"Well they're building a gallows outside my cell I've got 25 minutes to go" - Shel Silverstein
It is almost impossible to describe. You just had to be there.
The flags, the tifo, the smell of the park as she filled up on an Autumn night. Seeing friends again, possibly for the last time. Happy faces and the look of everyone committed to row together and try to pull this team into the next round.
Watching the team shift between playing to win and then back into the mode they have been in the 31 games prior to the last 3 where scoring goals is at a premium and the Timbers look more likely to miss their opportunities and cough up the game.
The joy of watching Rodney "bang - bang - the warrior" Wallace rip the side netting and the celebration in the stands.
The desperation with 4 minutes to go, screaming as the boys in green relentlessly turn the ball over.
The crowd just slowly deflating with 3 minutes to go after the Kevin Ellis header to tie the game. Eerie silence covering the North End and pockets of people screaming out "ROSE CITY TIL I DIE."
It's all Kansas City now and the Timbers just look like they want to get to the beginning of extra time.
Alternate groups of men and women standing with exasperated looks, people screaming at Ridgewell for missing his assignment, people screaming at others to get louder, people just screaming to scream because of the frustration of it all.
Trying to regroup for extra time, trying to find that little extra spark left in you for 30 more minutes of soccer.
Then that goal, that beautiful Nemeth goal into the side netting and the North End has its heart ripped out. There's no other way to describe the situation. From winning with 3 minutes left in the game to now losing in extra time. This is Kali-Ma Time. Nemeth has performed the ceremony.
"Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die got 19 minutes to go
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye got 18 minutes to go" - Shel Silverstein
Kansas City now falling down all over the field, fouling, dragging every minute off the clock they possibly can. The Timbers bailing them out repeatedly with bad giveaways
It begins to feel inevitable now, with Kansas City being the kind of team that just will run the clock out and drag you into a game of attrition. Frustration shows, Timbers players are starting to act out. Fans are starting to act out. It feels like the end of the season. We have felt this before in the north end and this game feels like the slow dragging death.
"With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose got 5 more minutes to go
Won't somebody come and cut me loose with 4 more minutes to go" - Shel Silverstein
At the half, Urruti steps on with neon boots and the inability to really deliver scoring goals for the entire 2015 season hanging over his head.
They never had it, never had a chance but a fools chance in extra time.
"I can see the mountains I can see the skies with 3 more minutes to go
And it's too damn pretty for a man that don't wanna die 2 more minutes to go" - Shel Silverstein
Two Minutes Left In The Game
Two Minutes Left In The Season
Asprilla sends in a ball.
Urruti sends the ball into the goal
I'm lifting my wife in the air. Hugging three people. Others joining in from behind, I get pulled into the seats by an arm around my neck. Paul and Steve and some of the Row N people are all just losing it in a massive multi-person bear hug. Everyone is just losing their mind and dancing and the Sunshine flag goes up. The atmosphere underneath the flag is chaotic, people everywhere pogo hugging and smashing over flags and seats and beer is flying and the noise is just ungodly.
And then, It's penalty kicks.
They are at our end, and the noose HAS been around our neck most of the second half of the game into extra time and it is just too much.
Nathan says he might puke from the stress.
People are watching behind their hands.
Timbers are praying on the field
Fans are praying in the stands
Valeri - Saved
Feilhaber - Goal
Borchers - Goal
Dwyer - Saved
This is the best thing you have ever seen. This is the worst thing you have ever seen. This is a car crash that you can't take your eyes off from watching.
Ridgewell - Goal
Zusi - Goal
Jewsbury - Miss
Besler - Miss
Urruti - Goal
Nagamura - Goal
And we are out of the round of 5. We are into the land of sudden death. Every kick means the world. The end or continuation of your season.
And Villafana, so solid and so underrated, steps up.
Villafana - SAVED
Suddenly it could all end here.
Ellis - MISS
He misses. HE MISSES. OFF THE POST. The whole north end screams in glee and people now look forward to a rebirth, another chance.
Asprilla - Goal
Mustivar - Goal
Nagbe - Goal
Peterson - Goal
And then he steps up, Alvas Powell and I knew he was going to miss. This is how he plays. He was always going to chip. Nathan can't watch. Lindsay peers out behind her hands. "He's going to miss" is said 50 times in front of me.
Powell - Saved
and suddenly we are one kick away from death, and the atmosphere is one of exquisite tension. Everything is about to end and everything is about to happen. We back our keeper, We scream for Kwarasey. We scream for PTFC.
Abdul-Salaam - Miss
This isn't a miss, this is a goddamn miracle.
Both posts, right, left, and then out and there is pandemonium and disbelief, people standing on seats, screams of glee. everyone cannot process what just happened. People turn around looking at friends and strangers alike with raised hands and a look on their face of befuddled amusement.
Fochive - Goal
Dia - Goal
It comes down to the keepers.
Adam Larsen Kwarasey - Norway by way of Ghana
Jon Kempin - 22 years old from Leawood, Kansas.
It never comes down to the keepers.
Kempin tries some gamesmanship on Kwarasey walking off his line early and is motioned back by the referee.
Kwarasey - Goal
Then it is Jon Kempin's turn and the north end bellows for Kwarasey. We are simultaneously screaming and holding our breath. There is a fringe element here, a danger of complete lunacy.
Kempin - Saved
I'm in the air, I'm in the air because I'm being lifted off the ground. I'm 6'4 and 200 pounds and Nathan has lifted me off the ground as people are grabbing my shoulders and we fall into my wife who is pogoing with her friend Sierra and people are literally falling on the ground and into each other into giant piles of celebration. Smoke is going off, and now I'm reaching over two rows and then getting pulled back behind me as people are pulling everyone, anyone into their celebrations with which to celebrate. It's absolute mayhem as everyone wants to hug everyone, jump, sing celebrate, and go absolutely bananas.
The noise is so loud that it ceases to be a noise anymore and just flows into an incredibly loud piercing cacophony of everything. If I started this game at 100% hearing, I might be 99% for the rest of my life. You cant speak, can't hear, can't do anything but grab the person closest to you and just hold on to them for dear life, and we are celebrating under the sunshine flag and beer is in the air, and confetti and the flags are going back up and smoke comes out of the capo stands, and it's just too much. People are weeping in the stands in the sheer stunning reality of the whole situation and people everywhere are standing on seats and yelling. These are not even words, they are just yelling anything, something, everything.
The look on the face of every single person in the north end is that of just complete amazement. You can feel that you witnessed something, you truly witnessed something that people just don't get to see. You witnessed that thing and you shared it with your friends and your friends that are family. And that is what this sport can be, your church, your family, your friends, your home, even when it devolves during stupid mid week games against Toronto to Mean Girls where everyone is picking on everyone else, and there are too many drunk people. The lifeblood of going to the stadium is dramatically renewed and refreshed with these amazing shared moments.
And I'm at home, trying to sleep with my head on my pillow and I'm still hearing the rush, the noise, the crush of sound still dancing around my ear drums like a slowly receding ocean wave.
" And....Well they're building a gallows outside my cell I've got 180 more minutes to go"