PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Even on balmy summer nights, a green Portland Timbers scarf is a ubiquitous accessory in a place known as Soccer City USA.
But fans aren't just in it for the fashion. It's common to see them sleeping outside Providence Park the night before a match. After kickoff, the atmosphere in the always-sold out stadium is loud and intense as fans sing and chant for the full 90 minutes.
Visitors and television viewers in 150 countries will get a look at Portland's enthusiasm for the sport at Wednesday's Major League Soccer All-Star Game. The contest pits the American professional league's best players against German powerhouse Bayern Munich, which includes six players who played for the World Cup-winning country.
"People throughout the U.S. and Canada have certainly witnessed the incredible passion and atmosphere that exists in Providence Park for a Timbers game. It does not go unnoticed," said Dan Courtemanche, the MLS' executive vice president of communications. "Our television partners, they love to have games on their networks from Portland because when people turn on the television and see that crowd, see (lumberjack mascot) Timber Joey cutting that log, it's compelling television,"
Though the all-star game is the major draw, the league has turned the entire week into a celebration of soccer. Portland's downtown square has added a mini-soccer field. The square is serving as the hub for many activities, including a free viewing party for those who couldn't get tickets.
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