Wednesday, April 27, 2011

LA Galaxy 3 Portland Timbers 0

LA Galaxy 3 Portland Timbers 0

I'll leave a breakdown of the LA match to the experts at Slide Rule Pass. I recommend reading the article as it discusses the changes between the 1st and 2nd halves, both in personnel and formation. I'd emphasize that the changes we made were within LA's discretion- that is, we didn't force LA to change their tactics or personnel in response to our changes. And the few questions we asked all came while already down 3-0.

http://sliderulepass.xanderkale.com/?p=522


As reflected in Slide Rule Pass's breakdown, our back 4 frequently gets stretched out of position. I'm often anxious as I watch Wallace stray upfield or fail to cover the triangle with the other centre backs, when space opens up behind Wallace & between Wallace and the CBs.

RSL on Saturday. Onward, Rose City!

Escape from L.A.



I'll leave a breakdown of the LA match to the experts at Slide Rule Pass. I recommend reading the article as it discusses the changes between the 1st and 2nd halves, both in personnel and formation. I'd emphasize that the changes we made were within LA's discretion- that is, we didn't force LA to change their tactics or personnel in response to our changes. And the few questions we asked all came while down 3-0.

http://sliderulepass.xanderkale.com/?p=522


As reflected in Slide Rule Pass's breakdown, our back 4 often get stretched out of position. I'm often anxious as I watch Wallace stray upfield or fail to cover the triangle with the other centre backs, when space opens up behind Wallace & between Wallace and the CBs.

RSL on Saturday. Onward, Rose City!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Opening Home Weekend: Sights & Sounds



Just a couple of pictures and video from the Chicago and Dallas games.

What an amazing weekend for the whole City.

video

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Belated Sal-entine's Day Present

Timbers trade for Sal Zizzo from Chivas USA. The kid went crazy at the U-20 World Cup in Canada a few years back, then spent a few years in the Hannover 96 Reserves in Germany, making a few first team appearance.

I'm very excited about this trade. Pore on the left and Zizzo on the right- we'll be a dangerous team with speed and dribbling skills down the wings.

Watch his 2 assists against Brazil starting at the 1:25 mark, through 3:00.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Season Tickets Running Out!!!

I just got off the phone with a Timbers ticket rep. After ordering my season ticket (TA Sectuon), I asked the rep how many season tickets remained.

"Maybe a few hundred."

WOW - Wait to go, Oregon! That's almost 12,000 tickets sold before the first ball is even kicked.

Monday, January 24, 2011

MLS & EPL

An English Premier League Guide to MLS

I’m one of the few people who enjoy MLS having a summer schedule, largely due to the English Premier League (“EPL”) dominating my Fall to Spring soccer consumption. This way, I’m never without some footy to occupy my weekends.

This year, the Portland Timbers leave the NASL Division 2 and are being “promoted” to MLS, i.e. the EPL. For those of you who follow the Premier League closely and are recently becoming acquainted with the American version, this may be a fun guide to choosing a team to follow.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Portland Timbers . . . Sunderland AFC

The Pacific Northwest is a unique and faraway region of the country, much like the North of England. It’s even close to a northern neighbor- Scotland, which is England’s Canada but drunker.
Sunderland is the neglected smaller neighbor to metropolitan Newcastle; much like Portland to Seattle.
The Tyne/Wear derby is possibly the most passionate in the EPL; the Northwest Derby IS the most volatile and passionate Derby in American soccer.
Personally, I have an affinity for both Sunderland and Newcastle. When Sunderland visited Portland for a friendly a few years ago, I attended the match and enjoyed myself thoroughly with some Mackems (people of Sunderland). Our supporters clubs share a tremendous friendship. The game was outrageously fun. And I’ve since attended a Sunderland match at the Stadium of Light, where I encountered some truly amazing people who recognized my Timbers gear and took kindly to the fact I was wearing a Timbers scarf to the very, very cold game. And the game was fantastic! It was the “beach ball” game where Sunderland beat Liverpool on a shot infamously deflected into the net off a beach ball thrown onto the pitch by the crowd. On a side note, I also attended a Newcastle match on my trip to England and I found the Newcastle supporters to be similarly friendly and the stadium, like the Stadium of Light, was first-class. Perhaps the Sunderland/Newcastle rivalry is so fierce it is unpopular to have affection for both clubs. It reminds me of how much I hate and relish beating Seattle, but being from a similar part of the country - it ain’t nothin’ but a family thing.


