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Tag Archives: Kris Boyd

A few words about Clint Dempsey

I’m not going to defend Pa Modou Kah’s challenge on Eddie Johnson in Sunday’s game. The replay has firmly planted me in the shoulda-been-a-red camp.

Kah is a force to be reckoned with. We knew this from the get-go. Even in his first couple matches in Ponderosa green, he seemed to be just barely in control. If I remember correctly, he picked up a yellow in his first outing for the Timbers. He plays right on the edge. And he’s good.

A friend today used the word “precious” to describe how US fans treat national team players. And I think it’s the way a lot of us treat our Timbers.

We expect them to be nice, polite, gentlemanly. And then we get upset when they get knocked around. And they get knocked around because they’re nice, polite, gentlemanly.

But times, they are a’ changin’.

Bring on Kah.

Bring on Kah not for his string of yellow cards and challenges that many have called reckless.

Bring on Kah because he isn’t going to take any crap from anyone.

I miss Boyd. Boyd didn’t take crap from anyone. He didn’t suffer fools. He did this:

And Kah, with slightly less finesse, did this:

http://imgur.com/r/MLS/cRyUU4b#.Uh2XkEKr4Sg.link

Different style, same message. We’re not going to take your crap. Don’t be a diva. Get up and play the game.

***

Oh, right. I was going to say a few words about Clint Dempsey. Nah, I don’t have to. Kah already did.

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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Timbers 2013

 

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The last words on Boyd…

Rather, my last words on Boyd as a Timber. This world is a strange and confusing place. Somehow, I imagine he’ll find his way into this blog again sometime in the future, be it from Greece or Norway or, God willing, from back at Ibrox.

Before this lament starts, I want to thank all of you who’ve sent condolence messages. I know it’s utterly ridiculous to be getting condolences over anything other than, say, a death, but I’ve been touched by the number of you who’ve emailed, who’ve texted, who’ve Tweeted and Facebooked words of encouragement and concern. You all are a special breed and I’m grateful for our acquaintance.

I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot over the last year since Kris Boyd’s signing with the Timbers. I’ve learned about rivalries, about politics in soccer (both on the field and off), about completely losing oneself in the game. I’ve suffered through hours and hours of Scottish footy podcasts and BBCSportsound and read thousands of words on the administration of Rangers. I’ve learned to hate Neil Lennon and love Kenny Shiels and Ally McCoist and Lee Mcculloch. I’ve made some interesting friends in some rather unexpected places.

And most of that I owe to Kris Boyd.

I’ll admit it: I knew next to nothing about him when he was signed. I knew his name. I knew he was a big deal – mostly because for me, as someone who doesn’t (or didn’t) follow much international soccer, that I recognized his name at all was an indication that he was a big deal.

So, I did what everyone else was doing: I went to Youtube.

I fell in love. Wholeheartedly, unabashedly in love. This was The Guy. The one to carry this team forward, to carry all of us forward. We were going to win the league.

I was there for the first press conference, Kris’ introduction to Portland. I stood behind Joanne when she scarfed him. He looked tired and, I daresay, a bit overwhelmed. But, despite being shy, he was gracious with our assembled crazy though I still have absolutely no idea what he said. None whatsoever.

And I was there for that first goal in the preseason. And it was beautiful. And I screamed myself hoarse.

And I was there for the first goal that counted, in the home opener against Philly. My friend Duncan was standing next to me when it came. I’m fairly certain I bruised his arm and blew out his ear drum.

I ordered a Scottish flag from Amazon. It went on its flagpole the day of the LA match when that spectacular goal was called back.

That flag, that ridiculous flag. I carried it to every match from then on. For Boyd, for Smith, for Spenny.

I debated over whether I should take it with me to the Cal FC match. I left it in the car when I went to meet Timber Jim for a pre-match beer. “Go get it,” he told me. And I did. And I held it aloft when the horn player played Taps.

And I had it with me in the front row of 204 for the Seattle match two weeks later. We can mark that on the calendar as another game this year when I had to apologize to the kids sitting near me for my behavior. Thankfully, they were kids I knew.

Things unraveled from there. I still have a hard time sorting through what it was that really happened. The team wasn’t playing as one, but the overall record wasn’t much different than the year before. We hadn’t lost much ground, but the tide was rising and change was on the horizon. Feel free to insert more tired cliches here if you’d like.

