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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Everyone’s got an opinion.

It’s true. Everyone has an opinion and now you’re going to have mine.

At this point last year, I’d already declared victory. Two years ago, I was in a haze of expectation and blinded by a recently acquired love of an imported Scottish footballer. Three years ago, well, if you think I know nothing about soccer now, you should have seen me then.

So, our boys have two points over the first four matches of the 2014 campaign. This is not the end of the world. They’ve lost two on the road. Remember when they had that WHOLE SEASON wherein they won only one road match? I do. And I’m also quite certain that this particular group of players is not going to let that happen on their watch.

They’re not where they should be. They know that. They’re trying to fix it but, in the meantime, have been hit with a handful of injuries, have been hampered by a not-yet-fully-fit-no-matter-what-Porter-says Diego Valeri, and now have two of their most steadfast players on suspension for controversial red cards.

This is fun, isn’t it?

Let’s add a little bit more fuel to the fire: Darlington Nagbe came off at the half during Saturday’s match with a reported muscle strain. Let’s also add that Paparatto and Kah have repeatedly erred on the side of recklessness and Urruti just is not the forward we’re looking for.

DOOM AND GLOOM. THE SKY IS FALLING.

Seriously, come in off the ledge. It’s not that bad. They’ll fix it. They know they have to. And I know you all hate this by now, but we’re four games in to a 34-game season. If we’re a month down the road and the Timbers still haven’t logged a win, feel free to flip out then. Until then, maybe try some tai chi or something.

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Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Timbers

 

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Calm down

A lot of people were right on the edge after the preseason.

Quite a few joined them after last week’s draw with Philly.

But, seriously, come back to stable ground, kids.

There have been lapses, both offensive and defensive, but we’ve seen one competitive match. One.

The Rose City Invitational was a nice warm up but let’s be honest: it was just that. A warm up.

I’m not here to make excuses. There’s really no need. Last weekend’s match against Philly was a decent performance but, listening to the players afterward, we all know they recognize it wasn’t good enough.

In the post-match presser, Caleb Porter said he hoped the last-minute La Gata goal would be the one that finally unlocked the Timbers potential to score. I’m pretty sure he’s right. And I’m also pretty sure that if they see two, three goals against Chicago, they can ride that momentum into Colorado on the 22nd.

Early points. That’s the important thing here. My one and only preseason prediction was that the Timbers will both win and lose more games this season than they did last season. In 2013, we saw four games pass before the Timbers notched that first win – IN APRIL. And we all felt those missing points late in the season when the possibility of the Supporters Shield was slowly slipping away.

More wins. We will need more wins if we want to see trophies raised.

And the team knows this. This is a team, while faltering on defense against set pieces, hasn’t seen a goal from the run of play yet this year, preseason included. That’s kind of a big deal. We can slight the faults of the new guys, and we can point to past mistakes of the veterans, but we still have to recognize that what we’ve got is nothing to sneeze at.

Chicago comes into this match having dropped points to Chivas last week. Chivas. They lost to Chivas. The Fire might not be the best team out there, but I’m guessing that loss might be motivational. What I’m not sure of is how far that motivation will carry a team with an injured Mike Magee and a potentially-starting Lovell Palmer.

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If you’re following along, if you care at all, I’ve been doing slightly more journalistically-styled match previews over at Prost Amerika. They’re awful, but they have what information I can glean from the interwebs about each upcoming match. And, hopefully, I’ll get better at them if Prost keeps letting me write them. And if I get better at them, maybe I’ll be writing more stuff over there. Don’t get your hopes up.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Timbers

 

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On the eve of the 2014 MLS season

It was the shortest offseason many of us have known. We left Jeld-Wen Field in late November, P-T-F-C still ringing in our ears, and were huddled around our computers when our Timbers took the field in Arizona for their first preseason match just ten weeks later.

Jeld-Wen is now Providence Park. Our team has been revamped, players have come and gone. We gathered briefly, and somewhat quietly, for the preseason tournament at our ground, but it wasn’t what we needed.

What we need is less than 24 hours away: a gathering of our tribe, our congregation, our family in our spiritual home, our cathedral. This time, it’s real.

It all starts here.

Our flags have been repaired. Our tifo (OF WHICH WE DO NOT SPEAK) has been painted. We are primed. Ready.

The building sense of anticipation, expectation is palpable. The players are resolute. They will win this. They will do it for us. And we will be there for them, to cheer them on, to lift them up should they falter, to celebrate their successes.

This season will not be easy in any sense. We’re already off to a rocky start with this morning’s announcement of a lockout of PSRA referees. We whine and complain about the quality of the officiating in our league, but we’re faced with the possibility of watching even sketchier officiating over the coming weeks as PRO and PSRA negotiate.

Thankfully, we have Will Johnson. I’m sure he won’t mind stepping in to advise the officials if their calls are askew.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/video/2013/09/07/yellow-will-johnson-counts-8-yards-and-booked-dissent#ooid=V0djdiZTr1L7AwPUJuyZDpqJBfgPa2dv

Beyond the referee situation, and despite this flying in the face of popular opinion, I think the Timbers might struggle to gain momentum. I don’t have any facts to back this up so don’t yell at me. The issues we saw in preseason (the Papa own goal, a couple of defensive lapses) are likely fixed by now. I can’t imagine Caleb Porter hasn’t taken the time to address them.

I just have this feeling. It’s less about the team and more about the huge expectations I have for them. There is such promise, such hope. How can they possibly live up to it? The only answer: win EVERYTHING.

Let’s do this thing.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Timbers