league perspective — what a great place, what a great environment, and what a great job the owner and the whole franchise have done to create a great atmosphere.”
Olsen’s United side were the first to go to Portland and get a result in league play, but even teams that have walked away with no points have been giving the JELD-WEN experience rave reviews.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando tweeted about it after a 1-0 loss at JELD-WEN Field on April 30: “…big props Portland’s fans, thanks for the great atmosphere.”
RSL coach Jason Kreis went further.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “Portland should be proud of themselves and the players should be thrilled that they get to play in this environment every week.”
FC Dallas’ Schellas Hyndman was also complimentary of the energy in the stadium.
“Fantastic,” he said. “Fantastic atmosphere. The fan base of Portland should be really proud. I thought they came out and added some energy to the team. There’s no doubt that this team is playing with such inspiration because of that fan support. You can call them the 12th man or whatever, but I think when you win your first two games at home that just tells more and more things for the future.”
Little did Hyndman know that the Timbers would go on to win their first five at home.
Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha was similarly impressed after a 1-0 loss on May 21:
“That’s what a stadium is supposed to look like," he said. "[It was a] pretty good crowd. It seems like they’re very educated. It was great. Really, the stadium is very nice, and it seems like the people around here know how to support the team.”
Philadelphia Union coach Peter Nowak was a bit more reserved in the wake of his 1-0 loss. He rated the atmosphere “good.”
“It was nothing different from PPL Park,” he said. “I thought they did a very good job and the fans stayed behind the team for 90 minutes, and I think it was a good experience for everybody.”