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

beer

 

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


mls-ta

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.

Everyone loves the new kit.

bad-columbus-jersey

The crew is taking it pretty hard on the chin after losing the MLS Cup and as some would suggest, also losing the bet that allowed a grade school kid in Portland to design the Crew’s new kit. I’m not a fan of our new kit either, but our primary kit really grew on me over the course of last season. I almost bought one, which is incredible considering my initial reaction was “junior college fashion design project.” The Crew has a pretty good sense of humor about it. They produced a video showing various Crew members reading and reacting to mean tweets. The Oregonian got into it too, highlighting some Timbers fan kit commentary.

Yes, I chose that unflattering screen capture of Justin Meram on purpose. Yes, there is a Bob Ross video after the jump.

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Starting at the Top

nes-ces

The Portland Timbers are at the top of ESPN FC’s power rankings at the start of the 2016 season. It’s strange being the favorite. ESPN FC pretty much picked Portland to lose at every turn during the playoffs last year. After last Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Fire I’m not looking that far ahead yet. Hopefully we can end our no-wins-in-march streak. To hear Caleb Porter’s thoughts on the subject, skip ahead to the 1:10 minute mark in the video after the jump.

[Image Source: Diskin’s Timbers Propaganda]

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Idea for a 2 Stick

Columbus Crew Sour Brew

I had planned on making this a 2-stick for opening day until I realized that I was going to be unable to attend opening day. This was a quick mockup. Yes, it’s a reference to Crew fans throwing beer cans at Rodney Wallace after his goal in the MLS Cup. Yes, it has lost some of it’s appeal now that Rodney is no longer with us. It still would have been a good one.  Please feel free to appropriate it if you want. I’ll be watching on ESPN.

Say Hi to Savannah

savannah

Remember the Columbus Crew supporter that flipped Mr Garber the bird while he was talking about the great atmosphere the Nordecke provided for the MLS Cup? Her name is Savannah, and it turns out she didn’t want to be the sad fan poster girl on TV.  Someone came up with the brilliant idea to take up a collection and bring her to Portland for the opening day rematch, and it only took about an hour to reach the $1,500 goal. With Merrit reportedly kicking in a couple tickets, and her tweets that she’s on board and stoked, it definitely looks like she’ll be joining us. Because every good deed deserves punishment (and we love drama,) there are those upset that money was raised for a seemingly frivolous purpose when those funds could have been used in so many ways that would benefit more needy causes. That’s a valid point, but sometimes you just have to be… LEGENDARY.   More archival tweets and video after the jump.

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Schedule Wallpaper

timbers-schedule-wallpaper

Last year I was annoyed that there was no iCal download available of the the Timbers Schedule, so I made my own, but I had no place to share it. This year I’m annoyed because they do offer an iCal download of the schedule, but you have to sell your identity  give up an email and a phone number. In the meantime, someone (JohnMLTX) made a nifty, high resolution infographic of the Timbers schedule that serves as desktop wallpaper. If for some reason you’re interested in other teams, they’re also available. When I get around to creating an iCal version of the Timbers schedule I’ll post a link to download it. Just a heads up, I haven’t checked the accuracy of the wallpaper graphic.

UPDATE: Here’s a direct link to a web-based iCal version from MLS. Since it’s web-based you can set iCal to check weekly or daily in case the start times change, as they occasionally do. The downside this calendar is that it’s a subset of the entire MLS schedule which shows the home team first cutting off the name of the visiting team on every home game. You have to click the event to get the complete team name, even with iCal at full screen.

Oh, Canada

There’s an argument going on over at Cascadia Trifecta about whether or not the the Timbers Army rendition of the Canadian national anthem is a serious affront to Canadians and example of typical Ugly American behavior. Most feel like it’s good natured and funny. But hey, your grandpa might still be pissed off at Jimi Hendrix.

