Goal.com's Andrea Canales rejoices as Portland gets set to join Major League Soccer in a blaze of green glory.By Andrea Canales
Green is my favorite color.
I think it has been since I could first give the proper names of the main different colors. While I like the entire spectrum of emerald from the light shade of delicate new growth in the spring, to the darkest hues, I have to admit I'm most partial to the deep shades of forest green.
All green, even that of an algae bloom, indicates growth, but the jade hues of old growth hint at a history of struggles overcome and the persistence to endure.
So I've lamented somewhat that no team in Major League Soccer has been consistently represented by the color green - let alone a dark, woodsy green.
Well, that void exists no longer, not with Portland joining the league in 2011.
As I watched the announcement over the video stream, I could hear the Timbers' Army, the main Portland supporters' group, in full song and chant at various points as civic and club leaders rose to give short speeches to commemorate the acceptance of Portland's MLS bid. Most of all, I could see the stage awash in green - jerseys, scarves, ties, even the curtains behind the stage were a deep, shimmering green.
MLS teams have more often chosen brighter, louder colors (some wacky previous shades still make me shudder, or laugh out loud). Red is incredibly popular. But while Portland may be new to MLS, it brings a long and proud soccer tradition that is immersed in the identity of the Oregon forests that abound in the state. Green is their color, has been, will be.
There may also be "No pity in the Rose City", but there was plenty of excitement and celebration that the Timbers would now be part of the U.S. top flight.
While some may worry that MLS adding so many recent teams in the Pacific Northwest will unbalance the league, I forsee a true single table emerging, where each team plays each team in the league home and away.
It's also worth noting that while I think Portland and Vancouver are worthy candidates, the bottom line to why Miami, Montreal and St. Louis fell by the wayside in the MLS race was money. It may seen crass that finances play such a large role, but any successful league needs to be financially solvent. MLS is steadfastly refusing to go down the path of the North American Soccer League's boom and bust.
Bottom line, if an organization can fund an MLS bid in the current economic conditions, not only are there deep pockets involved, but the club really, really wants in to the league. So huzzahs to Portland's Paulson for putting his money where his bid was. It's one more way that something green has infused MLS with new vitality.
As much as I love green in many forms, I still despise artificial turf surfaces for professional soccer. Portland's current stadium, PGE Park, has promised renovations, and I hope that its NeXTurf is the first thing to go.
I realize that real grass is often difficult to deal with and maintain, but what's easy isn't always right. Besides, no one ever said it was easy being green.
Andrea Canales is Chief Editor of Goal.com North America