Published Tuesday, April 5, 2011 12:42 PM by Shane Barrow
A cold and rainy night in Portland could not dampen the spirits of a rabid Timbers fan base who had been waiting years for the MLS opportunity. On Thursday night in front of a national ESPN audience they took their chance and ran with it. The Chicago Fire had enough trouble dealing with the water-logged pitch. They couldn't deal with an inspired Timbers team at all.
Portland manager John Spencer said, "Even during the warm-up, I thought it was electrifying … Myself and the staff were talking and saying, 'This doesn't feel like the US No disrespect to anybody, but it felt like you were playing in the [European] Champions League."
The Fire were overwhelmed. First half goals from Jorge Perlaza and Rodney Wallace gave the Timbers a 2-0 advantage at halftime and it could have been worse. Kenny Cooper had a perfectly good header disallowed to the dismay of the home fans. The second half was much the same for the opening 20 minutes. Perlaza struck again three minutes into the second half and the Timbers were looking quite comfortable at 3-0.
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Things would get a bit dicey as the Fire tried to mount a comeback. Chicago got an own goal in the 66th and a wonderful chip from Marco Pappa to put a little worry in the home fans. But a fourth goal in the 84th minute off a wild scramble in front of goal iced the match. In the end it was a well deserved victory for the expansion Portland Timbers and their first ever MLS win. Things get tougher though as they have FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy all on the schedule in the coming weeks.