The Portland Timbers played against a team of eight-year-olds on Wednesday and lost 10-9. The match, played in one end of the Timbers' JELD-WEN Field, was organized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation on behalf of Atticus Lane-Dupre, who scored four goals in the match, including the winner. Atticus learned he had cancer last fall when he started to feel pain while playing the game he loves.
Atticus' team, the Green Machine, played against Timbers players like Darlington Nagbe, Will Johnson, Jack Jewsbury and Mikael Silvestre. Atticus had his own locker in the Timbers' dressing room and to make the day even more special, 3,000 Timbers fans showed up to cheer him on and create the fantastic atmosphere that Timbers matches are known for. Songs were sung, flags were waved and green smoke rose from the stands. Here's a view from the seats...
Before the match, the Timbers players were excited to take part, but wary of their opponents. From the club's official website:
“As a kid you dream of these moments,” said Nagbe. “It's always a good feeling when someone's dreams come true, and I'm excited to be a part of Atticus' big game with The Green Machine.”
Silvestre echoed Nagbe’s sentiments.
“Everybody should have a dream,” he said, “And the fact that Atticus is able to realize his means a lot to me.”
The Timbers, however, are not taking The Green Machine lightly. The team knows they are in for a tough match.
“[I’m] wearing multiple pairs of shin guards,” said Jewsbury, “I have heard The Green Machine tackle extremely hard.”
Overall it was a wonderful day created by a club that has fast become one of MLS's most admirable.
UPDATE: Atticus was named Man of the Match for his four-goal performance and after the game, he again showed how awesome he is with his answers to a couple of questions.
On why he chose to play the Timbers for his wish, and be able to include his teammates:
“Because usually kids just choose to go to Disneyland with their family or getting something and I chose something that lots of people could do.”
On which of his four goals was his favorite:
“The one where I nutmegged Will Johnson.”
Will Johnson, by the way, is Atticus' favorite player.