The announcement of the Timbers’ entry into MLS was the culmination of a nearly two-year-long process for Merritt Paulson, dating back at least to May 2007, when Paulson led a group that bought the Portland Beavers and the USL Timbers. The group included former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Meritt Paulson’s father. The biggest issue for the city of Portland at that time was that due to league concerns about seating configuration, field surface and scheduling, obtaining an MLS club would require a new stadium.
In October 2007, Paulson was told PGE Park could be upgraded for about $20 million, and a new baseball stadium (with 8,000 to 9,000 seats) would cost about $30 million. By November 2008, Paulson told The New York Times he expected Portland taxpayers would spend $85 million to “build a new baseball stadium for his Beavers and renovate PGE Park—just remodeled in 2001 at a cost to taxpayers of $38.5 million—for soccer”, and that in exchange, he would spend $40 million for the franchise fee to bring a new Major League Soccer team to Portland. MLS was in support of the proposal, wanting to continue to expand the number of owners in the league (for a while, all of its teams were owned by three men: Philip Anschutz, Lamar Hunt, and Robert Kraft).
Though supporting the acquisition of an MLS franchise raised numerous issues for Mayor Sam Adams and the Portland City Council, the Timbers were announced as Major League Soccer’s eighteenth team on March 20, 2009, by Commissioner Don Garber. The announcement occurred during the first and second-round games of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament that were held in Portland. The announcement noted that the team would retain the Portland Timbers’ name.
MLS Cup 2015 was the 20th edition of the MLS Cup, the championship game of Major League Soccer (MLS). The match was to determine the champion of MLS’ 2015 season. The championship was contested on December 6, 2015, between the Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, with the latter winning 2–1 and earning a berth into the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League.
The Timbers’ Diego Valeri scored the fastest goal in MLS Cup history at 27 seconds after Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark miscontrolled his defender’s back-pass. Portland doubled their lead in the seventh minute with a goal by Rodney Wallace, and although Columbus got a goal back through Kei Kamara in the 18th minute, the Timbers held on for their first MLS Cup championship. It was the first men’s professional sports championship for a team from Portland, Oregon since the Portland Trail Blazers won the 1977 NBA championship.
The Timbers compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference. The Timbers have played their home games at Providence Park since 2011, when the team began play as an expansion team in the league.
The club was founded in 2009, when the city of Portland was awarded an expansion berth to Major League Soccer. The team is owned by Peregrine Sports under the majority ownership of Merritt Paulson, whose companies had acquired the then-USL Pro team in 2007 and later established the Portland Thorns women’s team in 2012. The club is a phoenix club, and the fourth soccer franchise based in Portland to carry the legacy of the Timbers name, which originated with the original team, in the North American Soccer League in 1975.
2011 – Present / Major League Soccer
2011 – Present / Portland Timbers
Timbers – Timbers dates back to Portland’s NASL team, which was owned by a timber company and named for Oregon’s timber industry.
MLS Cups 1
2011 – Present / Providence Park
2009 – Present / Merritt Paulson
*Blue is this team’s history