Tag Archives: Football

Portland Timbers “rain” supreme over the Dynamo

The Portland Timbers got two second-half goals from forward Ryan Johnson and overcame two devastating first-half injuries to get their first victory under Caleb Porter; a 2-0 shutout victory over the Houston Dynamo on a cold, rainy night at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday.

Here’s three quick thoughts regarding last night’s impressive victory:

* Trust in Porter’s plan

Last night’s lineup announcement certainly raised some eyebrows and had Twitter buzzing (Rodney Wallace getting the start as a forward/wing player and Jack Jewsbury at right back), but in the end it was really quite a brilliant coaching decision. Over the last few matches, I’ve sided with the recent school of thought regarding the idea that Jack Jewsbury and Diego Chara should not be on the pitch together. I’m happy to admit that I was wrong, although I will state that if they are going to play together, last night’s lineup is the only way to do it.

The moral of the story is that Timbers supporters (including myself) may just need to be patient and trust in Porter’s plan.

* Rodney Wallace

I’ve been on the Rodney Wallace “Bandwagon” with Mike Donovan and a few others for awhile now. My only caveat to being a part of the RWB is that I was only on the RWB when Wallace wasn’t playing left back, where I think he is not at his best. Wallace began to turn the corner as a player as he started getting quality minutes for the Costa Rican national team. His rise coincided and possibly was jumpstarted by his winning goal against the United States national team back in September of 2011. With increasing call ups and opportunities, Wallace has shown he can be a positive contributor either as a sub or a starter. Last night, we saw a Rodney Wallace brimming with confidence and he shined. Credit to Porter for putting Wallace in the position to do so.

* A benchmark victory

After last night’s victory, Portland Timbers supporters are finding themselves in some very new territory. The Timbers have a positive goal differential (that’s never happened this late into a season since joining MLS). They saw a team playing with confidence and showing a very strong resolve and character in overcoming two brutal and discouraging first half injuries. They saw the Timbers play with absolute dominance in the second half and was probably the best 45 minutes I’ve ever seen this club play. They saw the Timbers control possession and create multiple scoring opportunities. They saw an opposing club wilt under the weight of being trapped in their defensive half for lengthy periods of time. Hopefully this is the first of many more wins, but I think this is a match which may be looked upon as a benchmark. Obviously it’s early, but it’s hard not to be optimistic; yet another new and uncommon feeling for Timbers supporters.

* Quotable:

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
Thoughts on the win:
“It feels good winning our first of hopefully many, proud of the guys. They had a bit of adversity in the first half, but as the half went on we just got rolling. The guys that came into the game did a great job.”

On unlocking the Dynamo defense in the second half
“We shifted Darlington Nagbe in his role, and we put Kalif [Alhassan] on and I thought those two guys played fantastic, and really everybody. I thought it was a comprehensive performance on both sides of the ball. It really looked like what we want our identity to be. Tonight I think you saw what could happen when we get up on teams. They had a hard time getting on the ball because we kept attacking and kept moving the ball. It’s important to get results for the players to realize what they’re capable of doing. This was a big step in the right direction, this was that breakthrough that I was looking for. It is one thing to know you’re playing well and know you’re a good team, but to get three points, that reinforces it.”

On the performance of Ryan Johnson
“He was very good. This team is predicated on working hard; running, pressing. He’s a workman-like player and he did that tonight. He worked them hard running, pressing, and making things happen – he played well.”

On the play of the Timbers backline
“It was very good, and it wasn’t just the backs that were tremendous. I thought Jack Jewsbury did an unbelievable job. He played like I’d hoped he would; smart positionally, balancing our team out. He’s a mature player, and you could see that tonight. Mikael Silvestre was class tonight, he won a lot of air balls in that second half. Michael Harrington has been very consistent. Again, it wasn’t just them, it was the entire team. The pressure that we put on when we got going was relentless.”

* Highlights:

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Rose (City) Colored Glasses

“How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My daughters are Timbers fans. They don’t know why exactly, they’ve never once questioned it, they just are. They come up with their own chants while LARPing around the house in their dress up clothes. They get excited when I coordinate their obnoxiously bright IKEA plates and cups so they each have a green/yellow combo for dinner. The three year old points and says “Daddy, it’s the Timbers game” anytime there is soccer on TV. The six year old happily tricks her four year old Seattleite cousin into saying “Boo Sounders! Go Timbers!” in the presence of his parents. They run around yelling like idiots when the boys in green win, and they give daddy hugs when they find out that they lost (upside to this season: Lots of hugs).