Seattle Sounders . . . Newcastle United

The richer, more cosmopolitan city.
Two clubs and sets of supporters with rich history and an even larger sense of entitlement.
I can’t write any more about Seattle . . . UGH.


Vancouver Whitecaps . . . Manchester United

Both share a tremendous youth academy, fine stadium, and a long tradition of trophies.
I don’t like Vancouver. But I respect them, and even envy them. They have an amazing youth academy with a residency, and partnerships with international clubs to allow their youth products to train, play, and sign overseas in Europe.
Vancouver & ManU both have strong commercial front offices.
Both are major port cities with lots of crime (too general?).
I believe Vancouver will be a winner in MLS quickly, but I will relish the big games when 1,000 ‘Caps fans come to Portland.


San Jose Earthquakes . . . Bolton Wanderers

The two teams nobody cares to watch when they’re on TV.
Both feature young American midfielders: Stuart Holden & Steve Cronin.
Both struggle to fill their stadiums to capacity and have financial concerns.
You wouldn’t notice if either weren’t in the league anymore.

L.A. Galaxy . . . Chelsea FC

The two teams who, until recently, bought their success using superstar Hollywood signings with big contracts and even larger personalities. Beckham & Donovan vs. Lampard & Terry & Drogba & everyone else.
The two teams coincidentally share a formal commercial partnership.
Nobody in America likes the Galaxy and nobody in England like Chelsea.
Great stadiums (Stamford Bridge: been there and, though on the quiet side, was a nice stadium).
I can’t STAND obnoxious Galaxy fans, and I can’t say I’ve ever met too many Chelsea fans I get along with either. (Side note: I supported QPR growing up, so it’s only natural for me to dislike Chelsea)
Both consistently compete for domestic and international trophies.

Chivas USA . . . West Ham United

The ugly, poor siblings to rich brothers (Chivas & Galaxy; West Ham & Chelsea).
They share successful and productive youth academies. Chivas is prolific in producing players from their Academy for the 1st team, and West Ham consistently promotes youth teamers to the 1st team. Some names you might recognize: Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermaine Defoe, Rio Ferdinand, Mark Noble, and MORE.
Both need a new stadium.
Both traditionally play a very attractive style of football with quick passing, which their vocal supporters demand.

Houston Dynamo . . . Everton FC

A Scot for a coach, and a stable reign of power. Solid defensively and mentally tough, stable squads.
Both are seeking or building a new stadium.
History of winning, though recently without a trophy.
Each has a fierce local rival: Liverpool/Dallas
Good youth academies that produce players for the first team. Houston has signed 3 players in the past 2 years, and Everton’s produced Jack Rodwell, Dan Gosling, James Vaughn recently- along with a player you may have heard of - Wayne Rooney!

Colorado Rapids . . . Blackburn Rovers

Each team has won a single major trophy in the past couple of decades.
Each has a long-time hero at the center of midfield: Pablo Mastroeni & David Dunn.
Both teams struggle to fill their stadium, which is located in the middle of nowhere.
Neither team is fun to watch; they play a lot of “route 1” long ball and bring bags of rough play to every game.
Incidentally, I like both their jerseys.

Sporting KC (Kansas City) . . . West Bromwich Albion

Teams that are fun to watch and attacking sides, but rarely spend time at the top of the table.
When Sporting moves into their stadium, it will be an intimate atmosphere, much like Albion’s homey venue.
You wouldn’t notice if they were gone, but you enjoy watching them when they’re on TV.


New England Revolution . . . Wolverhampton

Cheap clubs when it comes to finances, with a long-ago history of winning any trophy.
Yet, you can’t help but cheer for MLS originals, the Revs, or Wolves when they’re playing bigger teams.