And then Spenny was gone and Boyd was pissed and I found my voice.

That, my friends, is Boyd’s legacy in Portland. He’s gone but, because of him, you’re stuck with me.

That, and this:

So, in the off chance that my words find their way to Glasgow: thank you, Kris. You inadvertently made me a blogger. You gave me words to write and lead me to a bigger audience than I ever imagined I’d find. For that, I will forever be grateful.

#RCTID
#WATP

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Timbers

 

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Unprepared

I am unprepared to write about Boyd today. Today was meant to be a Caleb Porter-centric day but whoever that blonde woman who sat in front of me at the presser was, well, she shot that all to hell, didn’t she?

Oof.

Of course, unprepared is how I first started writing about Boyd, isn’t it? Yes. Well.

So, here’s the thing: I’m fine. Don’t worry about me. I’m not in nearly as dire a state as you might think I would be after essentially being told face-to-face that my beloved Scottish striker is on his way out the door.

Mostly because I’m still not entirely sure he is.

Gavin. Oh, dear god, Gavin.

It pains me to say it, but Gavin and I have a disturbingly similar way of hiding our feelings: we just don’t. We react. We turn red (though he turns redder than I do thanks to his natural gingerosity). We blurt things out without thinking them through.

But that might be where the similarities end.

See, I’m still madly, deeply, inexplicably in love with my Timbers. Gavin? Watching him today, he seemed, at best, disillusioned.

Enough about him.

Is Boyd out?

Million and a half dollar Boyd? I doubt it.

We can go over this again if you’d like. Shut up. We’re going over this again.

As an extra-special, she’s-really-gone-off-a-cliff bonus, I shall present a concise history of The Cooper Effect in haiku:

Kenny Cooper signed.
No midfield to support him.
Kenny Cooper gone.

Kris Boyd, savior Scot.
They told us it was diff’rent.
Alas, wrong again.

Cooper with New York
Oh, Kenny with eighteen goals.
Service made it so.

Twenty Thirteen dawns.
Will Boyd be the next to go?
Wilkinson hates Scots.

Two years in a row
Timbers Golden Boot winner
is packing his bags.

I may or may not have completely lost my mind. I may be crazy, but I’m pretty sure I’m right when I say that no one in the room was surprised at Porter’s answer to the Boyd Conundrum with the possible exception of Gavin.

I’ve been preparing for Boyd’s inevitable departure since July. I was stunned, absolutely stunned when he was still here at the end of August. I was cautiously optimistic when he turned up at Rangers in the midst of our offseason, vowing to be in shape and ready to impress his new manager when January training camp starts up on the 21st. But still, even taking that cautious optimism into account, I do not expect to see him in the eleven by the time March 3 rolls around unless something absolutely bat-shit crazy happens.

I am still haunted by his goal in the reserves match in September. Is that his last goal as a Timber? maybe? Possibly? Probably?

When the question was posed at the presser, I was not surprised by the way Porter answered, but that he answered at all. And after days of reading and rereading and analyzing his previous quotes about not really being married to a particular style of play but, rather, tailoring his strategy to match the talents of his players, this was an abrupt about-face. I read it as “I’m willing to work with what we’ve got – except for that one guy.”

And yes, for this I am blaming Gavin. When Porter answered the question, it looked as though he’d strayed far from the script that had been written for him. And when Gavin was asked and declined to answer whether or not he was shopping Boyd, what he didn’t say said more than any statement he could have made.

He’s shopping Boyd. He has been for six months. But, as has been widely discussed, Boyd’s salary is a deterrent to any club that might be interested.

What doesn’t make sense here is the addition of Johnson and Harrington, there’s the possibility that we finally have the service that both Kenny and Kris needed to be successful here. I look forward to the day when what we do here makes any sort of sense.

So, there it is. Even as I’ve steeled myself to losing my Scottish striker, I’m still not willing to let go of the possibility that this chapter is not yet closed. Tread softly around me the next couple weeks. I will, undoubtedly, be a complete mess.

I’m looking at you, David and Tom. Shhhh.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Timbers

 

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Boyd underground: Glasgow local edition

Okay, so I’m Cubbie today. I’ve got a source who’s asked not to be named. If you know me, it shouldn’t be too hard to find out who it is, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t start harrassing him for any more info. He’s a good guy and has been very gracious in dealing with me at length over the last ten months.

