1) Northwest Derby, U.S. Open Cup vs. Seattle
This match was absolutely electric in the stands. You could feel the energy as you walked up to PGE Park. A packed house. The Boys played their hearts out. And the crowd was riveted. Despite losing, I was enormously proud of the team for never giving up.
This was also the match that Steve Cronin won me over. I was suspicious of him from his LA Galaxy days. But in the 2nd half, you could see how much he wanted to win this game. I will never forget him giving Sanna Nyassi an earful, while the Seattle player feigned injury on the ground towards the end of the game. Cronin's a competitor, and just couldn't stand seeing a player trying to cheat his way into winning.
2) 0-0 Draw at Cleveland City early in the season
It was a 0-0 draw, but this game showed how different the 2009 version of the Timbers would be. Portland was rampaging down both sidelines all game long, searching for a victory. This was the game where I could tell that I would like this team.
3) The Streak
Is there anything more to be said about the Streak? That's a statement of what this Club is capable of achieving.
4) The Newcomers
Hayes is a cultured left back that added a significant attacking dimension to this year's team.
Pore seems like a model professional, who quietly goes out onto the field to win and run his legs off. And what speedy legs they are.
Keel: my favorite new player this season. Here's a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. At the end of the season, after we had locked up a playoff spot and probably the division, Stephen Keel was pushing his teammates, getting into scraps, and fighting through every minute of the remaining home games. His performance against Austin made me realize he is the new Captain of this team. A definite Leader.
5) Gavin's Redemption
I was seriously questioning Gavin Wilkinson's credibility as the Manager of this club. A very solid 2007 season merely papered over the cracks in his personnel and tactics. 2008 showed him what a few unlucky bounces of the ball could do for his team in the standings. But credit to Merrit Paulson, who stuck with Coach. Wilkinson took the criticism, and went out and got the players he needed to change the style of this soccer team. After 5 games, we were an attacking, athletic, and agressive team, especially down the spine, and other teams took notice. I'm grateful for Paulson's patience. And for Wilkinson's fortitude.
You guys have any memorable moments from this year you'd like to share?