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.
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.