This past saturday I was luck enough to get a chance to watch my EPL team play, Manchester City down in Portland.
Now, I don’t particularly like Portland, aside from actually having a basketball team, and tax free purchases, it has very few redeeming values. I’m being a little harsh, I actually enjoy it for some night life stuff and it is a nice city, but for some reason, things always seem to go down weird there.
I digress, the Portland Timbers were hosting Manchester City for the only west coast leg of their US tour, and I had to make it down there. It was actually a last minute thing that I made it down there, as in the weeks leading up to, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to go. I’m too busy, it’s in Portland, I can’t get tickets, I used every excuse in the book. Finally on the night before, my fiancee said “so why don’t you just go?” Why don’t I? Fine, I will. I found out that you couldn’t get tickets from Ticketmaster or just purchase them retail since the event was only available to Timbers season ticket holders, and only 3000 or so were available. I’m screwed, right? So I spent that night and the next morning trying to track down tickets. So I hit up the old Craigslist the day of the event, got in touch with a shady guy who promised to only charged me 6x the face value of the seats and promised to meet me outside the venue with tickets. What could go wrong? Get murdered? Robbed at least? Drive to Portland and not get any tickets? And so my friend Branden and I started the 3 hour drive to Portland. Usually it’s a leisurely 2.5 hour drive going slightly over the limit, and there wouldn’t be traffic on a Saturday at 3pm right?
No, there is just a massive accident on I5 south blocking 4 out of 5 lanes in Tacoma and it sucks up an hour. Oh. That’s cool.
So after we pass Tacoma, I drive significantly faster than I should to make sure we get down there on time for the game. I’ve never driven so fast for such a long period of time. It had to be the most stressful drive I’ve ever had. I would not advise anyone else do that. But it’s all about the journey, not the destination right?
F that noise. I’m going to watch Manchester City play.
So we meet up with said shady person, who tells me we have to meet off the property of the stadium as they are cracking down on scalpers, so I meet him on the other side of a long field, in a small forest. I give him money, he gives me tickets that I pray are not fake, otherwise I’m out $120 with nothing more than a long drive home looking me in the face.
Lucked out, tickets were legit, and we go sit down in the bleachers. It’s smaller than a high school football stadium. I played in stadiums twice the size of this. Wha? It’s cool tho, we sit in the front row, in front of where City is warming up and training, watch Bellamy, Johnson, and Ade take some shots on Joe Hart. It’s seriously cool to watch in person. Adebayor and Hart are bigger than I thought they would be. Patrick Veira is huge too.
The game itself was actually very lame, City winning 3-0 predictably, but it was an experience to watch them in person. The ball handling was a little rusty, the starting back 4 were all younguns, the starting mid/forwards were mostly starters too so they were a blast to watch. In the second half, it was the starting back 4 and mostly bench/new guys mid and forward. Jo came back from loan at Everton and scored a goal in the second half on his left foot. Last season Barcelona and Chelsea (boooooooooo) came to Seattle and played against the Sounders, and that was great too. Being able to see Messi, Iniesta, Xavi from Barca, then John Terry (twat), Drogba, “fatty” Frank Lampard, from Chelsea was a great experience, but this one was even better for me. We sat on the ground level as close as we could to the pitch, and it was just cool to see the skill that they have, even in their off season form.
The real cool part came after the game, as we went to see the boys off. There were only 8 or so people when I got out there, so I was right up front. As they players were getting on the team bus, most of them were nice enough to sign autographs and pose for pictures (forgot my camera). I was able to get about 14 signatures, with about 5-6 of them starting XI players. Unfortunately none of the players who took part in the world cup made it out, so no Tevez, Barry, Silva, etc were there.
Ground level seats, not the best for watching games, as you can’t tell what’s going on half the time. It was cool when there were throw ins or corners, and we watched Jo’s goal up close.
My jersey that I had signed by some of the players. My favorites being Craig Bellamy, Joe Hart, Shay Given, Emanuel Adebayor, and Adam Johnson.
Here’s a couple good pics I borrowed from soccercityusa.com
Here’s a video of some of the action (Don’t know why it doesn’t have sound)