Over the weekend, the 2012 season for Major League Soccer got into full swing. We saw various things, including the #ChampsLiveInLA hashtag backfiring on Galaxy, Houston waking up after napping through our Pro Soccer Classic, and Chivas failing to fill a tarped-off SSS. Badly.
Seriously, there’s no way in God’s green acres there were 14,000 people at their match. We’ve had stronger crowds than that.
But I digress. Tonight, the real fun begins as Portland Timbers host Philadelphia Union, and the most powerful supporters’ organization in North America, Timbers Army, takes the stands once more.
[youtube_sc url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK1wgM73YGQ width=480]
Their supporters’ clubs were undoubtedly a major selling point for their admittance to MLS. They drew over 9,000 per match in their final season in the minors, 2010. They averaged 18,827 last year in MLS, which is about 95% of capacity at Jeld-Wen Field.
A member of the TA, BigSoccer member IceFunk, recently gave some information to Orlando’s fans. Many of the points he made are things I have alluded to in the past.
The most important of them is supporter unity. Supporters culture is more effective when the groups work together as one on gameday. It’s alright to have subgroups based on geography and stadium section, but on gameday they need to stand united.
The groups need to get together and form an alliance. From there, they need to coordinate so that on gameday their passion shines through the brightest.
There is no better way to get this point across than to observe Timbers Army in action.
[youtube_sc url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko2eONX5NVs width=480]
Everyone heard of how they all sang the National Anthem prior to their inaugural MLS match last year. And that was during freezing rain.
[youtube_sc url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s50SvZm9jQE width=480]
There’s also their ever-famous Tetris Dance
[youtube_sc url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7mo3_I9ltY width=480]
And even crazier things.
[youtube_sc url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFm-TzIWzt4 width=480]
[youtube_sc url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0gvdQ7E790 width=480]
Your homework tonight is to watch their home opener; they’re hosting Philadelphia Union. The match is on ESPN2 at 9:30pm EDT. If you can’t watch it live, DVR it. If you can’t do that, watch it on ESPN3 later. Listen to the difference a large, united supporters group can make.