Portland, OR - Major League Soccer officials are reportedly taking a long hard look at the Portland Thorns during the recent announcement of new and upcoming league expansion.
MLS officials met last week in San Jose during the league’s All-Star Game to discuss possible expansion among other agenda items. Portland Thorns President and General Manager Gavin Wilkinson, along with Owner Merritt Paulson, traveled Wednesday to San Jose for the United Soccer League’s Thursday board of governors meeting and while there attended the MLS’ Homegrown Game, All-Star Game and other social events. The meetings and events provided the ideal opportunity for Portland Thorns officials to share what has been one of the more remarkable sports stories of the year.
Portland Thorns rookie campaign obliterated the expectations of many people in just about every way imaginable. Before the 2013 season, team officials had hoped to draw an average of 10,000 fans per home game. Now, after four seasons, the Portland Thorns are averaging about 16,772 per home game, Wilkinson said. The Thorns already broke the single-season attendance record in their current league. The team is currently in first place in the NWSL standings and recently won a rivalry game against the Seattle Reign while missing many of their stars due to Olympic duty. Wilkinson said the team is eyeing the playoffs with aspirations of bringing another championship to Portland in its fourth season.
The Nutmeg News spoke to insiders with Major League Soccer who stated that they are excited about adding another 19,000 fans to the league as well as the possible rivalry that would develop with the other Cascadian clubs in the league with the Timbers, Whitecaps and Sounders.
"We can neither confirm, nor deny that we are in the Thorns business," stated President of Major League Soccer Mark Abbot.
The Nutmeg News will have more on this story as Major League Soccer picks a half empty stadium in Miami.