Rodney Wallace moves again

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MLSsoccer.com still keeping tabs on Rodney Wallace. Looks like he’s left Portugal for Brazilian top league club Sport Recife. I went to the web site and was a little confused at first, there was a guy playing basketball on the front page. Turns out is an actual sports club with several teams. According to Wikipedia: “In addition to professional football, the club also participates in women’s football and Olympic sports, such as rowing, swimming, hockey, basketball, futsal, volleyball, table tennis, taekwondo, judo and athletics.”

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The shoe does not fit

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2015 Adidas Timbers version of their Crazy 8 shoes spotted at the outlet store in Troutdale. I’m a Vans man myself. I don’t play basketball, and you can’t really skate (well) in clunky high tops like this. These were available for about $60 if I remember correctly. Other versions of Crazy 8 can be bought anywhere from $40 – $130, so I’m not sure if this is a good deal. The only thing I’m sure of is that I can’t wear these. There are a lot of things I’ll do for my club, but this is not one of them.  If they ditched the wavy plastic fake wood stuff on the side and the bubbly sole it would make a pretty cool wrestling style shoe, and then we could talk. They did not have the Sounders version available at this location.

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Class Ring

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Not long after the it was announced that you could bid on a Timbers MLS Champions Ring to benefit the Timbers Stand Together charity, the 107ist launched a campaign to raise money to buy the ring and hold it in the fan’s trust. It was a pretty great idea actually. You average fan wouldn’t get much of a chance to see a championship ring, assuming Timber Jim eventually stops wearing his ring to home matches. The theory was that it would be available for public viewing at Fanladen at some point, on a recurring basis. It turns out Merritt Paulson had intended to give one to the 107ist as a surprise, so he had to come clean. 107ist replaces the name that would appear on a team member’s ring. I think our owner definitely has a lot of class, no matter how much crass he has.

[ Source: Oregonian. ] – Deleted Tweet photo: Nutmeg News

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Some belated RSL thoughts

Hey, so it’s a bye week, and here are some delayed thoughts on last week’s match to tide you over until next week.

Oh RSL… what happened? I used to like you guys, and now you’re just playing like loser thugs. Two reds… come on.

Anyway, that coherent crystalline analysis that you, dear reader, have become so accustomed to in my literary meanderings has become muddled with the passage time.

I’m sure you’ll make do.

I’d like to start with Jermaine Taylor who showed up to play. His performance was noted by not only me, but by Adi as well as he passed a log slab to his teammate to loft at the end of the match. Definitely enjoyed his improved play and glad to see our depth starting to show.

As others have mentioned in various blogs relating to soccer, the Timbers, MLS, et al… Alas Powell showed up to play. Our right back let loose some rockets at the net only to see them enter orbit and never been seen again. Once he got that foot under control he seemed to get some crosses down and his hustle and speed (good lord that speed) was noticeable as he moved up and down the right flank.

Still hopeful for our attacking wingers. Come on boys.

Thought Valeri and Nagbe were decent that eve though my memory is a bit soft. Thank goodness Darlington is OK, but that was not fun to watch him try to hurry off the pitch. No sir, I did not care for that.

Chara was a bit thuggish, definitely getting under Amarikwa’s skin. 50/50 here, I like that he enforces the mid so well, just a bit too much that night.

Borchers got beat, it happens. I’ll chalk that up to an unfortunate alignment of the stars, only to happen once every other millennium.

I don’t think Valentin is ready for prime time quite yet, good at depth. Would still really, and very much so, along with you, the TA, and my kitchen sink like to see Klute in the line up.

And Liam!

RCTID!

Timber Jim Cover Story on Street Roots

Timber Jim has the cover story on Street Roots. You can read the article online if you don’t end up buying a copy. I did not know Jim was scheduled to give a TED Talk in April. I passed Mr. Serrill paused in the aisle at the RSL match. He was sporting a Championship ring and a woman was kissing his hand like he was the Pope. I wanted to snap a picture, but the moment was over before I could get my phone out of my pocket.  

