When Diego Valeri scored twice for the Portland Timbers on Sunday, he certainly did his part to beat his team’s most-hated rivals, the Seattle Sounders. But with a paintbrush in hand, he actually helped one-up the Sounders before the match even started.
The team’s fan group, known as The Timbers Army, planned a special tifo display for Sunday’s rivalry match and wanted to give it an extra touch of something special, they wrote in a blog after the unveiling. A few phone calls later, Valeri was there at the Timbers Army garage with his daughter to help paint the star on the tifo that represents the Timbers’ MLS Cup win.
Take a look at his handiwork:
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The Timbers Army goes to great lengths to keep their tifo displays a secret until the moment of unveiling. They even have to do their practice runs with the tifo banners facing inward so that people in buildings near the stadium can’t see what they look like and spoil the surprise. So, when Valeri asked what the rest of the tifo looked like, the Timbers Army politely told him that they can’t show him. Valeri, the tifo-makers say, responded with a knowing smile and nod.
We can’t say for sure whether the tifo helped Valeri and the Timbers, but Valeri did score twice en route to a 3-1 win over Seattle. Just sayin’.
So then, what does the tifo mean? The rivalry that Portland has with Seattle is a long and heated one and clever, snarky tifos have made up many of its best moments over the years. So the Timbers Army was actually responding to a tifo that Sounders supporters revealed three years ago when the rivals met in the 2013 playoffs:
The Sounders’ Emerald City Supporters said, "Welcome to your nightmare." Timbers fans now have struck back and said they don’t sleep because, who needs sleep when you’re the reigning MLS Cup champion? We’re pretty sure that Freddy Krueger and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" has nothing to do with the MLS Cup, but the creativity is part of what makes the tifo great.