It goes without saying that their love for this team finds not only its roots, but its sunlight and water, from their father’s medium-grade obsession. I make no excuses for it, nor do I have any reservations about planting those saplings (pun intended) and encouraging their growth. I was the one that wrapped in them in a USL-era Timbers onesie in their infancy, I was the one that continues to buy them shirts, scarves and jerseys, I am the one that leads our chant sessions during car rides, and I will be the one standing next to them at every game they attend for the rest of their childhood.

It’s an idyllic time in their young lives in regards to their fledgling interest in sports. No real emotional investment, no lingering feelings of pain and anguish the next day. The highs and the lows of the season barely register for ten seconds, before the next shiny/noisy/pink thing grabs hold of their fickle minds. The amount of suffering they felt after Cal FC was far less than what they got from their last skinned knee, and all they know of a wooden spoon is that it’s in the second drawer from the left, next to the spatulas. In short, on a scale of importance, the trials and tribulations of the mighty PTFC fall somewhere between seeing a butterfly and getting a second helping of ice cream.

The magnitude of their innocence goes beyond measure. It is such a beautiful thing to behold, and during this derby week, I envy their naiveté in ways I can hardly put into words. They know there’s a game this Saturday. They know Daddy and Uncle Bardo are going together to watch it. Past those two facts, their weekend is otherwise filled with coloring books and riding bikes, cartoon marathons and a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. They don’t have to fret over who’s playing left back, nor do they give a rat’s ass about Boyd’s lack of fitness. The term GWOut is meaningless to them. The only bus that affects them is the yellow one that comes once in the morning and once in the afternoon. “Idiots” and “morons” are just words you don’t call others, and they unconditionally love everyone they know in Seattle. The final whistle will blow around 3pm on Saturday, and we might win, we might lose, but either way those two girl’s lives will be only slightly altered for only the fleetest of moments.

What a world to live in. What a sweet and pure way to enjoy this game.

I know this won’t last forever. I know that this life will not be fair to them. I know that there will be a boy that breaks their heart. I know that they will fail miserably at something new they try. I know that someone they call a friend will betray them, and I most certainly know that someday, in some unforeseen and previously unimaginable way, this team will rip their soul to pieces.

But I have hope for my girls. I hope that the break up with that boy will make them stronger, more confident women. I hope that after they fail at something, they get up, dust themselves off, and try even harder. I hope they continue to be the radiant little ladies they are already proving to be and I hope that every punch the Timbers deliver to their gut only strengthens their love and passion for the green and gold.

But more than anything, I really, really, hope that there is no one waiting to give me a hug Saturday afternoon.


You can give Mikkel an e-hug on twitter when he needs one.

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Featured image was taken from Eleventy Ones.

The thing about football…

As the season drags on, with every minute of every miserable match, I get just a little closer to having my Chris Cooper Moment.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Check this out.

I was there for that match. I wasn’t sitting very far from where Chris had his moment of clarity. I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s shaped a lot of how I’ve viewed this season.

Despite what you may think if you only know me from my online persona, I’m not a super-emotional person. I don’t get crazy-excited about many things. I’m not incredibly demonstrative. I’m shy, I tend to keep to myself. For the most part, if I can possibly avoid the spotlight, I do everything in my power to do so.

And yet, here I am, pouring out words and emotion onto the internet for the world to see.

I watched the game tonight from a bar in SE Portland, a bar I’ve never been to when there wasn’t a soccer game on the big screen over the dining room. I sat at a table with people I didn’t know two years ago and I shouted at the tv more than once. In a bar. With strangers.

At my table were two other writers, a winemaker and an elementary school teacher. In various corners of the room were a 107ist board member, the founder of the Timbers Army, a girl I used to work with, and a guy who said some ridiculous things about me elsewhere on the internet.

We unite to support this team. We suffer as one.

I’ve been asked by non-Timbers friends why I put myself through all of this.

Simple.

I can’t remember what my life was like before I found myself in the midst of all of this, this whirling, churning tornado of hopes and dreams and frustration and insanity.

The thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.

– Terry Pratchett

That’s the thing. Terry Pratchett, who I do not in any way associate with soccer, hit the nail on the head. It’s not just about the game. It’s about everything surrounding the game. It’s about the relationships formed, friendships created through mutual celebration or mutual frustration.

And this. This is where a lot of us have spent most of the season:

Yes, yes, I know all the jokes…But I went to Chelsea and to Tottenham and to Rangers, and saw the same thing: that the natural state of a football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score.

– Nick Hornby

And, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t trade a minute of that bitter disappointment for a minute of peaceful, blissful unawareness.

I just got a message from an internet friend in a city to the north, a city I’ve come to think of as a stronghold of the enemy, asking if I’m okay.

“I’ll be okay,” I tell him. “I’m an emotional creature. Rather, this miserable game has made me an emotional creature. It has changed me. For the better.”


You can read more from nomad at her blog.

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