The New York Times: No American City Supports Its Soccer Team Like Portland Does the Timbers

Merritt Paulson
UPDATE: Our elephant-brained editor points out that The New York Times penned a similar, Seattle-centered "Gosh, they sure do like their soccer in that part of the country, don't they?" story near the outset of the Sounders' inaugural MLS season back in 2009. To The Times' credit, at least the earlier story is spared the unequivocal "best soccer city in the country" blather.

You may have read this article in the paper of record about how the Portland Timbers have the raddest, most (welcomingly) rabid soccer fans in the country. Not to get all defensive about it, but has the Grey Lady never been to a Sounders game?

If she had, she might have been a little more equivocal than she was in saying that "Portland has embraced its new MLS team like no other American city."

Not to take anything away from Portland's fans, who have made every MLS home game thus far a sellout for the Timbers. Kudos to them. In fact, we'll give them extra points for being so loyal to their team despite totally scummy ownership.

The self-made Henry Merritt Paulson III (or just "Merritt" for short), whose father (and co-owner) Henry Merritt Paulson, Jr. is the former chairman of Goldman Sachs and United States Treasury secretary, bought the Timbers, along with the Portland Beavers Triple-A baseball team, in 2007. Merritt converted the Beavers' ballpark into the Timbers' field (with $35 million in public assistance), then sold the homeless Beavers to owners who moved them to Arizona. Awesome!

So we might not be as fantastic a soccer town as Portland in the eyes of The New York Times. But at least we've still got the Seahawks.

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