Four years ago, the word “tifo” wasn’t a part of the lexicon in Major League Soccer. Thanks in part to Seattle and Portland, however, supporters’ huge, choreographed displays are becoming more comment, getting more recognition, and are even starting to become a greater presence at U.S. Men’s National Team matches. The Pacific Northwest didn’t invent tifo, but it seems to have raised the art’s profile within Major League Soccer.
The part we don’t see: The effort behind the product. When you see a huge display cover an entire flank of a soccer stadium, you instinctively know it took a lot of work. But until you see just how much time, effort, imagination, coordination and material goes into the task, it’s hard to have a true appreciation for what goes into a display.
Having never created one, I probably I have little idea the dedication that’s needed. What little I know confirms what we see as they’re rolled out. Regardless of the message, each display that manages to cover the north end at JELD-WEN or south stands at CenturyLink is an achievement – the culmination of a daunting effort fans give in support of their club.
Now, thanks to a new short film from MLSSoccer.com, fans across the country can get a better idea of the effort behind the displays, though “Tifo: Inside the Timbers Army” isn’t solely about the art. Near 15 minutes in length, the film gives fans unfamiliar with the area some idea about Cascadia’s broader MLS culture.
But “Tifo” (embedded, above) isn’t the only recent MLS-related film out of the Pacific Northwest. Last month Levy Films aired their Sounders documentary to a sold-out theater of Seattle soccer fans (here’s a taste).
Just as they challenge each other on the field and in the stands, Cascadia’s siblings have found a way to rival each other in film – much to our viewing pleasure.
Leicester City and Southampton finished scoreless at the King Power Stadium on Thursday, as the latter failed to pick up three critical points in a heated Premier League relegation race.
The best opportunity on the day likely came in the second half when Marc Albrighton‘s brilliant volley was deflected over the crossbar by Saints keeper Alex McCarthy.
[ MORE: Chelsea tops Burnley with Moses’ second-half strike ]
Southampton boasted many of its regulars as they prepare to stave off being dropped down to the Championship next season, although Mark Hughes‘ side features in a big FA Cup semifinals clash over the weekend against Chelsea.
Chances were at a minimum in the opening stanza, with Leicester the more dominant of the two sides in attack, although it didn’t amount to much on their various counterattacking opportunities.
Kelechi Iheanacho threatened early on for the Foxes, coming close in the 15th minute with a strike that narrowly missed the far corner. This came briefly after he followed up on his own blocked attempt moments prior.
The Saints now sit four points behind 17th place Swansea City, while Leicester remains in eighth place — trailing Arsenal and the top six by 10 points.
With four matches remaining in the Premier League season, Antonio Conte‘s side has everything to play for in the final weeks of the campaign.
[ MORE: Leicester, Southampton finish scoreless at King Power Stadium ]
Chelsea picked up a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Burnley on Thursday afternoon at the Turf Moor behind Victor Moses‘ second-half finish.
Moses was active throughout the match for Chelsea, playing a hand in both goals.
Ashley Barnes pulled a goal back for the Clarets in the 64th minute, but it wasn’t enough for the seventh place side to steal points off the Blues for the second time in 2017/18.
Alvaro Morata’s struggles continued on the day, as the Spanish international had a quality breakaway chance to seal the game early in the second half, but put his right-footed attempt wide of the goal.
The Blues went in front in the 20th minute after Burnley defender Kevin Long put the ball into his own net off of a dangerous cross from Victor Moses on the righthand side of the box.
Olivier Giroud made heavy claims for a penalty in the eighth minute, when the striker went to ground after having been contacted by Long.
The Frenchman started the match paired with Alvaro Morata up front as Antonio Conte looked to rest Eden Hazard and Willian ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Southampton.
The victory for the Blues puts Conte and Co. within five points of Spurs with four matches remaining in the PL campaign. Tottenham currently occupies the fourth Champions League position in England’s top flight.
Paul Pogba‘s time at Manchester United could be nearing an abrupt end for the second time in his professional career.
And now, a club that was previously tracking the France international appears to be expressing heavy interest in the midfielder once again.
[ MORE: The latest Premier League player power rankings ]
ESPN FC is reporting that Paris Saint-Germain and Mino Raiola — Pogba’s agent — have been in contact recently over a potential move to the French capital at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.
The report suggests that Raiola has been in talks with several other big clubs in regards to the availability of Pogba in the near future, however, a move to his native country could sweeten the deal for the 25-year-old.
The Frenchman has scored 10 league goals for the Red Devils since he re-joined the side in 2016/17 from Juventus.
Pogba has had an up-and-down relationship at Old Trafford with manager Jose Mourinho, which nearly caused a move for the attacker during the January transfer window.
Cross-town rivals Manchester City were heavily linked to Pogba at the time, however, nothing came to fruition as the Citizens went on to claim the Premier League title with several matches remaining on their calendar.
While PSG seems like a logical fit given the club’s free-flowing attack and recent willingness to acquire massive talents, including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the Ligue 1 giants may not be able to financially support another big-time addition like Pogba.
UEFA’s Financial Fair Play laws have been tested by PSG, particularly during last summer’s transfer window when the club acquire both Neymar and Mbappe for over $400 million combined.
PSG is set to meet with UEFA on Friday though, which could give an indication one way or another as to how the front office can approach its spending habits in the months to come.
Two big Premier League games are coming your way on Thursday as Burnley host Chelsea at Turf Moor, while Leicester welcome Southampton to the King Power Stadium.
WATCH BURNLEY-CHELSEA LIVE
Burnley are aiming to win six-straight games in the Premier League as reigning champs Chelsea head to Lancashire hoping to cut the gap on the top four to just five points.
In team news from Turf Moor, Burnley start Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes up top together as Sean Dyche looks to get at the visitors early with plenty of balls into the box. Chelsea rest Eden Hazard and Willian ahead of the FA Cup semifinal and start Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata up top together.
WATCH LEICESTER-SAINTS LIVE
As for Leicester against Saints the Foxes’ hopes of European action are all but over after a poor run of form, while Southampton are battling for their lives in the relegation zone but a win would move Saints to just two points from safety with four games to play.
The teams news from Leicester is that Kasper Schmeichel is out injured in goal, while Claude Puel has picked an attacking lineup with Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho up top and the Mahrez, Gray and Albrighton all starting.
Saints are unchanged from the team which started so well against Chelsea before collapsing to lose last time out.
Click on the links above to watch the games, which both kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET.