Jose Valencia vs Vancouver 2013
1. Adversity, you are owned
They were on the road against a Casacadian rival that hadn’t lost at home in ages. They were struggling to find their game. Their designated player from Argentina couldn’t string together a pass. They fell behind twice. The referee seemed like a twelfth opponent. They went down a man just at the moment when a dramatic comeback would have been in order. The lineup was scrambled with players out of position and an end to the unbeaten run looking eminent. And then, like has been the case on more than one occasion this season, the Portland Timbers overcame the adversity and got a result when a result wasn’t expected. It wasn’t a beautiful performance on Saturday against Vancouver but it was a beautiful result. It was a draw that felt like a victory for the Timbers and a defeat for the Whitecaps. It was another sign that the 2013 Timbers are a tough bunch. Continue reading
Even if the image of one of their club’s players shoving a ball boy is fresh in your mind and even if you have always considered their club a weak link in MLS, you still should feel some sympathy for the Union Ultras. The group that loyally supports Chivas USA, and that has done so through years of misery, woke up this morning with uncertainty about whether or not their club would remain in their city much longer. It is an awful feeling.
It is an unimaginable feeling in our city. Ours is a city that saw 11,000 people show up on a damp Thursday evening in May to watch a pair of women’s teams play. It is unimaginable to think about losing your team in a city that has sold out every seat since joining MLS in 2011. It is hard to imagine when there is a waiting list for season tickets that is larger than the amount of actual season tickets sold in some MLS cities. It is impossible to imagine the uncertainty of your club’s future when you live in Soccer City USA.
Only it isn’t. Continue reading
Our Cup, in the middle of BC
1. Business, you’ve been taken care of
A game plan that didn’t work, a feeble attack, and a loss of fight after falling behind on the road. Thank you, Chivas USA, for reminding us of how the Portland Timbers used to be. No more. In a game in which the Timbers were expected to come away with three points and ahead of a stretch where they don’t play a league game at home for over a month, they took care of business in convincing fashion. If getting draws on the road is part of the game plan, then getting three points at home is also a requirement. Getting three points against a team in free fall that was playing without its top keeper and with an attack that doesn’t attack was a must. Continue reading
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Club Deportivo Chivas USA is playing its ninth year of existence with its eighth manager. Job security? We don’t need no stinking job security. The Goats’ manager of the moment is José Luis Sánchez Solá. You may call him Chelis. A colorful personality who is much beloved in his native Meixco, Chelis has added a bit of interest to a franchise that has played second fiddle to the Galaxy and second fiddle to the parent club in Mexico. Don’t get too attached, however. He’ll probably be fired by the time you finish reading this post. Continue reading
1. Pulling some strings
Boy is it a lot more fun when you have a team that is capable of coming away with a result at any stadium in MLS. It is also fun to have a manager capable of making in-game adjustments. One that really paid off for Caleb Porter against FC Dallas on Wednesday night was moving Darlington Nagbe to the striker spot at around the 60 minute mark. In doing so, Porter moved an off his game Diego Valeri out wide and played Frederic Piquionne in support of Nags. The move seemed to ignite Nagbe, while giving the FCD back line a different look than what they saw when Piquionne was the striker with Valeri in support in the first half. And yet again we saw some contribution from RodWall off the bench, doing the hard work to get himself in position to set Nagbe up. Some might be critical of having Kalif Alhassan in the linuep – he was largely absent most of the match – but it sure is nice having some flexibility with the lineup when you play three games in ten days. Continue reading