The joke’s on us I guess. The Whitecaps pretty much ran the show last night. Granted, we fielded our second team. There was one highlight though; New Whitecap Blas Pérez briefly acknowledged fans heckling him near midfield. I’m not sure why he stooped so low, but he did look a little confused at the time. There were two bright spots, actually. The TA was in much better form last night.

Maestro del soccer

maestro

I love awkward auto-translations. Here’s a bit from Perfil, an Argentinian weekend newspaper talking about Diego Valeri’s MLS Cup win and tenure in Portland.

Even those who barely understand a bit of Spanish deduce the magnitude of the term which represents the driver of the Timbers, brand new MLS champions, which gave the first title in four decades to a city that breathes football more than ever.

Here’s a link to the translated version in case you barely understand a bit of Spanish like I do. The image above was reposted on Facebook from a tweet that I can’t track down. If you know whose it is, please let me know. It likely dates sometime between the 1st and 16th of January.

Tonight we square off against the Whitecaps in preseason. I hope Vancouver isn’t as chippy as Minnesota and RSL have been in preseason, or for that matter, the Whitecaps of the 2015 preseason.

– Thanks to Paul Atkinson for the tip.

Welcome to Soccer Replay City

Random, unrelated photo f Providence Park from August 7, 2105 with Chicago Fire
Random, unrelated photo f Providence Park from August 7, 2105 with Chicago Fire

Northern Pitch reports that MLS will be testing some instant replay technology during the Simple Invitational. The article offers no information on how it will be implemented, over very little information at all except to says that sources reported the experimentation. A preseason tournament with multiple games in a short time period seems about as good a place as any to test the technology. That being said, I’m against it. Sure, MLS refs aren’t exactly known for their overall excellence. You only have to go back to the 2015 MLS Cup to see some really badly blown calls. Fortunately, there were blown calls made in favor of both teams so we don’t have to worry about adding and asterisk to our first cup win. Even refs in the beloved Premier League occasionally make some horrible mistakes. Since there hasn’t been much talk about how it would actually be implemented, it’s hard to argue either way, but I’m against anything that disrupts the play of the game. And really, it just isn’t needed. Statistically there just isn’t enough games whose outcomes are being affected by the referees. Goal line technology? Yes please. maybe even a 5th official? Sure, why not? Instant replay? No thank you.

Live Soccer Made in Portland

porter-soccer-made-in-portland

You’re looking at a very mediocre phonecam shot of Caleb Porter at a recent live taping of Soccer Made in Portland podcast, something I listen to religiously, and was excited to go to, even before Porter was announced as a guest. It’s not his first appearance on the podcast, but they are usually recorded remotely. How do not love a coach of MLS Cup winning team taking the time to show up for live taping of a podcast? He hung out and talked with the crowd before and after the show. I had to leave right as the taping ended to receive the babysitter, so I don’t know how long the whole thing lasted. Also present were Thorns coach Mark Parsons and color commentator Ross Smith, both of who were as amiable and accessible as Porter. There were about a hundred people present at the Civic Taproom for the taping, which I fully expected to be packed like sardines, but wasn’t. Apparently some people have other things to do. I ditched my kids at a last minute babysitting situation and couldn’t find anyone to go with me. Do I need this negativity in my life, or do I have a problem? I’m pretty sure my wife is on the cusp of having an intervention for me. Please don’t tell her about this web site. Back to Soccer made in Portland, Chris and Jaimie do a great job on the podcast. It’s a good one for fans of all levels of engagement, not too technical, but still thoughtful, with a nice dose of humor and burritos to fill the void of weather talk since Michael Orr left. If you don’t listen already, give it a shot. Humor me. I’m trying to imagine a scenario where someone is aware of this web site and not aware of Stumptown Footy.