Yes, Boyd is training with Rangers. Yes, Smith is training there, too. Yes, Kenny Miller is there as well. My source tells me it feels a lot like 2009 at the Rangers training grounds.

So, my guy in Glasgow had a chance to chat with Kris for a bit today. Kris is optimistic, says he’s training hard in an attempt to be fully fit and ready to impress Caleb Porter straight off at the Timbers’ training camp in January.

Yeah, that’s not much in the way of an exclusive bit of information, but it tells me this: Boyd wants to be ready for whatever opportunity is afforded him and he’s absolutely planning on being here in January. But, lest the entirety of the Boyd Underground get its collective hopes up, there’s still a lot of time between now and January 19th.

But Kris likes Portland. He likes the passion of the Timbers organization and the culture that surrounds it. If the decision is truly his, that goes a long way for a guy who spent years playing for some of the most passionate soccer supporters in the world.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Timbers

 

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Well, that was…something.

I’m fine. Really.

Numb. Frayed at the edges. A couple bruises. Nothing I didn’t expect from Day One of Rostergeddon.

Kimura to NYRB. Purdy, Palmer and, possibly, Wallace out. Brunner to Houston. Smith gone.

That’s right.

Brunner to Houston. Smith gone.

I thought I’d prepared myself for this. With the leaks Sunday, it didn’t appear that we’d have any huge surprises. And, theoretically, we didn’t. I just wasn’t ready to let go.

Brunner was unexpected, but understandable. And, as I said yesterday, I fully expect that both my Scots are already gone. But the confirmation of the first departure, which came from Smith himself via Twitter, stunned me anyway.

I know this is a business and everything that happened today was a business decision. I know this.

But it’s a business where we share our highs and lows, our failures and our triumphs on a very personal level. It’s become clear to me that I feel it more than many. Over the last six months, I’ve come to envy those who don’t take it to heart as much as I do. They live happier, simpler lives.

Happier and simpler, but without the same color. Even on a painful day such as this, I wouldn’t trade a minute of despair for a moment of being blissfully unaware.

For every day like this one, there is another. For every day of loss, there is a day of victory.

I took the Kenny Cooper trade pretty hard last year, but I was rewarded (I know some of you will debate whether this was an actual reward or not) with Kris Boyd. The CalFC match was by far one of the lowest points of the season, but the win over Seattle followed quickly. Spenny was fired, but then Boyd threw his fit with Cubbie the very next day.

For every bitter pill, there is a spoonful of sugar.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Timbers

 

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Heartburn

Offseason, Day 20.

We’ve begun the speculation part of our program. We’re watching other teams fire their coaches and release their under-performing players. We’re discussing the impending arrival of Caleb Porter and who will be released from our roster.

Rumor. Conjecture. Heartburn.

Merritt says announcements may come as early as next week. I’m a big ball of messy emotions. I hate this part.

Sure, there are a few players I think I can more easily let go of than others (there’s a little Jamaican I wouldn’t mind driving to the airport), but, for the most part, I’ll be sad to see any of these guys go.

This is, if you’ll remember, the same group of guys that held such promise last spring. I’m still kind of stunned that this is how we ended up. It’s going to take a long time to get over that.

There are those around me who are hoping for a full-scale house-cleaning. Get rid of as many of them as you can and start from square one. I’m not, mostly due to my sentimental nature, on that side of the fence.

We have talent that’s been left untapped. I don’t think this chapter is over yet. There’s a lot left to be written.

I’d like to see another few words about Steven Smith and Eric Alexander paired on the left with an occasional paragraph or two with Eric in the center.

I’d like a page or two where David Horst wears the captain’s armband.

I want to see more words about Bright Dike, who seems recently to be writing his own story, and more about a half dozen of the younger guys. I want a chapter in which Darlington Nagbe becomes a superstar.

And, as you all know, I’m not done reading Kris Boyd’s comeback story.

Lots of the writers and bloggers that surround this team have been working through the current roster, deciding who they believe should stay and who should go. Some of the things written have been poignant, educated, inspired. Some of it has been drivel. The one constant is this: we don’t know who will go and who will stay and we have absolutely no say in the matter anyway.

