The Stats Are In.

stats

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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Buy your own Championship Ring

ring-auction

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!

 

 

One Ring to Rule them All

rings

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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San Jose Career Opportunities

san-jose-clash

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!

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.

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.