Martin Shkreli Would Be Proud

craigslist

Have you noticed a general resentment towards StubHub bubbling up in regards to clubs allegedly allocating blocks of tickets directly to re-sellers, bypassing fans and essentially artificially raising prices? If that’s not enoughto make you mad, what about private online scalpers? On December 18th, 2015 I saw an ad on Craigslist for a guy selling 2 GA  2016 season tickets for $8,000. These were one season only and did not include perpetual rights to buy them in subsequent seasons. The ad was taken down after a short while. Recently, another douchebag was allegedly asking $25,000 for 2 season tickets plus rights to retain the tickets.  The ad is not up there now, and the ticket holder’s account was allegedly flagged for non-renewal by the FO.  I have to say allegedly on all this because everything has been deleted and pretty much the only thing that remains are some screen captures that are impossible to verify.

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Great Notion Brewing

great-notion-brewing

I checked out Great Notion Brewing  last week.  GNB took over the Mash Tun  near the corner of NE 22nd and Alberta, which is my hood. The assortment of photocopied kids menus includes what can only be described as some sort of Timbers themed pizza, possibly with artichokes.  I was able to snap a picture of it, but not before it was assaulted with crayons. Great Notion Brewing actually held a kickstarter campaign to help them “primarily focus on juicy IPA’s and creative sour ales.” That doesn’t sound like a bit in Portlandia at all.

Ikea on the Bandwagon

timbers-ikea-detail

timbers-ikea

For the past couple December’s here in Portland, Ikea has set up a tent in Pioneer Square adjacent to the giant Christmas tree. Late last year they were handing out flyers featuring a sale on a green shelving unit “to celebrate the Portland Timbers winning this year’s MLS Championship.” The last time I was at IKEA in November I was bored out of my skull waiting for my wife to stop browsing, so I changed all the LED strips in the lighting section to alternating green and gold units. Everyone probably thought they were set that way for an Oregon Ducks game. Man, was I geeking out.

Review: Cup Bound & Crowned

cupbound-crowned-book

I can’t imagine I’ll be writing too many of these for this site, but here it is, the first review on PTFZine.  (Amended to include clarifications from Prost Amerika)

Cup Bound & Crowned
Cider Press Review, 2016
ISBN: 978-1930781-96-6
By the writers of Prost Amerika
Forward by Timber Jim Serrill
Cover Price: $29.95

Two words I didn’t expect to see in this book: Cocaine and Shit.

One word I had to look up while reading this book: Lugubrious.

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Best Inside Training Video Ever
(No really, watch this!)

I particularly enjoy the “off the pitch” variety of official Timber’s videos, the ones where you get to know the personalities of the team a little better. Sure, I religiously watch all the Front Office videos, but let’s face it, Porter never reveals any secret strategies, and they’re usually not relevant after that week’s match is over. They’re mostly just filler to tide you over until the real thing. This video is by far the best behind the scenes practice footage I’ve seen. You get to actually understand how the team practices and see some personality highlighted. I wish it was twice as long. I think Zarek Valentin is trying to make a secret push to become this year’s photobomb contest head on a stick.

RSL Jerseys For Sale In Portland?

Real-Salt-lake-jersey

These photos were taken about a week after the March 7th, 2015 match against Real Salt Lake in Portland.  We  dominated Real Salt Lake, yet somehow (Rimando’ed) ended up with a draw. Target usually has a pretty weak selection of Timbers gear, if any, so the appearance of RSL Jerseys in Portland Target stores was a bit of a head scratcher. Notice they went on sale for a heavy discount pretty quickly. Somebody in the NW regional logistics office was either very confused, or a huge Nat Borchers fan. Preseason Timbers VS RSL on February 11th. I wonder if there will be Timbers Jerseys on sale in Salt Lake City.

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Let’s Go Get Cokes

coke

I’ve always had an affinity for Coke, growing up in a suburb of Atlanta, and as a skate punk in the 80’s (and beyond) feeling like the song Let’s Go Get Cokes, by The Faction was written for me personally, even though my straight edge phase didn’t last long. Still, finding this Timbers themed Coke display in Safeway, complete with custom scarf startled me a bit. Of course I want the FO to make money where they can, within reason, so we can keep paying those transfer fees. On the other hand, it just felt a little awkward.

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