I know who I’d vote off the island. I know who I’d keep. I know some of the ones I’d like to keep will probably be on the chopping block, but I will continue to love them and defend them from the idiots who never understood their value. Because that’s what I do. Because these are my boys.

Someone hand me the Tums.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Timbers

 

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Unfinished business: a few more words about (and to) Kris Boyd

EDIT: This was posted on Slide Rule Pass in the middle of the night last night, before word came down that Kris Boyd may be out for the rest of the season with the injury sustained at San Jose. I am, as you might expect, devastated. Read if you want. Stop here if you already saw this on SRP. Cheers!

***

I’ve been writing this for days now. I’ve only just decided to start over. Bear with me. I’m going to write fast and see if I can get the words out before they become too much of a mess. Apologies in advance.

I’ve been a little haunted since the reserves match Sunday. It was a fun game and, after Saturday (when I missed the derby to attend a memorial service), it felt…healing. It felt like going home after a long, drawn-out absence.

I never thought I’d see Kris Boyd play in a reserves match, but there we were. And he looked good. He was active and engaged and, within the first ten minutes of the match, had an assist and a goal.

And then it felt like the end.

Did we just see Kris Boyd’s last goal as a Timber?

My heart hurts to think about it.

After several games on the bench, limited minutes and a view from the sidelines of a derby match, last night’s injury against San Jose has set me on edge. Maybe that was it. Maybe that reserve match goal really was Kris Boyd’s last wearing our club’s badge.

A couple days ago, another member of the Timbers Bloggers Battalion posed this question: if I could bring back only five players next year, who would they be? I warned him that my picks would be entirely emotion-driven.

Eric Alexander, of course, because I know he can do more. Diego Chara for the effort he puts in every time he suits up for us. David Horst for the sheer fact that I want to see him beat the crap out of the OTHER Eddie Johnson sometime in the near future. Mike Fucito because I can’t help loving that little hobbit.

And, it will come as no surprise, Kris Boyd.

Boyd makes the list not just because of my ridiculous fan-crush, but because I think he has some unfinished business here.

If we go back to the Cubbie incident, we remember that Cubbie tried to paint him as the failed savior of the Timbers 2012 season and the reason John Spencer was fired. Lame.

But, watching Boyd struggle since then, it seems he took it to heart. He’s had flashes, momentary glimpses of the player he should be, but those have been few, separated by long instances of Gavin-imposed exile.

So, what happens now? The season is coming to a close, the playoffs are beyond our reach. Boyd’s one-plus-one contract is weighing on my mind.

Will he stay? Does he want to stay? Does incoming manager Caleb Porter want him to stay?

I want him to stay. I want him to succeed. I’m a sucker for a romantic comeback story and the scene is set for one here.

Here’s the thing: I loved Kenny Cooper. I will always keep a special place in my heart for Kenny. Soft-spoken, polite, misused Kenny Cooper.

And now, I wait to see what happens to Kenny’s replacement. Kenny, let’s remember, is currently among the league’s leading scorers. For another club that figured out how he works.

Here’s to hoping that we get a second chance at figuring out how Kris Boyd works. If anyone from the Timbers coaching staff needs me to point them in the right direction on this one, I’ve got a fair few Youtube videos I can point out.

So, here, because I feel I need to, a few words not *about* Kris, but to him.

Stay. If the choice is yours to make, I hope you choose to stay. The Portland chapter of your story is still being written. Don’t leave in the middle. Stay and become a legend, not just a footnote in our history.

I was there at the press conference when you were introduced to the Timbers faithful. I was there for your first goal at Jeld-Wen. I stood with you, shoulder to shoulder, at midfield during a season ticket holder event and looked up into the North End and I imagined a day in the future when I would tell my kids about this guy, this legendary Scottish striker that, by some odd turn of luck, ended up here in Portland.

I hope that, after I tell them about your rocky first year, I will be able to tell them about your triumphant comeback in your second year here, when you lead the league in scoring and lead our club deep into the playoffs.

Help me tell that story, Kris.

Give me a story to tell.

***

Since I’ve had a couple people ask today, the stupid scarf got handed off to my ticket rep on Monday. He’s assured me he will stalk Boyd until it gets signed. Above and beyond the call of duty. Seriously.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Timbers

 

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