1. Not quite as expected
If we played Toronto every week, there might not be any forests left in the Pacific Northwest.
If you were a neutral fan who didn’t watch the game, a 4-0 scoreline would not be a surprise. The Portland Timbers haven’t lost at home since March. Toronto FC has been in a season-long free fall that has lasted for as long as the club has been in existence. A four-goal drubbing would fit the narrative, especially the chapter about Toronto being abysmal. If you watched the match, however, you would know it was a different story. It was a Timbers side that limped into the match, weighed down by injuries and questions against a Toronto team that was game to get a result for much of the evening. It was a game that heading into the final 10 minutes looked like it could have just as easily ended in a draw with the Timbers looking tired and Toronto lurking around the goal. And then those final 10 minutes were played and order was restored to the universe. The floodgates opened, Toronto channeled a franchise-worth of futility, and the only question that remained for the Timbers was whether the chainsaw would cut all the wood cookies in time for the post-match honors. Continue reading
2013 Portland Timbers mantra
It is remarkable how quickly the Portland Timbers have been transformed. We are six games into the 2013 season and what we are seeing on the pitch is so very different than what we have ever seen before. Even with a roster that was blown up and even with a new manager who comes with a new philosophy, the pace of change has been unexpectedly fast.One interesting part of this transformation of club has been the rebirth of the players who are helping to transform. Continue reading
Sunday night was a weird one on the emotions. One minute I was singing the praises of the man who contributed to one of the greatest moments I’ve had as a Timbers fan. The next minute I was joining 20,000 others in calling for his head.
If it had been any of the other San Jose players storming around the pitch throwing elbows and directing ignorant slurs at our captain I would have been angry, but not bitterly disappointed. But it wasn’t Steven Lenhart or Chris Wondolwoski or one of the players whose name I don’t even know. It was Flash. It was Alan Gordon. It was a guy whose name brings a rush of happy juices to my brain nine years removed from his contributing to one of the greatest moments I’ve had as a Timbers fan. Continue reading
Best paired with Rhum.
1. Back from Exile
The last time that Futty Danso started and went the full 90 minutes for the Portland Timbers was on July 21, 2012 when the Timbers lost 5-0 to FC Dallas in a match players some players, including Futty, where accused of quitting. Heading to to Sunday’s match against San Jose it seemed that we’d see Futty traded to parts unknown before we would see him in the starting XI. But with injuries and departures galore at center back, the long-time Timbers servant was in the lineup, paired with Mikael Silvestre. It was the fourth different pairing in the middle this season and ninth since the start of last season. You wouldn’t have known it. The two looked very comfortable playing next to each other with Futty displaying a composure on the ball that he has often lacked throughout his career, including last week in the reserves match where he looked awful. After his dubious debut, Silvestre has developing into a calming influence in the back. On Sunday his presence rubbed off on Futty. Continue reading
1. It’s hard to play well fresh off the plane
Those complimentary airplane cocktails can be a killer.
It don’t know about you, but whenever I travel on an international flight I am a mess for at least a few days afterwards. Between the free booze, listening to screaming children for 10 hours, and the bad sitcoms that are part of the in-flight entertainment, it takes at least 72 hours to recover.
One can hope that the travel, lack of training, and general unfamiliarity with his surroundings will make Mikael Silvestre’s performance on Sunday a one-off nightmare and not the norm. There is a ton of pressure on the Timbers center backs to perform well. Clearly, the most decorated player on the Timbers roster fell far short of that standard in his debut. As they say, time will tell if he is the right guy for the job. Continue reading
Who gets to wear this bad boy in 2013?
I have been of the opinion that one of the biggest gifts that Caleb Porter received from his team’s training sojourn to Tuscon was a hamstring injury to Jack Jewsbury. And no, before you move on, this isn’t another anti-Jack tirade. The gift is that it has made it possible, both politically and practically, for Porter to take a look at some combinations in the midfield that wouldn’t be possible with Jewsbury consuming preseason minutes on the field. It made it possible for him to acquire Ben Zemanski, a player he highly values.
It also has made it possible for the manager to put out a lineup that doesn’t include Jewsbury for the foreseeable future without much controversy. Captain Jack has to work his way back from injury, just like anyone else would. Porter can see how things are going once Jewsbury is fit to make the decision about whether or not he plays. At that time he might be eager for Jewsbury’s skills to be back on the pitch or he might be reluctant to play him because he doesn’t want disrupt team chemistry (or some such thing). Continue reading