The celebration was supposed to last only half an hour.

But more than a hour after the program began, the Portland Timbers remained on the stage at Providence Park leading the crowd of more than 9,000 fans in off-key renditions of “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “We are the Champions.”

After a memorable downtown parade earlier in the day, the Timbers capped off their MLS Cup championship celebration with a rally at Providence Park Tuesday night. 

The rain pounded down on the stadium and the wind blew so fiercely that it knocked a gigantic “Rose City” sign off the stage. But the weather didn’t deter either the fans or the players. 

As the players made their way onto the stage, the crowd broke out into a rumbling cheer of “hey, Portland Timbers, we salute you.” The song only grew louder as Liam Ridgewell carried the MLS Cup onto the stage. 

The ceremony began with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales leading the crowd in a cheer of “when I root, I root for the Timbers” and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson jubilantly thanking the fans, before screaming, “This is Soccer City, USA” into the microphone.

After half a dozen Timbers players stepped up to the microphone and thanked the supporters, Timbers coach Caleb Porter finally walked to the front of the stage.

“To win an MLS Cup, it takes an army,” Porter said. “You are that army.”

Porter then led his players onto the capo stand at the north end of Providence Park. They stood below the sea of fans and held up the shining MLS Cup trophy as the crowd cheered in excitement.

“My favorite chant that you guys do is the we salute you,” Porter said. “I hear you guys salute me and the players all the time and, so, this time we salute you.”

The Timbers Army once again broke out into a heartfelt chant of “hey, Portland Timbers, we salute you” as the players sang along and danced with the trophy on the capo stand. 

The Timbers closed out the official portion of the ceremony with the celebratory sawing of log slabs for the two goals scored by the Timbers in the MLS Cup. Timber Joey cut the first log slab for Diego Valeri’s opening goal in the final and invited Timber Jim, the club’s original mascot on stage, to saw off the second slab for Rodney Wallace’s game-winning goal.  

Valeri and Wallace raised their log slabs in the air as the rest of their teammates gathered around them. Behind them fireworks shot into the sky. The crowd continued to sing. 

But when the fireworks stopped and Timbers broadcaster Jake Zivin attempted to bring the celebration to a close, the players stopped him. 

They wanted to keep celebrating with their fans.

— Jamie Goldberg | jgoldberg@oregonian.com

503-853-3761 | @jamiebgoldberg

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