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.
Our deft attacking midfielder was noticeably quiet rounding out the final match in the Simple Invitational against the Chicago Fire last night. Suffice to say I heard Michael Harrington’s name mentioned more often in the play-by-play than Darlington’s. I suppose it happens, maybe this loss will shake off the last remnants of cobwebs.
So I payed a bit more attention to Jermaine Taylor this match, he helped me in this endeavor by earning himself a yellow, and getting caught out leading to a Chicago goal. Our left side is a bit soft and Valentin’s sub out for Jack McInerney was not much of a surprise. Jorge’s shoes look quite big to fill right now.
Valeri was fun to watch, Adi’s hold up play was solid, and Melano Asprilla’s attacks appeared on the point… however, we are running into that old problem of getting it into the back of the net. The season has yet to begin, and the Ides of March approach. I’m not sayin’ things are all Hell and Highwater, I’m just sayin’…
Let’s see, what else… Chara did his Chara thing. Thanks for that Diego.
Mr. Borchers seemed to have a pretty decent game, no real complaints.
Still a bit nervous about our #2, Alvas, thank goodness the man is fast.
All said and done, still feeling pretty good about this season, but let’s sort out that winger situation.
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.
That first red card… meh. The second was quite deserved.
Asprilla is looking for another goalazo, of which I have no complaints.
Would have liked to have seen Klute in the LB spot, but good to see Valentin’s play. Definitely going to be interesting to see how that plays out.
Nice seeing Valeri and Nagbe working up front, and Melano seems a bit more settled.
I didn’t really notice anything from our new CB, Taylor, but I’m chalking that up as a positive.
Would have preferred a larger line change at the half given the red cards. It’s a common complaint of Porter that he doesn’t sub early enough, and in this match in particular it would have been nice to see those 75min subs come in earlier and check out their work rate. Especially Jack Mac’s.
All in all I enjoyed the hustle. Just stop fouling the Maestro.
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.
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.