As you're mentally, emotionally and spiritually preparing yourself for the first 90 minutes of the Timbers' Major League Soccer playoff history (against Seattle because OF COURSE IT IS), take 20 minutes to watch this lovely documentary from the Barnicle Brothers and Prospect Productions.
Tifo follows the creation of one of those giant, section-wide displays of group-love Timbers Army is so wont to do for especially large matches. It also nicely captures Portland's soccer culture at its most earnest and unabashedly grandiose—which is worth your time, if only to calm your nerves before what's sure to be an intensely epic meeting of old adversaries tonight in Seattle.
I wrote about TA's gameday operations crew last year, touching on the Army's (and 107ist's) countless hours of thoughtful planning, painstaking labor and near-sacred treatment of creating both tifo and the ever-evolving match experience. Even then, members talked of becoming the best supporters group in the world—to be not only reputable internationally, but as one put it, "to be a leader that lifts everyone up in MLS around us, so they're constantly raising the bar with us."
In his review of Tifo on Grantland, ESPN FC writer Roger Bennett says that's clearly happening in Goose Hollow.
America has become a bona fide football nation. The Barnicle brothers, Nick and Colin, have bottled this sporting sea change in Tifo. ... To me, the most heartening theme of the Barnicles’ film is that amid the smoke, beer, song, and scarves ubiquitous in any self-respecting football nation, there is something tangibly homegrown about it all. When Timber Joey chainsaws that log and the wood chips start to fly, there can be no mistake. This is self-confident, rhapsodic, "Made in America" soccer culture.
Portland scraps with Seattle in the opening salvo of their two-match playoff series at 7 tonight. They meet again Thursday at 8 p.m. at Jeld-Wen.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!