25
Aug

Portland Timbers unfurl epic ‘Wizard of Oz’ tifo ahead of Seattle Sounders clash

The Timbers Army is at it again.

As you would expect anytime the Seattle Sounders come to town, the fans in Portland conjured up an epic pre-match tifo to give their rivals a warm welcome to Providence Park for Sunday’s Cascadia Cup match.

This time, they really out-did themselves with a Wizard of Oz-themed tifo. A yellow brick road connected Dorothy holding a can of gasoline on one end, and a burning city of Seattle (appropriately known as the “Emerald City”) on the other. The message “There’s no place like home” hung right above it.

The tifo was absolutely brilliant. Their team? Well, the Sounders left Portland with a convincing 4-2 win over their bitter northwest rivals.

Check the tifo out in action, below:

Image provided by USA Today

17
Apr

PAOK fans erect “ring of fire,” dump anchovies on rivals’ bench

PAOK’s feud with Greek record-champions Olympiakos is one of the fiercest in the country. To make sure we all remember this, the PAOK fans went all-out prior to the rivals’ Greek Cup tie this week.

First, the home supporters formed a giant ‘ring of fire’ by lighting hundreds of flares in every section of the Toumba Stadium. The impressive yet frightening display delayed the start of the match due to the thick smoke taking several minutes to clear.

But the PAOK fans didn’t stop there. In fact, things got really weird. Or should we say, fishy. Believe it or not, one troublemaker then made it his mission to dump a crate of anchovies all over the Olympiakos bench.

Why anchovies? Since, Olympiakos’ home ground is in Athens’ port of Piraeus, their supporters were kindly nicknamed “anchovies.”

The salty fish might make for nice pizza toppings, but seat covers… not so much. Here’s proof of the incident (the culprit was later arrested):

image(Image via Greek Reporter)

After this second act of mischief, the referee ordered a clean-up operation and directed both teams back to the dressing room until he was guaranteed by PAOK’s security team that it was safe for them to return. The delays took over an hour, and once the game finally did start, tempers didn’t simmer down any.

Multiple fights and skirmishes broke out throughout the match, both on and off the pitch, with three players shown red cards and flares thrown onto the field, causing continuous, intermittent stoppages in play. The second half alone needed 15 minutes of stoppage time to compensate for all the commotion.

And after all of that, PAOK moved on to the Greek Cup final thanks to a 1-0 win.

19
Nov

Setting the table for England vs Germany

imageWayne Rooney will lead Roy Hodgson’s side in attack on Tuesday night (Images: Reuters).

The classic rivalry between England and Germany will write another chapter Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium (live, FOX Sports 1, 3 p.m. ET), so let’s run down a few things to know:

1. Twice as nice: Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge will be paired together up top, with Rooney playing in the No. 10 role. This is great news for England, who need Rooney to be in top form and utilized in his best position in order to make a run at the top teams. You can read more about what this means for England in Patrick Barclay’s match preview.

2. Taking it easy: You’ll notice that while the Three Lions are fielding their best XI, more or less, the Germans will miss a lot of key players. Captain Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer have been left behind in Germany to rest for Bayern Munich’s upcoming clash at Borussia Dortmund, while Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will be rested as well. Also absent are injured playmakers Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ilkay Gundogan and Sami Khedira, as well as strikers Miro Klose and Mario Gomez. Joachim Low will have to give his side a new look, including Lars and Sven Bender in holding midfield.

imageWith his team hampered by injuries, Low will be forced to experiment vs. England (Images: Reuters).

3. Players to watch: Don’t feel bad for Germany, they still have plenty of weapons. Watch Marco Reus and Mario Gotze closely today; the two  wingers are competing with Ozil and Thomas Muller for starting spots next summer. The same thing goes for Max Kruse, who starts as the lone striker today.  On the other side, keep an eye on Adam Lallana and Andros Townsend. Still new to the national side, they, too, need to present themselves to the manager.

4. History lesson: The old rivalry has been a story of two eras. From their first meeting in 1908 through the legendary 1966 World Cup final, England completely dominated Germany (10W-2D-0L). It’s been a different story since then; Germany is 13-2-5 against England after ‘66. However, the Three Lions won the last meeting, 2-1, in November 2008 in Berlin.

5. Going tubing: Yesterday, the German national team took the Tube to Wembley Stadium for their final practice. This would be unfathomable if not for the well-known fact that getting to Wembley any other way actually takes ten times as long. This just speaks to Joachim Low’s thorough preparation. A video of the team’s unique transport is below:

7
Nov

Portland vs Seattle. Here. We. Go.

image

We all love our rivalry games. El Clasico. El Superclasico. Manchester derby. Bayern-Dortmund. Roma-Lazio. Boca-River.

In North America, the best we have is in the Pacific Northwest: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders. And tonight, for one last time this season, they will battle. This time it’s in the playoffs, with a spot in the conference final on the line. Not only that, but it’s Portland’s first-ever MLS playoff match at home, and they hold a one-goal lead heading into this second leg. Are you getting the shakes just thinking about it?

With so much at stake, it would be amiss to not get you pumped up with an awesome super-fan video. This short film gives an inside look into the Timbers Army, and what goes into making their famous tifos. It also follows a group of 1500 die-hards to a rivalry match in Seattle, one of the loudest places on Earth. It really captures the intensity and importance of the rivalry, and there couldn’t be a better appetizer to tonight’s match!