UPDATE: Added pics of the newspaper.

timberjimstreetroots ‘Spread the love’: The ethos of Timber Jim
Read it: Street Roots

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Points for Consistnecy

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This international break is cramping my style. Here’s the evolution of the Timbers logo. You’re looking at a partial enlargement of a graphic that encompasses the entirety of MLS that was posted on reddit. Even though it’s only a couple month’s old, it doesn’t reflect the Timbers newest logo. Pay no attention to that 2001 fiasco. I’m glad someone made the right decision circa 2005.

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The Stats Are In.

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ESPN FC conducted an anonymous poll of 123 current MLS players and asked them an assortment of interesting questions about the players, coaches, and the league. As expected, Portland fared well. Of course I expected it, but then again I do perceive most aspects of our team through Rose City colored glasses. It’s nice to see validation from independent sources. There are some intriguing responses in the anonymous poll, but unfortunately ESPN FC does not post the complete results, just the highlights. More annoying, the results are split into two different posts. Actually, they split it all over the place. Good luck tracking them all down. After listing to the first couple of commercial pre-rolls, I got fed up and quit.

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Timber Joey Theft Saga Ends Well

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It all happened so fast I didn’t find out about it until it was already done. Here’s the short version: Someone busted into Timber Joey’s car on Saturday night and stole his match day gear. He posted on Facebook about it, and the story got shared, eventually making it to the eyeballs of a KATU News crew who happened to spot a shifty looking guy wearing the entire collection while lounging on Burnside street. The person of interest said he found it in a bag, and promptly coughed it up to the news crew who returned it to Joey. Notice I didn’t call Timber Joey a “mascot.” That’s because I don’t think of him as a mascot, but instead a standard bearer. He’s the guy who carries our flag into battle. He’s not a mascot. Mascots are animals or guys in furry costumes.

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Buy your own Championship Ring

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No, Liam Ridgwell isn’t selling his ring to pay for hamstring surgery. Is that even a thing? The Portland Timbers are auctioning off a single MLS Cup championship ring, fancy box included. Proceeds go towards their Stand Together outreach. You can also bid on a signed photo of the MLS Cup on-field celebration, and a chance to watch an undetermined match in Merritt’s personal suite. Mr Paulson made sure to note that Cascade and playoff matches are off the table, so that means we’re in agin for sure. Same as it ever was!

 

 

Soccer Made In Portland Predictions

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There can be no doubt now. I am a huge nerd. I love listening to Soccer Made In Portland so much that I am keeping a running total of the random points Chris Rifer awards each week based on the previous week’s predictions. Of course, it started as a simple running points total, but ended up being a little more comprehensive. However, I did trim it back a little as I was on the verge of including a time marker for the predictions and awarding of points. Now you can check out the only meaningful soccer stats you need to know. Once this post is gone from the front page, you can find the link on the sidebar. Again, please don’t let my wife know I how I spent my Thursday morning.

One Ring to Rule them All

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Championship rings. I’ve never seen one for the MLS, but I assumed they would be a littler more understated than NFL and NBA rings, but maybe not considering the perceived MLS inferiority complex. Still, if you’re going to wear a big ole fancy ring with precious stones, you could do worse. The box with the axe on the ring as a “T” is executed well, and the nod to Cascadia on the side of the ring is just… excellent. I hope they paid for extra insurance on that FedEx overnight package to Rodney Wallace in Portugal.

[Source: Timbers.com] – Photos by Craig Mitchelldyer

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That first loss.

So a little late this week, but it was hard to muster up the commentary after a hard fought loss.

This match reminded me of our struggles early last season. We’re there, we’re a good team, we can put the ball on target. We just got to get it past the keeper, and between the goal posts. I know, it seems like a daunting task at times, but it can be done.

IF.

The Timbers are playing well together, and it seemed a bit off against the Quakes. OK, so yeah, Amarikwa’s goal was a stunner and Wondo’s strike… well he does play on the USMNT from time to time.

All right, so let’s break down the Timbers here.

I saw Adi playing hold up, but it seems our mids had trouble getting the ball to him. Valeri and Nagbe had a few good touches, but lacked in comparison to our previous match against the Crew.

Melano and Asprilla. These guys, they’re great. I love the speed and attack they bring. If it hadn’t been for their multiple ‘almost’ attempts I’d be hard pressed to critique. That said… let’s get a little more finesse on shots, and ball movement in general.

Chara. Well he came up to help the attack and did his best to keep Amarikwa in check. Seems like he had the most solid game out of our 11.

Obviously there are still some concerns about the back line, particularly that left side. Definitely want to get that locked down. And let’s get Liam fit as well (good grief).

Quite pleased with Jack McInernery’s strike. A lovely poach, glad to see him put it in the back of the net early in the season.

Can’t say I saw much from Grabavoy, but I can’t really chalk up anything negative or positive at this point.

So looking forward, we’ve got Darren Mattocks and Jack Barmby (3 Jacks!) coming aboard. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with some depth on offense and new attacking options.

I think things are going to gel, it’s early in the season and I’ll take the 2-1 loss on the road at this point. Onward!

Confirmed: Darren Mattocks is coming to Portland

This one surprised a lot of people. It’s not the first time (or year) we’ve heard about the possibility of Mattocks coming to Portland, but now it’s a reality instead of a rumor.

dm-to-ptfc Portland Timbers acquire attacker Darren Mattocks from Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Read it here: Timbers.com

San Jose Career Opportunities

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I’m pretty sure we can take these guys, even on the road. Their one goal victory over Colorado at home is not exactly intimidating. Not much left to say except I hope you enjoy this screen capture I made of the San Jose Clash website back in 1997. You see, I was interested in buying a San Jose Clash jersey solely because I loved (the band) the Clash. Yes, I am aware that the San Jose Clash are in fact the Houston Dynamos, but this is what I’ve got to work with. At the time I had ZERO interest in soccer. The jerseys were pretty hideous and expensive, so I did not make a purchase.  Check out the Netscape Navigator and Mac OS 8 eye candy! I was probably running a Power Computing Mac clone when I made this screen cap. I unintentionally held onto it for 19 years as it was transferred from new computer to new computer over and over again. I do recall the reason I kept it was because I though the “Clash Jobs” and “Clash Executives” link were funny.  I found it again recently while trying to purge some old files from my current hard drive.

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Caleb Porter on Men in Blazers

men-in-blazers-caleb-porter

Caleb Porter’s most serious challenge to date might have been dealing with random silliness associated with being interviewed on Men in Blazers, but he did in fact loosen up a bit. The interview took place last week, before opening day. I don’t know why Timbers social media didn’t promote this better. There’s a marker on the podcast for Caleb’s appearance, but the introduction starts a tiny bit earlier. There’s a couple other no-name guys on show, but Roger saved the best for last.  Frank Lampard and Jordan Morris? Never heard of ’em.

 

Well. That was exciting.

How about that for a season opener?

The crew brought their game, but the Timbers held strong. I have to say my strongest complaint is still the sting from missing Jorge in LB. To Taylor’s credit we got the W, but my jury it still out for him. I’d have really liked to have seen Klute in this match. Let’s hope he gets sorted soon.

Onto our RB, Mr. Powell… he started showing some flashes of brilliance in the 2nd half to match his speed. Here’s to hoping that those preseason matches shook all those cobwebs loose.

Very glad to see Liam back working with Nat. They gave us a number of blocks. Thanks gents. And on that note, just for grins… I almost wished we could have moved Liam to LB, but with Big Pappa gone and no CB depth /shrug

Chara. King of the midfield. Picking pockets and roaming like a boss. What else can I say?

Now onto our attacking squad. Let’s start with Valeri and Nagbe. Ball movement anyone? I think these two can get the ball wherever they want. Nagbe on the dribble just smokin’, Valeri serving it up wherever he likes, for example, a free kick for goal. Nice.

