Unfinished business

I’ve been writing this for days now. I’ve only just decided to start over. Bear with me. I’m going to write fast and see if I can get the words out before they become too much of a mess. Apologies in advance.

I’ve been a little haunted since the reserves match Sunday. It was a fun game and, after Saturday (when I missed the derby to attend a memorial service), it felt… healing. It felt like going home after a long, drawn-out absence.

I never thought I’d see Kris Boyd play in a reserves match, but there we were. And he looked good. He was active and engaged and, within the first ten minutes of the match, had an assist and a goal.

And then it felt like the end.

Did we just see Kris Boyd’s last goal as a Timber?

My heart hurts to think about it.

After several games on the bench, limited minutes and a view from the sidelines of a derby match, his injury against San Jose has set me on edge. Maybe that was it. Maybe that reserve match goal really was Kris Boyd’s last wearing our club’s badge.

A couple days ago, another member of the Timbers Bloggers Battalion posed this question: if I could bring back only five players next year, who would they be? I warned him that my picks would be entirely emotion-driven.

Eric Alexander, of course, because I know he can do more. Diego Chara for the effort he puts in every time he suits up for us. David Horst for the sheer fact that I want to see him beat the crap out of the OTHER Eddie Johnson sometime in the near future. Mike Fucito because I can’t help loving that little hobbit.

And, it will come as no surprise, Kris Boyd.

Boyd makes the list not just because of my ridiculous fan-crush, but because I think he has some unfinished business here.

If we go back to the “Cubbie incident“, we remember that Cubbie tried to paint him as the failed savior of the Timbers 2012 season and the reason John Spencer was fired. Lame.

But, watching Boyd struggle since then, it seems he took it to heart. He’s had flashes, momentary glimpses of the player he should be, but those have been few, separated by long instances of Gavin-imposed exile.

So, what happens now? The season is coming to a close, the playoffs are beyond our reach. Boyd’s one-plus-one contract is weighing on my mind.

Will he stay? Does he want to stay? Does incoming manager Caleb Porter want him to stay?

I want him to stay. I want him to succeed. I’m a sucker for a romantic comeback story and the scene is set for one here.

Here’s the thing: I loved Kenny Cooper. I will always keep a special place in my heart for Kenny. Soft-spoken, polite, misused Kenny Cooper.

And now, I wait to see what happens to Kenny’s replacement. Kenny, let’s remember, is currently among the league’s leading scorers. For another club that figured out how he works.

Here’s to hoping that we get a second chance at figuring out how Kris Boyd works. If anyone from the Timbers coaching staff needs me to point them in the right direction on this one, I’ve got a fair few Youtube videos I can point out.

So, here, because I feel I need to, a few words not *about* Kris, but to him.

Stay. If the choice is yours to make, I hope you choose to stay. The Portland chapter of your story is still being written. Don’t leave in the middle. Stay and become a legend, not just a footnote in our history.

I was there at the press conference when you were introduced to the Timbers faithful. I was there for your first goal at Jeld-Wen. I stood with you, shoulder to shoulder, at midfield during a season ticket holder event and looked up into the North End and I imagined a day in the future when I would tell my kids about this guy, this legendary Scottish striker that, by some odd turn of luck, ended up here in Portland.

I hope that, after I tell them about your rocky first year, I will be able to tell them about your triumphant comeback in your second year here, when you led the league in scoring and led our club deep into the playoffs.

Help me tell that story, Kris.

Give me a story to tell.

You can read more from Kristen at her blog.


9 thoughts on “Unfinished business

  1. I love your sentiment about Boyd. I just feel that it’s probably out of his control at this point.

    Boyd is what he is. It may well be Spencer’s worst misjudgement that our youthful, mostly bench-grade team could provide Kris with a steady flow of quality opportunities. His second greatest mistake was to agree to Gavin’s selections for the supporting cast.

    Porter will probably decide that Kris is too much of a luxury, too much a narrow specialist for this team to keep around. The MLS season doesn’t appear to favor a team with one guy who does all the scoring. Much better to have a half dozen journeymen who each get 6-8 goals.

  2. Man, I wish we could get Caleb Porter here NOW. I’m ready for the next era to begin. I don’t want to spend the winter wondering what Porter will do to fix things. I want to know NOW. I want him to start the rebuilding NOW. I want personnel decisions made NOW.

    Anybody got a time machine so I can fast-forward a bit?

  3. +1, Kristen. I’d love for Boyd to stick around one more year and have a chance with Porter and get vindication. I think he is capable of more (I have that feeling about many of our guys) and maybe I’m more of a parent than a football fan but: I want to see them all reach their potential. For me, that is more important than any silverware they could ever bring home.

    Hope I get to tell the same story as you. 🙂

  4. I don’t understand why we switched to a 4-4-2 vs the Earthquakes. I was really hoping to see Boyd play with the ball actually moving up the pitch instead of him going offsides on a delayed slide rule pass or a break away on the wing that is no longer a break away and hoping like hell he’ll chip it in on a quarter chance.

    I wish I had access to all the timbers vids, I would like to compile the shots on goal and offsides to see where fault truely sits.

  5. I’m with you Kristen. I think he would fit great with the tiki-taka style that Caleb Porter plays. That style has less long balls which Boyd didn’t win a lot of and more balls at his feet. Watching the Akron highlights made me think that Boyd would put all those last shot attempts away. My hope is that he stays and enters next year in better shape than ever. I do think Nagbe, Songo’o, Mwanga, Boyd, Zizzo can get this figured out with maybe the addition of another strong center midfielder. RCTID

  6. Plausible scenario: no other team in MLS is willing to take Boyd for anything close to contract value so we hold onto him. Porter figures out the team and uses Boyd sometimes with the right opponent and line up. Boyd scores 11 and heads off to Scotland the following year to finish his career on a high note.

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