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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Open letter to Danny O’Rourke

Hi, Danny. Welcome to Portland and, more importantly, congrats on your new contract with the Timbers.

We’ve had a weird couple of years here. We got a new coach last year and he seems pretty solid. He took a team that had spiraled out of control in 2012 and brought them to within one game of the MLS Cup in 2013. By all accounts, he’s pretty great. I’m guessing you know this already.

The problem is this: something’s gone haywire this season. The defense isn’t working. The midfield has been less-than-stellar and the team just isn’t scoring. Over a third of the way through the season and we’ve only picked up two wins. It’s super weird.

So, we got a new striker. He seems like a nice enough guy. He managed an assist on his first touch when he’d basically come straight from the airport.

And now we’ve got you. No pressure, but we sure hope you’re the answer to all our questions. Most folks are hoping that you’ll help shore up a back line that has been, at best, leaky.

Me? I’m hoping you bring fire. The Timbers have been missing their spark, which is a really weird thing to say when we have guys like Will Johnson and Pa Kah on the field.

Anyway, best of luck to you. Hope to see you get some time at Chivas but, if not, we’ll see you at the park on Sunday.

Cheers,

Kristen

Oh, just a heads-up: Merritt might seem a little wacky sometimes, but he’s mostly harmless. Maybe don’t mention alligators to him for a while.

It’s the ginger you have to watch out for.

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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Timbers

 

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Lions and goldfish.

The Timbers have never beaten New York.

They have lost twice at New York and hosted two draws on their home field.

RBNY (or is it NYRB?) has Thierry Henry, and Jamison Olave, and Bradley Wright-Phillips who has nine goals on the season and two hat tricks. They have a trio of former Timbers who might be looking to prove a point. And they have Mike Petke and the 2013 Supporters Shield.

And the Timbers? They have a frustrated captain, a questionable back line and a number nine who’s just barely gotten off the plane from Denmark.

It’s time for them to step up.

It wasn’t long ago when the Timbers were giant-killers. Losses and draws were the norm, but then the Big Games would appear and the boys in green would out-play their opponents when no one expected them to.

Memory of that faded with the success of last season. But now, the frustration of being eleven games into this season with just a single win has reminded me.

“Heart of a lion, brains of a goldfish.”

Perhaps not the most diplomatic way to captain your side, but Will Johnson’s words after the Columbus match certainly make a point. There is a frustration there that’s been bubbling up and has now boiled over. This frustration gives me hope. This frustration comes from passion, from the knowledge that this team is better than they’ve yet shown, and from the expectations they haven’t yet met.

They can win. They will win. They must start now.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Closing time

The idea of going back to that bar in SE Portland for a game of this magnitude is really too much. The stress level and the potential for threats of violence toward that annoying fake-accent guy and the woo-girl cause us to gather in an apartment in NoPo instead. Eight of us in red and white.

Everyone brings something to share: donuts, bagels, juice, fruit, but most goes untouched in the kitchen as we gather around the television.

This is Arsenal. This is the FA Cup. This is everything.

Hull goes up by two early and unexpectedly. There’s no way this is how this is supposed to go. Absolutely no way.

But Santi steps up for a free kick and curls one into the upper far corner.

We enter the half still down by one. When Sone Aluko comes on for Hull, I stop breathing for a moment. It was his goal against Celtic in the March 2012 Old Firm match that I wrote about just days ago and it’s replaying over and over in my head. Every time he even comes close to putting a foot to the ball, a voice in my head says,”NOOO.”

A goal from Laurent Koscielny brings the game even and time runs out. Two extra periods are tacked onto the end of the game. The play is tired, slow. The earlier, almost frenetic pace is gone. This is now a game of survival.

The initial fifteen minute period is over. The second begins.

The intensity of those around me is much greater than my own. They’ve suffered with this team longer than I have, some a decade or more into their love affair with Arsenal. At best, and with great apologies to those who’ve coaxed me through my first year of support, Arsenal is my third team.

My heart is at Ibrox, my soul at Providence Park. But, for a time yesterday, my imagination was at Wembley.

In the end, the gentlemen of Arsenal climbed those stairs – 107 stairs, to be precise – and lifted a trophy.

It used to be that I felt I didn’t have room in my life for more than one team. Now I can’t imagine what it was like without them.

So a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to my fellow Gooners: to Jason and Caleb and Grant, to Chris and Eric and Kody and Felicia and all the others. Ninety days until we start all over again.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Arsenal