As the 2019 version of the Portland Timbers celebrates its 10th season in Major League Soccer, we spin the WABAC Machine dial back 44 years earlier to 1975 – when the club’s original namesake became an overnight sensation (figuratively and literally) in the then-20-team North American Soccer League.
The last of the NASL’s five newly announced sides for that season (along with Chicago, San Antonio, Tampa Bay, and Hartford), the “Timbers” weren’t even named (via an open “name the team” contest) until March of 1975 – just two months after having been awarded the franchise, and barely a month before its first scheduled pre-season match.
Despite the haste, the Timbers immediately became the toast of both the Rose City and the league during the summer of 1975, as the club compiled the NASL’s best regular season record, earned a trip to the league championship “Soccer Bowl” (losing to the Rowdies 2-0), and regularly drawing 20,000+ crowds to Portland’s venerable Civic Stadium – earning the self-appointed moniker “Soccer City, USA” in the process.
Current MLS Timbers fan and de facto club historian Michael Orr (The 1975 Portland Timbers: The Birth of Soccer City) joins host Tim Hanlon this week to delve deep into the magical first year of Portland’s top-tier pro soccer franchise – including the personalities that made it work, the fans that made it special, and the traditions that still continue today in the team’s since-named (and newly renovated) Providence Park.
PLUS: “Green is the Color” – the long-lost Peter Yeates/Eric Beck/Ron Brady-penned 1975 Timbers theme song!
Enjoy a FREE MONTH of The Great Courses Plus streaming video service – including the just-released 24-chapter lecture series “Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America’s Pastime” – created in conjunction with the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum!