The Invasion of Columbus Patch

columbus-invasion

My wife and I bought plane tickets for the the MLS Cup the same night Lucas Melano sealed the deal in Dallas.  When we got to columbus we were blown away by the traveling Timbers Army and the support the 107ist and TA across the country had provided. It was like being at home in Columbus, and the full story is something for another post. This post is about the patch I produced to commemorate the event. It was also used as an informal fundraiser for the 107ist so they could continue to provide truly legendary away day support for the Timbers Army, and indirectly, the Timbers team itself.

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Supporters Culture

This article on Minnesota United FC supporters groups the Dark Clouds, and TNE (True North Elite) uses the Timbers Army as a yardstick, and includes a little behind the scenes video of our home opener tifo creation, filmed while Minnesota was in town for the Simple Invitational.

minnesota As MLS approaches, Minnesota United’s supporters’ culture blossoms
Read It: Twin Cities Pioneer Press

A much needed win

That was fun, entertaining football. Even more so for the W. To say I was excited to see the lineup and formation when I learned of it right before the match is an understatement. To see Adi on the bench and JackMac on point, I knew something was up. Thing is, I hadn’t heard Powell was injured, and when I saw Valentin and Klute together… well, now you had my attention.

There were lots of top notch performances that evening, so I’ll just work my way through the lineup.

Klute and Valentin. Both performed admirably with intelligent play, good crossing, and passing. Maybe this is me just looking too hard, but I’m seeing a similar style of defending in Valentin that I saw in Jorge. I’m looking it as a good omen. Also, very happy to see Valentin do well in light of Powell’s recent play. I’m sorry Powell’s injured, but something needs to get lit under him, and some competition for LB will hopefully do that.

Nat’s had a few rough games it seems, and I’d hoped our CBs would do better to keep a clean sheet for Gleeson and Kwarsey. Unfortunately, Wondo knows how to play for a foul in the box, and Nag got dragged down holding onto Wondo’s shirt. Whoops.

I’m still holding out for Taylor to break through. I have seen some good moments and some sloppy ones.

Gleeson seems a bit larger than Kwarsey, seems on point, and… more apt to punch the ball out? I haven’t seen his play much, but I’ve heard the good things and hope to see some the good thing in the next few weeks.

Take care of yourself Adam!

Not much to say about Chara this match, did his job well. Thank you.

Now Grabavoy. I tried to pay a bit more attention to him since I haven’t really seen him play a lot, and here he is starting. It’s been a few days and I still feel generally positive. I think he could have engaged a bit more, but when he did I saw him breaking up few San Jose attacks, with decent ball movement and getting it to the attack. Let’s just say I’d like to see more of what he has to offer.

Mattocks. Another fast attacker that got the start, was excited to see his play as well. Very quick, aggressive striker it seems we have here. But that knock. Ouch. Get better.

Lucas Melano. Luca. I like that. Luca earned his paycheck this match. If he can keep it up he will get goals. That nudge to Adi for his brace, some folks have called it selfless, which it was. More than that though, it was mature. He could have taken the shot, he had the defender beat but still had to move around the keeper. Adi was to his left, with an easy goal so Melano did the right thing and nudged it to his teammate.

I thought Valeri had a pretty decent game. That is til he lost his shit and got a Red Card. Come on Diego.

JackMac! Oh you! You nearly had a brace! The goal you did put away was great. I keep thinking ‘scrappy’ when I see your play. As much as I liked Maxi when he was playing for us, he didn’t fit in as well with the ‘system’ and I see JackMac’s poaching, sneaky movement in the box a better fit than Maxi’s speedy in and out.

Captain Jack! Quite pleased to see you get some minutes and some solid play under your feet after the let down of the Dallas match. Keep it up!

Adi. Good Lord. Caleb released the Ragnarok when he subbed in Adi. I was watching in North Portland and could feel the hammer drop. This guy, his field movement, ball control, and passing all seem to have improved. Not to mention he’s still getting goals… braces even. Did he get an upgrade when playing for the Nigerian national team? Stabbing in the last goal at the death in the 9th minute of an 8 minute stoppage. How do you like that San Jose? It seemed at the end we were doing everything we could to get a draw and Adi gives us the brace for a 3-1 scoreline.

Am I allowed to literally can’t even?

Nat Borchers, Defender

nat-borchers-defender

As I was watching this video, the title graphics immediately made me think of one of my all time favorite video games. I couldn’t get Williams Defender out of my head. Still better than Stargate in my opinion. Yes, I am probably the only person in the world who finds this amusing. Apparently, you can get a port of Defender on your iPhone, which seems like it would be impossible to play.

I Was A Teenage Timber Jill

When my buddy Tom told me his wife had been a cheerleader for the Portland Timbers, I initially scoffed. I had never heard of the team even having a cheer squad–what soccer team does? I couldn’t find a single reference online to there ever being a squad. Nobody I asked had ever heard of it. I thought it must have been a misunderstanding.

Then he brought in the uniform.

The team indeed did have a cheer squad…for one season. The 1981 Portland Timbers were in their seventh year in the NASL as part of the Northwest Division. To add a bit of pizzazz and entertainment to the match, a group of local young women were recruited to accompany Timber Jim as the Timber Jills dance squad.

When I heard about all of this, I of course had to hear more. So one night last fall, as we were on the eve of clutching our first MLS Cup Championship, Tom and I recorded a conversation with two of the members of the squad, Brenda Becker and Judy Bennett, to hear about this mostly forgotten part of Timbers history.

In addition to their story, there are clips of some old school stickers, programs, and of course…the uniform.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDDqOITE5Ks]

Mistakes

Well, that was difficult to watch. If you haven’t seen these yet, watching them back to back is difficult as well.

Mistakes. That’s a rough birthday present.

On the positive side (I’m trying here). We got to see some of our attacking depth at work. Thanks Mattocks, we know how you love to score goals here, keep it up. Barmby almost got a header in. Alas, JackMac only came close… again.

Biggest take away is that Klute looks like he’s got himself a starting spot.

At least there was this…

A win in March? A loss at home to Dallas? Relieved when Urruti doesn’t score, but happy when Mattocks does? What sort of topsy-turvy world are Timbers fans living in right now? Darren Mattocks gets his first goal as a Timber. Coincidentally, his first MLS career goal came in Portland as a Whitecap.

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Maxi on the other side

I hope we cheer Maxi Urruti in warmups. I hope he doesn’t celebrate if he scores. I wish he was still in Portland, but it seems his play fits better in the FC Dallas lineup. With 3 goals solar, he’s their leading scorer, and he’s just 1 goal shy of our leading scorer, Fanendo Adi.

urruti-ring

Maxi’s championship ring via Instagram. Watch a bunch of Urruti goals after the jump.

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Nagbe is going to be OK

Alright, so the news has made the rounds. The ankle isn’t broken. And we all knew de Jong was a thug anyway, now we’re just waiting to see how the retroactive red and suspension will manifest.

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical to see how the increased handing out of reds would come about, but I can definitely see some benefit now… just wished we’d seen the red in the game.

nagbe-wheelchair
The saddest photo ever of Darlington Nagbe. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea – Goal.com

Anyway…

Let’s talk about the match.

We played better. I kinda called it in my last post, if I may gloat a bit, that we’d see Jewsbury back in the lineup and with the Captain’s armband no less.

Confirmed. Caleb Porter follows ptfzine.com!

Barring Nat’s own goal, I feel the backline played better. Borchers wasn’t getting caught out of position as much, and Taylor is stepping up his game. It was great to finally see Klute and some definitive LB skills at work. Powell was good defensively as well, despite his questionable attacking forays.

Jack and Chara have a great partnership at mid. I don’t even really know what else to say about that. Always feels good when I see those two in that formation.

Of course we had Valeri and Nagbe in our attacking mids, no worries there. That said… what to do about Melano? Now, I’ve got no beef with the guy and I think he played a pretty good game, showing some hustle on offense and defense, almost had a goal. Almost. Jack Barmby has got to be chomping at the bit to get some minutes in, and I think we’re at a point where we might see him get subbed in. I was almost expecting it in the LA match, and it may have happened if it weren’t for the own goal.

Adi aka ‘The Hold Up King’, had a solid outing. I must admit I was pleasantly bemused to see Adi with some midfield dribbles along the pitch as well! Not that I want to see that often, I want to see Nagbe doing that!

Now for tomorrow, good grief, already! I’m guessing we’ll see Grabavoy come in for Darlington, but on the heels of such a recent game, I’m not sure how the rest of the formation will pan out. I don’t think Liam is fit yet, maybe in the lineup though? I can’t imagine any other defensive change barring Liam’s presence. Offensively, we have options, the aforementioned Barmby, Darren Mattocks, JackMac. Asprilla is still injured I believe. I don’t even know what’s going on with BenZ anymore!

Time to check that depth chart boys!

No Pity!

Timber Jim TED Talk Scarf

timberjimted

My sister in-law went to the Portland TED talks on Saturday and received this Timber Jim “spread the Love” TED talk scarf along with everyone else in the audience. Timber Joey was also on hand, and the two them were signing autographs on scarves and copies of Cupbound & Crowned. More pics and video after the jump.

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A Test of Our Mettle, Make or Break, Turning Point, and a host of other cliches

We’ve got three games in seven days against conference opponents that are all doing much better than us right now. Our back line is in a state of flux. We’ve got new guys with no chemistry, and not-so-new guys performing like rookies. In the space of a week we could be in a very deep hole. These next 3 games could determine whether the 2016 Timbers are actually as great as they are in our hearts, or instead, just an ordinary team. LA, Dallas, and San Jose are in places 6, 1 and 9 respectively in the Supporters Shield race compared to our 16th place standing. This will be the week that all the end of the season articles are going to point to. Or maybe I’m just being dramatic. This is going to be tense week for me.

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Jack Jewsbury for LB

And let’s talk about giving him the Captain’s Armband as well. I’m frustrated, so are you, so are the Timbers.

Were’s the dominance we saw at the end of last season? Were’s that deadly offense, the stout backline, our midfield marauders?

It’s mostly there. Mostly.

The personnel losses from our championship team are noticeable. With all due respect to Will Johnson, his absence is less noted than Villafana’s, and maybe even Wallace’s and Pappa’s. Just sayin…

I don’t want to talk about the Orlando match anymore. My opinion:             ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So!

Let’s get a steady hand to marshal our wingers, bolster our defense, and give our attack a chance to put it past the dodgy keeper.

Put in that Ol’ Salty Dog!

ps. i’d be ok with CB too

RCTID!

Buyer Beware of Irish Limes?

irlimes

Why spend $90-$150 on an MLS jersey when you can get one for $20? If spelling and 100% accuracy aren’t a concern, go for it. Someone should  double check the game footage and make sure the so-called Timbers team we fielded against Orlando wasn’t a bunch of imposters in counterfeit jerseys.

– Thanks to Aaron Flynn for the photos

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