Asprilla and Melano. I’ve got high hopes for these two this year, great attacking speed. Melano had a few nice breaks that almost could have come together. Sort of reminded me of his trials when he joined the Timbers last season, but I’m noticing a bit more confidence in his play and I hope that he’s settled and the goals will come. Asprilla had a few chances as well, I would have like to have seen him convert on at least one of those. Let’s get another goalazo Dairon! Despite their offensive prowess, we’re going to have see these two up their defending a tad as well as the season continues. I’m confident they’ll step up.

Adi, played well this eve, though that yellow was bit much. That said, his hold up play is on the point, and I’ve got to say his passing game and field awareness appear to have improved. With Nagbe and Valeri behind him, and Asprilla and Melano on the wings, I think we’ve got a solid first string offense this year.

Captain Jack came on late in the game for Valeri, liked that, good call Porter. It does remind me, however, of our lack of depth. But I guess we’re still building on that. From the preseason games, I don’t think Jack Mac and Grabavoy have the communication down… something to work on I suppose. And it appears Neco Brett and Valentin were on the bench as well. Time will tell with these new additions to the squad. And let’s not forget BenZ and Gleeson providing us some true first team depth on the pine.

Anyway, here’s to a good start to a new season!

PTFC!

True Story

True Story: I’m waiting in line to board a flight from Portland to Atlanta on Wednesday. The guy behind me looks at my Timbers sweatshirt and says “What is that, a soccer team or something?” I replied “Yes, but not just any team, we’re the 2015 champions! I take it you’re not from Portland?” Him: “No, I’m not. I’m from Columbus, Ohio. I guess I need to start following soccer.”  Me: “Yeah you do, because Columbus is who we beat in the championship, and we’re playing them again in the season opener this weekend!”

Watch this episode of MLS Insider where the Portland Timbers write MLS Cup History. It’s a good one.

1 Championship: 3 Beers

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Considering Widmer Brothers partnership as the official beer of the Portland Timbers, you’d expect them to brew up a beer or two in celebration of their MLS Cup victory, and they  have. There’s First Star red rye and Thrill of Victory dark Cascadian ale. Both of these are available on tap only, which is a bit lazy if you ask me, but don’t ask me because I’m still mad they stopped brewing Green And Gold Kolsch. First Star was made with input from the coaching staff. Then there’s the Hopworks project Captain Jack’s Lucky 13 Championship IPA, made with very direct input from Jack Jewsbury. Corporate beer sponsor notwithstanding, Jack mentioned his affinity for Hopworks on social media, and they reached out to him for a collaboration. They started this before the cup, so it would have come out regardless of a win or loss, although they might  have had to change the name. The old salty dog will be a Hopworks in person  for the unveiling after the opening match. Looks from the looks of the photo, you should be able to buy Jack’s beer in bottle as well as on tap.   Of course you can still get the Caleb Porter, porter. There’s no news yet of the beer that Columbus Brewing will have to brew in honor of losing their bet.

[Left Photo: Thomas Bleigh]

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Double Dissed


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Have you seen the Guardian’s list of top contenders for the 2016 season? The Timbers aren’t on the list, yet somehow Seattle is, and 3 of the remaining 7 teams are the same ones we knocked out of the MLS Cup race last year.

Then there’s MLSsoccer.com’s Supporters Group Guides. They are supposed to be tongue in cheek summaries written in the style of a bird watcher’s book. In the case of the Timbers Army, it offers an uninformed viewpoint at best. It’s a fluff piece, pure filler, and that might have been excusable were it not for the caricature the chose to represent the TA. Nothing against illustrator Elliot Gerard, he probably accepted some random freelance assignment and had no frame of reference other than NFL fans with scarves. MLS makes some goofy marketing/media choices, and this is a prime example of being out of touch with their own fan base. MLS teams as 90210 characters is so much better.  On the topic of MLS media, please, don’t get me started on Rachel Bonneta’s replacement. She’s like an actual soccer mom trying to sound like a teenager. Rachel definitely had some ultra corny moments, but Arielle Castillo is the worst.