Yes. We won. We won a cup match. We won a Cascadia Cup match.
And we’re thrilled. The Cascadia Cup means something to us. For many, it means more than the MLS Cup.
But, for a far greater number, it’s what we’re clinging to now that everything else is (almost) out of reach.
There. I said it. And I full expect to take a raft of crap for it but there it is. The Cascadia Cup, sadly, is what’s left. It deserves more. It deserves to be the brightest star in a constellation of stars. Instead, it is the only star.
Don’t get me wrong. This win, this Cascadia Cup match win, was precisely what we needed. Our last win was July 3, a lifetime ago. Since then, we’ve lost a coach, a keeper and a whole lot of faith in the management of our club.
One win does not change the course of the season. The patterns were set long ago. Hard-fought near-wins at the beginning of the season (let’s look at that RSL loss on the Beckerman goal in the 93rd) brought this team to its knees. The self-created road curse didn’t help.
Do I still believe the talent is there? Absolutely. We saw that talent against Vancouver. We know it’s out there. Steven Smith who, at times, has melted into the background (or, depending on the weather, a puddle), stepped up and made a disaster-averting save. Eric Alexander, who I’ve long championed, reminded me why his is the only name I’ve ever had put on a jersey. David Horst, who many are picking up as their dread-player, had some terrific plays. A couple of stinkers, but still. Some terrific plays.
Let’s take two minutes and do this: coaching has been and continues to be a problem.
I loved Spenny. I really did. But there was a problem there. I’m not entirely sure his coaching was at issue (many will vehemently disagree with me there) insofar as the actually play was concerned. We were so close so many times. Where I found fault with him was his ability to motivate this team. Drop a goal and they were done. They didn’t fight back. They just stopped.
And I’m pretty sure Gavin isn’t helping that. I doubt our boys are playing all-out because of a great affection for Gavin unless that “affection” stems from the desire to not be the next one with a plane ticket and a new address in a faraway city.
I think they’re playing for Sean McAuley. I’ve been wrong before. In fact, recently, I’ve been wrong a shocking amount, but I’m standing by this until the team names someone else. All I really know for sure is that they’re not going to name me.
Gavin still needs to go. Merritt still needs to apologize.
The boys need to continue playing like they mean it. Every match. For the full ninety. Playoffs, shmayoffs. Boys, you play for the badge. You play for US.
My birthday (the real one as opposed to the fake one from last week) is this week. I have a long list of things I want.
I want a coach.
I want another three points on the other side of this week though, at this point, they won’t matter much. I want them anyway.
I want clean play and no injuries. The next Cascadia match feels like it’s mere minutes away and the thought of losing any of our guys ahead of it makes my teeth hurt.
I want Boyd back. And I want Dike next to him. I swoon at the sort of trouble they might cause opposing teams. Do you go after the young guy with something to prove, who is fast and strong and agile? If you do, you run the risk of leaving the fox-in-the-box unattended. Having sat for two games now, he’s also got something to prove. I doubt he’ll miss another chance.
I’m off to the reserves match in a bit. Looking forward to seeing Eric Brunner and a great many of you fine folks.
I’ll have some words on GWout, GWin and TAout in the next couple days. You all know what I think so the wait won’t kill you.
And I’ll just drop this here:
Last night before the match started, the Timbers Army handed a check to Cody Goldberg, father of Harper Goldberg and the driving force behind Harper’s Playground, a barrier-free playground for kids with disabilities being built here in Portland. That check was for $47,000. If you have a problem with the TA, remember this.