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VIDEO: Flashback to ’97, as US national team finally return to Portland

Jul 9, 2013, 10:44 AM EDT

Red Bulls Timbers Soccer

Good morning, America.

Today the Gold Cup adventure begins, as the USMNT take on Central American minnows Belize in their Group C opener up at JELD-WEN Field.

And BTW, the Timbers Army and American Outlaws grouping together should create one incredible atmosphere. The Outlaws are recruiting, get involved here.

But it is time to take a trip down memory lane. Can you recall the last time the USA played in the Rose City? Not many of you can, I bet.

Well the answer is September 7, 1997. The US beat Costa Rica 1-0 in a crucial 1998 World Cup qualifier, with Tab Ramos blasting home the winner to send the Portland faithful mad.

Bob Ley said of Portland’s Civic Stadium (now known and loved as JELD-WEN Field) “this might be the best atmosphere ever for a US national team game.”

Can the Timbers Army and the American Outlaws better that this evening? No doubt they’ll give it all they’ve got.

So watch this video from the US soccer history vaults to reminisce about Marcelo Balboa, Claudio Reyna and Steve Sampson. This is my gift to you as you wake up this morning, with dreams of Gold Cup success still fresh in your mind.

  1. Steve Davis - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I was there. Still one of best soccer experiences I’ve had … and I’ve been lucky enough to cover four World Cups in person.

    • Joe Prince-Wright - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Looks, and sounded, incredible.

      Won’t tell you how old I was in 1997… But old enough to remember the euphoria at Wembley when England got to the semifinals of Euro ’96. “Football’s coming home” and all that.

      Only to lose on penalties (of course) to Germany. Been a wonderful struggle ever since.

  2. charliej11 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    I was there. Unbelievable fans. Sat with Sam’s Army. The game was great too.

    Went to the ’98 WCup excited…wished I was back in Portland….and I am a Sounder.

  3. docstraw - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    It’s amazing how far the program has come in the last 15-16 years. No offense to some of the guys on that team, but would guys like Roy Lassiter, Roy Wegerle, and Preki even be on the B-team nowadays much less featuring in a crucial WCQ (which that game was)?

    That was an awesome moment for Ramos, who was my favorite player back then. He tore his ACL the year before that and I think he tore it again not too long after that game vs Costa Rica. Somehow he ended up on the WC team, even though he wasn’t 100 pct. Same with Wynalda. Jesus that was a disaster from the get go. The PTSD still kicks in from time to time when I think about the last days of Steve Sampson’s regime.

  4. waynelock - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Hulk Hogan in his prime in ’97? How old is this author? There was such a thing as Hulkamania in the 80s

    • Joe Prince-Wright - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Too young, apparently! Hulk was still the man in the 90s, from what I remember.

      But that reality TV show really didn’t work out for him, did it? Ha.

      Great memories all the same.

  5. takethelongview - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Well, I wasn’t there. But this flashback did remind me how much I liked that color commentator. He was always calm and informative and was unafraid to be critical when criticism was deserved. His days were always numbered, of course, once the new generation of American players aged out of the game and into the booth. And that was something else that struck me about the clip: how many of those USMNTers are still with us, either doing TV for one MLS club or another, or in the coaching ranks.

    • docstraw - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Seamus Malin is his name. I enjoyed his work as well.

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