Portland’s Jeld-Wen: Best Stadium In Major League Soccer?

February 21, 2011 at 7:11 am | Posted in Major League Soccer | 1 Comment

Recently I visited the Portland Timber’s site to have a look at where they will be playing their games in Major League Soccer.  I was intrigued by what I found.  The new Jeld-Wen field really is a bizarre concept, being a redeveloped baseball stadium.  It does not really fit into Major League Soccer’s concept of a sleek mid-sized new soccer stadium.  It is a weird hodge-podge which looks unattractive at first.

Once you get over the sheer strangeness of the place, I’d have to say it looks like one of the better and more interesting places to watch a game in Major League Soccer.  If I were to take a wager on which place will generate the best atmosphere for a football match in MLS, I think I will bet on Portland.

Why?  For one thing, Portland fans (called the “Timbers Army”) were the most organized of all Division 2 teams and put on the best show as soccer fans. Frankly, they put our Southsiders to shame in terms of numbers and organization in singing and chanting.

While one end of the park has almost no seats behind the goal, the other end has a massive curve of seats behind the goal which looks like it has about half of the total seats in the place.   If they fill that curve with their ultras, and with the fan organization they have in place, I think they will put on the best fan show in MLS.   An organized fan group on that curve will be able to put on a terrific show with banners, flags, etc to rival anything in Europe.

Portland’s curve (call it the “Curva Portland”) reminds me of some Italian football grounds where the ultras gather on the curved banks of seats in stadia with running tracks- like Roma’s curva sud in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The acoustics of Portland’s curve will be fantastic, because there is a large roof over head which will channel the noise out on to the pitch.   Furthermore, directly across from the curve is a massive building on the other side which will bounce the noise back on to the pitch.

Portland may have the weirdest stadium in the MLS, but in terms of fan culture it might just turn out to be the best ground to watch a game in the whole league.

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  1. I have to say that is a great soccer stadium. Very attractive. Should be a very good place to watch a game. The curva should generate a fair amount of noise!


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