Villa, Vieira hail Portland as “best atmosphere” in MLS

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

If you have ever spoken to someone who has taken in a Portland Timbers match at Providence Park, the response will usually go something like this:

“You have to experience it to believe it.”

Well, New York City FC did just that — and their players and staff were simply glowing about the environment.

Already on a high from their 2-1 victory over the Timbers on Sunday evening, NYCFC players and staff could not stop gushing about the atmosphere in Portland following the encounter.

This is the best atmosphere so far I have experienced [in MLS],” said NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira. “When the anthem was going, the fans were fantastic. And as a player, you are looking forward to playing on this kind of stage.”

And Vieira wasn’t alone in his sentiments. This was NYCFC’s first ever trip to Portland, meaning several players were taking in the raucous environment of Providence Park for the first time. Even well traveled players like captain David Villa were left impressed with the atmosphere, splicing no words in his admiration for the Timbers’ support.

“Amazing. So far it is the best, the best in MLS in my opinion,” Villa said after the match. “A lot of games, a lot of the stadiums have very good atmosphere. But for me, in my opinion so far, Portland is the best atmosphere.”

Villa even went so far as to say his team were “unlucky that we play in the other conference.”

“Maybe in two years we will get to come and play against Portland here. The atmosphere is amazing,” Villa said. “Congratulations to Portland, to the Portland Timbers, to the fans. Because the atmosphere is amazing playing here.”

Even Mix Diskerud, who shares a dicey past with Portland after being courted by the club years ago, hailed the tremendous support of the Timbers Army — the same Timbers Army that goaded him during the match.

In fact, he spoke to EoS beat reporter Christian Araos after the match and implored him to write about the experience at Providence Park.

“I have to talk about the crowd,” Diskerud said. “It is really cool to travel to a place like this. The fans filled up [the stadium] before we even got here.

“You just have to write about how fantastic the fans are and the stadium is here because the atmosphere was really amazing, really.”

 

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  • it really does look like the place to watch a game. Just an amazing looking stadium and feel to it. Doesn’t look like a big stadium either.

    • Kaz

      It’s just over 20k, so no, not all that big considering how large some football stadiums can be. The Timbers Army does a great job of constant singing, cheering, jeering throughout. It’s a pretty special place to watch a game.

  • Kate Reilly

    Of course, neither have ever been to Seattle on game day and they are the primary Portland competitors.

    • Kayla

      Why would they want to be subjected to the fish smell that Seattle brings. #smellslikefish #gutthefish #seattleflounders #rctid

    • Mac

      Jealous? Maybe if you played in a soccer specific stadium and not the Groupon oversized fishbowl. Size does not make up for atmosphere or the fan base support. European players enjoy playing at Portland because it reminds them of home.

      • Mac

        This is in response to Kayla

  • l.j.

    I wat at the game yesterday and it was amazing! Was my first time at Providence Park and it was right up there with best experiences i have had.

  • Luke

    Seems weird for players to rave about their OPPONENT’S atmosphere and fans. Seems a tad disrespectful of NYCFC’s own fans.

    • Tired Dave

      As a huge NYCFC fan, I understand the the thought. We’re still new and not the only game in town. They’ve had 92 straight sellouts and no competition in their market. I admire how rabid they are. It’s something we’ll hopefully emulate some day.

    • Philip

      I’m not insulted, as far as I’m concerned the Timbers supporters set the standard by which all American supporters should be judged. Guys like Vieira, Pirlo or Villa probably never imagined they’d see an atmosphere like that anywhere in MLS.

      • slowleftarm

        the empire at RB’s stadium surely beats this.