The main reason we had come to Portland (besides the fact that we really like it there) was to attend the Whitecaps game against the Portland Timbers. This will have been 3 out of 4 years for me (we missed last year), and it’s always a good time. The game was a later start (8:00), so we had the whole day to explore. It ended up being a markets day, which was a lot of fun.
We got up at a decent time, with the thought of finding some breakfast and walking down to the Portland Saturday Market. We had done this last time, and it’s a good way to spend part of the day. We had breakfast at a little cafe (not very good) and then continued our walk down to the market. It was pretty close - another plus for this apartment - and didn’t take us long to get down there, even with the breakfast stop. It’s also right near the famous Voodoo Donuts, which had the usual massive line, so we passed.
As we walked over to the market, the skies opened up and we got an unexpected (but welcome) downpour that lasted about 10-15 minutes. It was inconvenient, but much of the market is under the bridge, so we were able to take cover and still wander about. The market is quite big, with a lot of different vendors, food carts and even beer on offer. We walked all of it, and while tempted by a few things didn’t end up buying anything. Still, it was fun to walk around.
After checking that out, we decided to head up to Alberta Street, another area of the city that was supposed to be quite interesting, that we had never really checked out. We discovered that a nearby bus would take us right there, so we waited for the next one and were up to the other end of the city in no time.
As is turned out, this was the one day of the year they shut down the whole street (for a really long way) and have an annual street festival. Out timing could not have been any better! We walked up one direction, and checked out everything that was on offer. There were a lot of little booths selling some interesting stuff (I ended up picking up a great Cascadia t-shirt), and Justine had a look in a few shops. There were lots of food vendors, and eventually, up at the one end of the closed off street we popped into Great Notion Brewing for a drink and a late lunch. The beer was really good, and as you would expect, the place was packed. We lucked out with a seat at the bar and hung out for a couple of hours.
Eventually we had to go and walked down to the far end of the closed section. We stopped at a few more stores and had a look around, before heading back to where our bus would pick up up. As we were approaching the cross street, the bus came by so we had to run for it! We made it, and were back down to our end of the city in no time.
We had a bit of a choice to make - an early dinner before the game, or crap food at the game. We chose the former, and we we stopped at Deschutes Brewery (another fav) for a beer and a light dinner. After wrapping that up, we headed back to our place to change into our Whitecaps gear, and head to the game! Our apartment was only about a 10 minute walk away, so it made it really easy.
Our friend Stuart had gotten us tickets in the Whitecaps supporters section, which makes the game a lot of fun. All the rowdy Whitecaps fans are there, but it was very disappointing to see that the traveling fans were less than half what they had been in previous years. Not sure why, but it barely reduced the atmosphere!
The team didn’t play too well, but got out to a fast start and an early 2-0 lead with one lucky goal, and one great counter attack. From there, they tried to hold on as the Timbers really piled on the pressure. The officiating was again completely suspect, as the ref seemed to be favoring the home crowd again. The Whitecaps had 2 penalties against them (the second deserved), and were called for 18 fouls against only 10 for Portland. That was the real issue in the officiating.
Portland missed their first penalty, but converted the second late in the second half. That fed the pressure, and Portland were relentless. The Whitecaps were reduced to just kicking the ball down the pitch. To make things worse, at the end of the match the refs called for 7 minutes of added time! Considering nothing of note had happened, that was insane. Fortunately the Whitecaps weathered the storm and came out with the much needed victory!
As with every game, the traveling supporters are held back for 20-30 minutes after the game. It’s a bit of a joke really - do they think we’ll end up rioting or something. I would even argue that it’s making things worst, having this big group get all worked up while they have to sit together like naughty school children after class.
After the match, we headed back out for another beer at Rogue, and then called it a night. Super fun day, and the Whitecaps picked up the improbable win!