Well, it was better. A lot better. The Timbers Army was assembled through open doors to the left of me, close enough that I could have thrown a beer at them. They’re justly recognized as the best supporters in Major League Soccer and their “our house in the middle of BC” was a big, if geographically inaccurate, hit. But it seemed like they’d just be getting into their groove then, in a dense little wedge in one corner of the vast concrete stadium, there’d be the boom of “WE’RE BLUE! WE’RE WHITE!”
There was no question whose house it really was.
Visually, audibly, the support was a treat to watch from afar. Was it the way the Southsiders were concentrated into a smaller area? Was it the carefully-designed and labouriously-crafted tifo which got the game started off right? Was it the building itself? The megaphones? A sense of occasion, of purpose? Whatever it was, it was hard not to leap to my feet and join in “Boundary Road” as it rang, clear and true, across the stadium. I knew exactly when it was the eighty-sixth minute.
The Southsiders still have room to grow and improve. But too many people to name in both the Southsiders and the Whitecaps have done yeoman’s work getting us this far. There’s been so much growth, so much hope, so much promise over the last year that it was remarkable to see it coming together, to see the tifo and the flags and hear the chants and songs of fans ten times more exuberant than the team they were supporting.
It was much more meaningful than a mere stadium; we’ve seen three of those in twelve months. Stadiums come and go, but Southsiders are forever.