Merlo Field

Timbers, Pilots share a common denominator

Harry Merlo not only supported UP's program, he owned the Timbers
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Harry Merlo.

The name is recognized for the University of Portland's prized soccer field (how many fields actually have grass on them anymore?), and as a supporter of sporting events in the 80s by Oregonians family with the state's history.

But, most people don't know of his history with the Portland Timbers - as owner for three seasons through through the lumber company Lousiana Pacific, which he was president of for 22 years.

With the team ready to fold, Merlo came to the rescue in 1980 and provided plenty of cash and optimism - including the franchises indoor team - in rollicking days of the North American Soccer League.

Portland had already established itself as Soccer City, USA, in the stands, and Merlo sought to take advantage of that on the field through signing European players. But, it didn't take and the team finished above .500 in just one of those three seasons. With the team unprofitable at the close of the '82 season, Merlo looked for a buyer but none arrived. The team folded.

The three extra years, though, helped Soccer City, USA, long into the future, though, as many influential figures in the Rose City's soccer history arrived, or remained here from their home bases in Great Britain.

The story of Portland's soccer roots are covered in 

Oregonsports Journal

 

Pilots fall to No. 7 SDSU on reunion Sunday

Portland rallies, only to lose 3-2 as 2002 NCAA champions get together
Oct. 7, 2012

The 23rd-ranked Portland Pilots showed some great spirit after falling behind 2-0 Sunday at Merlo Field, but eventually dropped a 3-2 decision to San Diego State in a non-conference somen's soccer match Sunday.

Amanda Frisbee and Taylor Brooke scored in the first half for Portland to rally from two early goals by the Aztecs, who entered ranked No. 7 in the nation. Frisbee's goal, which came on a penalty kick, was here team-leading seventh of the season.

San Diego State scored the game-winner in the 75th minuteand improved to 12-1-1.

Portland fell to 6-3-2, heading for a road match against West Coast Conference fow Gonzaga Thursday.

At halftime, 16 of the 19 members of the 2002 NCAA Champion team were honored at midfield as the reunited for the first time.

The Pilots play host to No. Brigham Young on Sunday, continuing its 12-game home schedule.

 

Ah, those crummy stats

Mon, 11/15/2010 - 3:20pm
Cliff Pfenning
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As soon as the match reached the shootout, it had the feeling of disappointment, especially with that one, big glaring stat on the scoreboard – shots.

Portland 27, Washington 6.

And they weren’t just shots from Portland, but a lot of really good shots, forcing Washington’s keeper, Jorde Lafontaine-Kussman, to make a number of spectacular saves – 13 in all during the match.

So, Washington entered the shootout with a hot goalkeeper with nothing to lose as the host Pilots were a big favorite playing on their home turf Sunday in the second round of the  NCAA women's soccer playoffs.

Ugh, that scoreboard.

The Huskies were superb throughout the shootout, hitting near the posts on either side for all 11 rounds, missing only once wide to the left. Lafontaine-Kussman stopped one – hit directly in the middle of the goalmouth and got a hand on another to her left. The Pilot seemed to fear going all the way to the post, where any goalkeeper cannot make a save, but they only did that about half the shots.

As the rounds kept moving along, five, then six, then seven, eight, and the Huskies kept hitting just inside the post, the pressure just kept building, with that miss just waiting to happen. Then, in round 11, it did. Season over.

The Pilots have an exceptional group of underclass players, so they’ll be strong again next year, but that’s a season too late for the current group of seniors. They’ll be remembering the pressure of the shootout and that stat on the scoreboard – so many chances that didn’t did get fulfilled. Now they’re program alums.

 

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