Philadelphia Union . . . Birmingham FC

Both share tough-minded, defensive coaches who enjoyed long and successful playing careers: Nowak with Poland & Chicago Fire; McLeish with Scotland and Aberdeen, under Sir Alex Ferguson - just Fergie, then.
Both can be considered the lesser lights of their areas. Philadelphia will always be in New York’s shadow, as has Birmingham in relation to Aston Villa FC.
Both are great, mid-sized stadiums with tremendous atmosphere.



Columbus Crew . . . Fulham FC

Two clubs who shared an icon: Brian McBride. The pub in Fulham is the “McBride Pub” and McBride is an MLS original and icon of Columbus Crew.
Two unique stadiums with tremendous history and individual character. Craven Cottage has an actual cottage! overlooking the stadium, with a tree-lined walk to the venue. Crew Stadium was the 1st soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. (though Charleston Battery fans will disagree). It’s a significant part of making soccer a stable and permanent part of the American sporting landscape, and is a “must” for American soccer fans.
You can’t help but cheer for their teams, which always seem to be trying to punch above their weight. And each has (until recently, had) a player who could take your breath away with a moment of imagination and inspiration which reminds you why football captures a lifetime of special moments: Clint Dempsey (the chip to beat Juventus!) and Guillerme Barros Schelleto (delivered Columbus’ first MLS Cup trophy and is a legend among the supporters who never failed to bow to him in a “Wayne’s World” homage when he ambled over to take a corner kick).


Chicago Fire . . . Aston Villa FC

Rich tradition of winning trophies, but haven’t done so lately.
Great state-of-the-art stadiums, with knowledgable fans. (Gotta love the Section 8 Supporters, who have a great relationship with the Timbers Army) I’ve been to several Fire games over the years and have always enjoyed my time with the fans and a team that plays with passion and commitment to the jersey.
Both have impressive youth academies. 5!!! Villa players have emerged from the Academy this season, while the Fire has its own residency and a youth team that consistently competes for national championships.


D.C. United . . . Liverpool FC

Iconic stadiums (RFK & Anfield) in disrepair: check. Looking for an alternative but can’t find sufficient financing/land: check.
Rich history of domestic and international trophies: check.
Teams in utter freefall: check.
Also, consider Jaime Moreno and Ben Olsen to be what Gerrard & Carragher will look like in 4 years. See what happened to DC without Olsen & Moreno...?
Two of the most vocal, passionate, and loyal supporters groups in each country. Iconic players are to DC (Etcheverry, Moreno, Olsen) what managers are to Liverpool (Shankly, Paisley, Dalglish).


Toronto FC . . . Stoke City FC

Packed, cold, and windy stadiums.
Red kits/uniforms.
Poor style of play; lots of “route 1” direct football.
Did I mention cold and windy stadiums with loud, intimidating fans?


FC Dallas . . . Arsenal FC

Coaches with a total belief in their philosophy. OK, let’s just say it: they’re both arrogant as hell and believe they’re always right!
A certain unshakeable style of play.
Both clubs believe in promoting youth players to the first team. 5!!! FC Dallas players have been promoted to the first team in the past two seasons - most in MLS.
Both have a state-of-the-art stadium, with “fudged” attendance numbers judging from the stands on TV.
Neither club has won anything in 5 years.


Real Salt Lake . . . Tottenham Hotspur FC

They play attractive, passing and attacking football.
Iconic players: Van der Vaart & Bale vs. Beckerman & Johnson
Fantastic, packed stadiums.
Loud, loyal, and knowledgable supporters.
Recent success for both clubs in the league and cup competitions. Both clubs are enjoying international success this year in the Champions League (CONCACAF & EUFA).


New York Red Bulls . . . Manchester City

They buy success and pay bigger salaries than everyone.
Poor history of winning until recent financial investment.
Ugly jerseys.
It’s impossible to like either club, and yet you can’t help but respect their two talismanic forwards: Carlos Tevez (ManCity) and Thierry Henry (RB NY). Henry is one of the most thoughtful people in the game and remains a class act to enjoy watching on the pitch.


So, Who Ya Got? Does your EPL team match up with your MLS team? Suggestions for what you’d change?

