The Football Side of Things
With the more iconic cities of Philadelphia and Chicago, visited and conquered (with Villa winning 1-0 against both the Union and Fire), Aston Villa end their US tour in Portland, to play their third and final MLS opponents, the Portland Timbers.
The Timbers have been going since 1975, with the only other major league sports team, the Basketball team Portland Trailblazers, to share the city’s sporting affections. There’s a few Villa players in the 1970’s who plied their trade at the Timbers, the most notable being Peter Withe, who spent a season there in their inaugural year.
At the moment, the current team are struggling though. After 20 games played in the season, they find themselves floundering at the bottom of the MLS Western Conference, having lost their last four games, including getting tonked 5-0 in their last game by FC Dallas.
One thing they do have going for them is one of MLS’s best mascots – the chainsaw-welding Timber Joey, who has a log-cutting goal celebration!
If there’s going to be one game Given or Guzan aren’t going to keep a clean sheet, it might as well be this one, just so we can see Timber Joey in action.
This is a great little taster of the Timbers home ground atmosphere, filmed at their victory against LA Galaxy last season. Worth watching to see Timber Joey in full flow!
We. Are. Portland. from Cody Liesinger on Vimeo.
Compared to the first two stops on the US tour, Portland is perhaps unknown to most Villa fans. Situated in Oregon, situated north of San Francisco and south of Seattle, it has a little of the flavour of both of those neighbouring cities, when it comes to its counter-culture vibe.
It’s certainly known for its artistic natives including:
Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Chuck Palahnik (Fight Club), Steve Malkmus (lead singer of Pavement), Elliot Smith, Miranda July, Courtney Love and film directors Gus Van Sant and Todd Haynes.
With it’s micro-breweries, craft beers, and an excellent coffee reputation, it has a great laid-back scene of bars, cafes and music venues (e.g. The Doug Fir Lounge). It has something for everyone, even perhaps the world’s only fetish-burlesque twins – The Porcelain Twinz (friends of a friend!)
How Wild is Wild in Portland?
During my day job (film journalist) away from MOMS, when I interviewed Oscar-winning director and Portland native Gus van Sant, I got him to sum up Portland’s scene:
“Portland is an interesting microcosm of all kind of things. There’s real criminal elements. I think in a lot of places in America, you have this new very scary development of the Russian mafia. They exist in Portland, but you don’t see them around.
There’s the traditional age-old western side of the town, so you have these western restaurant owners, that are kind of shady. There’s a gay population and a very strong street-kid population. The town’s very friendly, so they have a lot of assistance programs, so there’s places to stay and food, and it’s basically not very violent. That’s the good side of Portland, the violence isn’t part of scene so much, as say, Seattle or San Francisco.
There are a lot of homeless kids that end up coming there – they’re on the streets and riding trains. That side of it… My Private Idaho, basically took place in that world. Then there’s the rich part of Portland on the hill, there’s Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, the Techtronics family and me!’
Recently, Portland has been increasingly known for its music scene, with several bands making it into the MOMS music collection.
MOMS Top 10 Favourite Portland Bands
2. Scout Niblett (born there)
3. Stephen Malkmus (Pavement lead singer)
4. Laura Veirs
5. The Dandy Warhols
6. The Shins
7. She and Him
8. The Decemberists,
10. Lifesavas (hip-hop),
Other notables: Sam Coomes, Stars of Track and Field, Thai Ngo, Pink Martini, Everclear, Dan Reed Network (remember them?), Gossip, Modest Mouse ( Portland links).
Check PortlandTimbers.com for a webstream of the Villa vs Timbers game for the kick-off at 4.30am Wednesday 25th July UK time (7.30pm 24th July local time).
Join culture vultures MOMS on facebook