I love my Timbers. I do not just love them, I am in love with them.
Being in love is tough.
In sickness and in health, right? Through every triumph and tribulation. In torrential downpours and sweltering summer nights. Through the preseason and the offseason and the mid-season offseason.
Before, during and after CalFC, LAG and Dallas. Before, during and, looking to the future, after Gavin.
Through scoring droughts and and dodgy defending. Through threats of bans for dissension and reserved seating in the North End.
Through all of this.
As I write, less than seventeen hours from game time, the dread I was feeling earlier in the week is fading. Yeah, I said it. I was looking toward this game with dread.
I’ve been waiting all week for the next bit of bad news, waiting for some other ridiculous and/or terrible Timbers story to break. Instead, we had a quiet night Tuesday with Aston Villa and then radio silence.
Sure, there were a couple blips on the radar today: Eric Brunner back at practice after his most recent concussion and the possibility of seeing Trencito at training as early as September. And then we spent the rest of the day looking for Jake Gleeson at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
The sun will rise in a few hours here in Cascadia. The sun will rise and we will prepare ourselves for battle as we always do.
I want to see Boyd start. I expect to see Boyd start. Without him, the fire is lessened, the intensity lost. I want to see Alexander in the middle again. The wheels came off in Dallas, but I still think this is the best option for him. I’ll choose Smith over Chabala with apologies to Chewy. You show heart, Chewy, something I wish we saw more of from every player on the squad.
I’ll take Futty and Mosco and Horst and I’ll expect Horst to step up his game because I know he has it in him. It was about this time last year that I thought he really came into his own. I’m hoping for a repeat performance.
And here’s one I’ve never uttered aloud before: give me Rod Wallace. Painful to even see the words there, but there they are. Put him next to Franck.
And, to further illustrate the point that I should never be put in charge of choosing the starting eleven, put Dike and Richards up with Boyd.
Just this once, give Boyd the armband. That’s another thing you won’t hear me call for very often, but that’s where it should be right now: wrapped tightly around one of those inexplicably long-sleeved arms. We need his fire. We need his leadership. We need his experience. We need him to kick ass and not even bother to take names.
I’m leaving out players I want to see play. I would like to put fourteen, maybe sixteen guys out there. Zizzo and Fucito and Mwanga all deserve time. Can I play six forwards at once? This is just one of the myriad of reasons Gavin is the interim coach and I’m not.
Regardless of who starts, we will be there in full battle dress and in full voice. Win or lose, this is our team. We will not fail them. Ever.