Ajax played their last match of the championship year in a terrific atmosphere. In Jeld-Wen Field, Ajax defeated its host, the Portland Timbers, 0-2. A first, since the Timbers hadn’t lost a single match in their new home stadium until Wednesday.
Mascot Joey didn’t have anything to do. Nothing to saw. It remains an impressive sight: a man with a chainsaw, bringing an entire football stadium into hysteria. But it’s the way things are with the Portland Timbers. Timber Joey is the great hero of the Timber Army, which is the hard core group of fans. At specific intervals, his saw sends a deafening roar though the new stadium. “Walking in a Timber Wonderland”, sings the Timbers Army. And that’s sort of the way it is.
Since the opening of the stadium, about one and a half months ago, the Portland Timbers haven’t lost. In fact, the rookie has won all of its five home Major Soccer League games in formidable fashion. Mascot Timber Joey has been busy, as after every clean sheet the keeper earns, Joey can saw off a piece of tree trunk. Against Ajax, his role was limited to revving the chainsaw into the air. Despite the fact that he doesn’t need to do much, Joey’s quite busy. When he walks along the stands, it appears that he’s a great model. Every fan wants to take a photo with him. “He’s our celebrity!” comes the resounding shout from the hard core stand, behind the goal. He has already been on German, English, and Irish radio. The MLS rookie’s poster child is popular, outside the U.S. as well.
The 31 year old Timber Joey is honoured that Ajax is visiting his club on Wednesday. “We’ve all been looking forward to hosting a big club like that from Europe. It’s especially great to play a game like this in our new stadium. There’s a reason that it was sold out so quickly. They’ve been talking about this match all week on the radio. We’ve gotten to know Ajax in the last few days. That’s how we know all of the names. This is a very special match for us.”
The Portland Timbers come close to Jeroen Verhoeven a few times, but Ajax is simply too strong. Ajax’s 0-2 win does nothing to diminish the Timbers Army’s enthusiasm. Scottish coach John Spencer addresses the hard core fans to loud cheering. Ajax also applauded the lively fans behind the goal. Timber Joey is anything but disappointed about the loss. “The result doesn’t matter. We had a great evening. I enjoyed our keeper, Adin Brown. He limited the damage. And moreover: we’re still unbeaten at home in Major League Soccer. We need to keep that way against DC United on Sunday.”