Let’s hear it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MLS Draft Preview

Draft day is FINALLY upon us!!!

The Timbers have the 2nd pick in the 1st round. There are several quality players available, particularly:
1) Darlington Nagbe
2) Perry Kitchen
3) Zarek Valentin
4) Kofi Sarkodie
5) Will Bruin
6) Corey Hertzog
7) Omar Salgado

The Timbers have filled out a healthy portion of our roster already. Based upon the statements of Gavin & Spencer, as well as their Expansion draft wheeling-and-dealing, the overall strategy seems to be cheap American defenders with speed on the flanks, a mix of veterans and young prospects in midfield, a couple of unproven young forwards to be supplemented with International-quality players acquired through signings or the allocation process. C'mon, Kenny (Franken) Cooper!!!

How do I see the draft playing out? I can see the Timbers picking a young quality American defender with their #2 pick. A defender will be able to contribute immediately and it fits with Gavin & Spencer's cheap American at the back / international attackers strategy. I also predict the Timbers will use their other picks on risky gambits- it would fit with their track record so far (McCarty trade; Findley; Bornstein).

So, without further ado, the Timbers #2 pick will be:

PERRY KITCHEN, Akron Def/Mid

(Alternatively, we take Zarek Valentin or trade down and pick up a cheap defensive prospect like AJ Soares or Adibaba- hey, I get a second guess, right? Nobody's perfect!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Timbers Player of the Year

The guy is quality- he can score with his head, left and right foot. It's amazing to watch his growth over the past two seasons. In the future, I'd want Timbers youth prospects to spend a season or two in NASL or USL-PRO Division II or III soccer to gain the experience and confidence necessary to succeed in MLS. Nimo is another player to make progress over the course of this season. But let's take a few minutes to appreciate our Timbers Player of the Year- Ryan Pore.

Pore some sugar on me!
in the Timbers Green!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Community Club Makes a Wish Come True

Some view soccer clubs as businesses to turn a profit. I believe that clubs are part of the community, a source of pride in your city, and an avenue to make dreams possible to achieve.

Let's all give the Seattle Sounders credit for setting an example for how to be a part of their community by helping a sick young boy's dream come true. It's a story about how the whole city of Seattle came together to make a dream come true for a little boy who is sick with liver cancer. I'm proud of our Pacific Northwest neighbors for demonstrating the sense of community that makes me proud to live in this area.

Good luck to the little lad. His wish was to be a superhero. His courage is truly (super)heroic.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011740342_electronboy30m.html

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cut of the Day

I'll get to my early-season observations of the Timbers in a later post. But, for now, here's an incredibly creative video from OK Go, and a pretty good jam to get you through a tough day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Season Tickets are in!!!




Season Tickets are in. I'm so, so ready for Opening Night kickoff!!!

Package includes:
-Season tickets
-All Day bus passes for game days
-Discount card for food & drinks
-1 voucher for a friend

Best part is the all-day bus passes. That save some serious cash over the course of a season. Of course, the food & beverage discount is great- so long as it covers beer ($8? Really?!?).

Portland Timbers, Here we go!
Portland Timbers, Here-We-Go!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cut for the Weekend

Heading out to watch the Boys play an exhibition at University of Portland.

7pm- see you there.

I know I'll be listening to this song on the way out there.

2 of my favorite artists: The Black Keys & Mos Def

Enjoy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Top 5 EPL Transfers of 2009-2010

1) Thomas Vermaillen- Arsenal FC, 10 million pounds
What a steal at 10M. He's solidified the Arsenal defense, providing a strong basis for an extended title challenge. In addition to transferring the captaincy to Fabregas, Vermaillen's presence settled Gallas and the two have formed an impressive partnership. Not to mention the 10M signing has popped up for a few clutch goals on set-pieces, normally a weak point in Arsenal's side the past few seasons.

2) Carlos Tevez- Manchester City, 25 million pounds
He gives a defined personality to a disparate squad. With so many newcomers, it is difficult to give Man City's squad a personality. Tevez's competitiveness, will to win, and backing of his teammates (see, his confrontation with John Terry in defense of Wayne Bridge), gives City and identity. This may not save a top 4 finish this season, but will help shape this squad into a possible contender next season. (Not to mention a goal return of 16, so far).

