In the wake of a very disheartening 2-1 loss at San Jose, I’ve decided to ignore all these negative thoughts coursing through my tiny little brain and instead focus only on the positive. I’m going to put on my rose-colored glasses (they’re actually closer to fuscia than rose…) and see if I can bang out this column without saying a single negative thing.
Warning: in this effort to buck up my spirits, I may be a little heavy-handed with the exclamation points. And, God help me, I might even throw in some smiley faces or something. I’ll try not to, but things happen, you know?
1) Guess who has the fewest losses in MLS? Your Portland Timbers, that’s who! We’re heading into August with only three losses. Three! I feel safe saying that NO ONE predicted that at the beginning of the year. Despite Saturday’s loss, we’re still right on target for the playoffs and we’ve got a very good shot at the Supporter’s Shield. This is a good team. Good teams lose a few games and then come back strong. Our boys will be alright.
2) We created a LOT of great chances and that’s something to celebrate. Twenty shots Saturday, which is our season-high for a road game. If not for the woodwork and some outstanding saves by San Jose jedi knight Jon Busch, we score 4, maybe 5 goals. And, as always, we showed tons of heart once we fell behind. Sure, I wish we could summon that kind of passion from the opening minute, but those are negative thoughts, so I’m ignoring them completely. Instead, I’ll just think happy thoughts about us turning up the volume for long stretches of the 2nd half. San Jose was lucky to survive.
3) And how about the goal we did score? Lovely. Just lovely. Nice flow from Valeri to Piquionne, who makes a gorgeous heel pass to Nagbe, who puts it away like the seasoned vet he has become. (I love gorgeous heel passes. Why can’t we have a game where we’re only allowed to make heel passes. Every other way of kicking the ball is off-limits. Even the goalie would have to heel-kick it. Sure, we’d probably lose, but think of the aesthetics.)
Also, congratulations, Darlington, on your sixth goal of the year. That ties your career high, you know. Now, what do say we go for double figures? A very safe bet, I think.
4) I’m enjoying this positive thinking so much, I’m not even going to limit it to players. Let’s talk about that great red card by the ref! San Jose’s Marvin Chavez gets a yellow, and then, mere seconds later, with a sulky look on his face, he kicks the dead ball away from Valeri. Boom! Here’s your 2nd yellow, sir! And a red! Enjoy your shower!
I don’t know whether that second yellow was for “time-wasting,” “encroachment,” or just “being a douchebag.” Either way, great card, ref! Zero crap taken!
5) Let’s dish out some positive thoughts about the players.
Donovan Ricketts. As always, you gave us some heavenly saves. And congratulations on not breaking Steven Lenhart’s jaw after his goal-celebration dance. Very few of us have that kind of patience. You set a fine example for the kids.
Diego Valeri. 3rd place on the MLS assists board, sir. And if I’m not mistaken, you’re no longer on loan, are you? I look forward to many more years of silky passes and bizarre goal celebrations.
Micheal Harrington. Great night’s work, Mikey Mo’ Money. Loved that cross to Ryan Johnson. Also, your hair’s been especially impressive lately. So blonde. So bouncy.
Diego Chara. You’ve never looked so good, my man. Games like this really strengthen your case for Timbers MVP.
6) And finally, In Caleb We Trust.
All season, Coach has been keeping the highs low. Now he’ll get to keep the lows high. Monday morning, the team will put all this San Jose nonsense behind them and start getting ready for Saturday’s visit from Vancouver. And how can we not be excited? It’s the Cascadia Cup, baby!
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but around here, we play to win trophies, and these next two games both involve silverware. We’ve already got the Cascadia Cup. I say we keep it another year. So far, we’ve gotten draws at both Vancouver and Seattle. Now we’re gonna start getting some wins at home. Not draws. Wins. And once we tighten our grip on THAT cup, we’re gonna head to Salt Lake and take the next step toward the US Open cup.
Vancouver? Real Salt Lake? I may be thinking positively today, but I don’t see how you can feel anything but fear, because the Timbers got their noses bloodied this weekend and we’ll need to take our frustrations out on someone. I feel positively sorry for you.