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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep your eyes peeled for Nicky Buttons. He’s turned a couple graphics I gave him into buttons that he’s giving away for/at the home opener. It’s awesome to see that my 2-stick idea will actually be seen even though I can’t make it to the opener.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.