3) Niko Kranjear- Tottenham Hotspur, 5 million pounds
A steal. Clutch goals (see the game-winner against Stoke this past weekend). And in the Fall, when Modric went down injured and Defoe had that lengthy suspension, Kranjear (spelling?) helped carry this team by providing verve and creativity in the midfield. The Tottenham midfield will be stacked next year with Sandro coming from Internacional and Jamie O'Hara returning from his Portsmouth loan.

4) Darren Bent- Sunderland AFC, 14 million pounds
Helped keep Sunderland from the relegation zone. Bags of goals & a constant threat on the field. He provides Sunderland a reliable goalscorer and speed to cause every defense problems. Seems to have adapted well to the Northeast of England. Sunderland lack a reliable partner for Mr. Bent. I'm convinced that Kenwyne Jones simply isn't the answer as Bent's partner. Bent provides Sunderland confidence that a mid-table finish is always possible because he will contribute between 15-25 goals per season. Bent also seems to be thriving, given the reliable confidence Steve Bruce places in the lad.

5) Landon Donovan- Everton FC, Loan
Over the course of 2 months, Donovan won over the Everton faithful. He provided a reliable spark that helped push Everton from below mid-table to challenging for a Europa League spot. Donovan's personality blended perfectly with a squad that is built on a team-first mentality, which requires commitment & pace. Donovan grew in stature over the course of the loan. And his powerful goal in his Everton home finale was the icing on the cake. You could see Donovan's impact on the team in scoring a goal and setting up another, but also the devotion he inspired in some of England's most demanding fans. An unqualified success.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cut of the Day

Death Cab for Cutie. "Talking Bird" - Live.

Easy to drift off to this one, from one of the Pacific Northwest's finest.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Cut of the Day

Elbow: Grounds for Divorce

Great car song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzGIjOJoLUg

Even more new Timbers

http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=3968716

Timbers add 3 new players. I like 1, but the jury's out on the other 2.

GK: Matt Pyzdrowski, a recent graduate of Marquette U.

Mid: Derek Gaudet, a Canadian U-23 and recent National Team camp callup.

Fwd: Doug DeMartin, 2008 KC Wizards draftee

I think Gaudet is a very promising signing. He's still developing and his international experience is a big plus. The jury's out on the other 2.

*3rd GK? Adding Pyzdrowski means the Timbers have 3 'keepers: Cronin, Adin Brown, and Pyzdrowski. Why 3 GK? That's a lot of payroll for a position that requires 2 people, at best- when you can find a loanee from an MLS team, in a pinch.

Does this mean Visser is out of the picture? Are the Timbers covering all their bases, in case an MLS team comes in for Cronin (who had a nice loan spell with DC United at the end of last season) or Brown doesn't come back to full fitness?

My prediction: I don't think that all 3 keepers will be on the roster by the end of the season. Either Brown won't come back to full fitness from his injury or Cronin will move on to greener pastures. I hope Cronin stays because he really grew on me last season, beginning with his passion on display during the Northwest Derby.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Roster Additions

The Timbers added 2 more to the 2010 Roster:

GK: Adin Brown
Def: Scot Thompson

*Adin Brown: Last I saw him, with the 'Nats, he seemed big, but slow. He's also coming off a knee injury. I'm skeptical of this addition to the roster and would still like to see Brian Visser offered a spot on the roster to continue his development.

*Scot Thompson: excellent. Still a good defender & team leader. S-C-O-T, Scot with 1 "T"!

**I saw Daniel Woolard was released by the Chicago Fire. He's a left-sided defender with speed and foot skills. He started the Fire's 2 playoff games last year and looked good doing it. I think he'd be tremendous competition for Ian Joy, and a possible addition for the 2011 MLS roster.

Pick Him Up, Gav!

Still in need of at least 1 additional forward. Waiting to see who gets unexpectedly dropped from MLS rosters.

C'mon 2010!