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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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Love is a battlefield

I love my Timbers. I do not just love them, I am in love with them.

Being in love is tough.

In sickness and in health, right? Through every triumph and tribulation. In torrential downpours and sweltering summer nights. Through the preseason and the offseason and the mid-season offseason.

Before, during and after CalFC, LAG and Dallas. Before, during and, looking to the future, after Gavin.

Through scoring droughts and and dodgy defending. Through threats of bans for dissension and reserved seating in the North End.

Through all of this.

As I write, less than seventeen hours from game time, the dread I was feeling earlier in the week is fading. Yeah, I said it. I was looking toward this game with dread.

I’ve been waiting all week for the next bit of bad news, waiting for some other ridiculous and/or terrible Timbers story to break. Instead, we had a quiet night Tuesday with Aston Villa and then radio silence.

Sure, there were a couple blips on the radar today: Eric Brunner back at practice after his most recent concussion and the possibility of seeing Trencito at training as early as September. And then we spent the rest of the day looking for Jake Gleeson at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

The sun will rise in a few hours here in Cascadia. The sun will rise and we will prepare ourselves for battle as we always do.

I want to see Boyd start. I expect to see Boyd start. Without him, the fire is lessened, the intensity lost. I want to see Alexander in the middle again. The wheels came off in Dallas, but I still think this is the best option for him. I’ll choose Smith over Chabala with apologies to Chewy. You show heart, Chewy, something I wish we saw more of from every player on the squad.

I’ll take Futty and Mosco and Horst and I’ll expect Horst to step up his game because I know he has it in him. It was about this time last year that I thought he really came into his own. I’m hoping for a repeat performance.

And here’s one I’ve never uttered aloud before: give me Rod Wallace. Painful to even see the words there, but there they are. Put him next to Franck.

And, to further illustrate the point that I should never be put in charge of choosing the starting eleven, put Dike and Richards up with Boyd.

Just this once, give Boyd the armband. That’s another thing you won’t hear me call for very often, but that’s where it should be right now: wrapped tightly around one of those inexplicably long-sleeved arms. We need his fire. We need his leadership. We need his experience. We need him to kick ass and not even bother to take names.

I’m leaving out players I want to see play. I would like to put fourteen, maybe sixteen guys out there. Zizzo and Fucito and Mwanga all deserve time. Can I play six forwards at once? This is just one of the myriad of reasons Gavin is the interim coach and I’m not.

Regardless of who starts, we will be there in full battle dress and in full voice. Win or lose, this is our team. We will not fail them. Ever.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Timbers

 

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