RSL v. Portland: Curse That Baby-Kissing Bastard

ImageGoalkeepers are like Congressmen: you’re OK with your own, but the rest are thieves or assholes. (OK, potentially obscure title, but what do Congressmen do on the campaign trail? Kiss babies, amirite?)

This week, Nick Rimando is both a thief and an asshole. He turned in a man-of-the-match kind of night, only for the wrong team. So, yeah, thief and asshole. The Portland Timbers had at least three (3) high-quality chances on goal and the son-of-a-bitch stoned them all. Two of them after the Timbers went down 1-0 to a goal by Ned Grabavoy. I only just learned about Grabavoy’s once-medically fragile daughter and, being a father myself, I can’t imagine the stress, so, Ned, have that goal on us. And a pint. Just keep in mind that it’s the last one you get. Are we good? Good.

The four people who routinely check my Twitter feed will know that I saw a 1-0 game. I just thought that Portland would be on the right side of the final score. I can’t say why – and gods know I’m fucking awful at predicting anything more complex than the sunrise – but something told me, this is around the 15 minute mark, that the Timbers would pull out this game. They didn’t obviously, but… Continue reading

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Arnold on ETR on the Timbers; Me on That

ImageSomewhere in the last year or so (actual year, not calendar) I discovered podcasting – which I now believe happens kind of automatically on arriving at middle age…probably relates to how music suddenly sounds scary somehow…anyway

I don’t listen that many podcasts; MLSsoccer.com’s March to the Match is the only one I listen to reliably (obsessively, even; and I do recommend that one, and highly. They just do things better ‘round there.) ExtraTime Radio (ETR) can lure me back every once in a while – notably, when they have a guest ready to talk Portland Timbers and everything that’s wrong with them this year.

That someone was The Oregonian’s sports reporter, Geoffrey Arnold, a guy I used to read regularly before they fucked up just about everything about Portland, Oregon’s leading major daily. The man does good work, though, so it was the paper who cocked it up, not Arnold.

Arnold’s segment on ETR didn’t last long, but he had some interesting things to say, among them: casting Caleb Porter as a “supremely confident coach, almost to the point of some arrogance” (in a highly-public forum, no less) and having close to zero confidence in the Timbers finding their first win of 2014 this weekend (TRAIT…oh, who am I kidding; I requested odds when betting on a Portland win).

But Arnold made some other, specific points. To wit, and to respond: Continue reading

The Small Crappy Club the Portland Timbers Are In

Funny-Fat-People-Pictures-500x364All eyes are on Atlanta? Bullshit. My attention has lingered on the panic button for most of this week. By the end of this weekend, the Portland Timbers will be over 1/5 of the way through 2014. We’ll be seven games into a 34-game regular season, right? And the odds of getting a win in there? Let’s see…how is Portland’s record against Real Salt Lake? Not so good, people. And…shit.

It’s funny (actually, no, it’s not) to consider that, just prior to this past weekend, I slipped a throw-away sentence about Portland having time to tinker into a post in favor of squad rotation. The thing about squad rotation I stand by, but that thing about time just jumped out the window. 100% open to experimentation, though, because, y’know, losing. Or just not winning.

The League beat me to the business of acknowledging the panic button – though they expanded the sample size to MLS’s five winless teams. That the first thing one sees after Andrew Wiebe’s face is Timbers captain Will Johnson’s now-familiar pinched, frustrated scowl says something about the locus of the disaster. That is the image of the season, people: a captain of a boat taking on water coming to grips with the possibility that we’re out of fucking buckets. Continue reading

Portland v. Chivas: I Have Seen a Movie Very Much Like It, However

Sometimes this is how you watch a game.

Say you’re at an indoor amusement gallery in a suburban shopping mall – we’re talking bum-fuck, even for the suburbs – and you’re trying to get 10 people into a laser tag arena at 10 o’clock on a Saturday. The place is loud, full of blinking lights and reeks of sweat. You don’t even want to look at the carpet. The second you walk in, though, you see they have the Timbers game on a big screen TV at the back of the room. Which is nice. You squint across the room – you need new glasses; have I mentioned that? – and see it’s 1-0 to Portland. Which is nicer.

Then again, the first thing you see is Portland failing to clear their lines on a set-piece. This is about the 65th minute, maybe closer to the 70th. It’s familiar, but definitely not reassuring. Still, the score keeps the bet you made alive (Portland needs to win) and that gets you wondering if the other bet you made (that Darlington Nagbe would score) came off. A replay reveals that Nagbe didn’t get Portland’s goal; Will Johnson did. Nagbe set it up, though, which is nice, but you know you’re already down a couple bucks. Continue reading

Portland v. Dallas: The Search for Second Gear/Base

Promises of progress ring hollow when they go long enough without being fulfilled. That’s not complicated.

Image

Closer to scoring a goal than the Timbers…

And the Portland Timbers find themselves in a fairly uncomplicated position after four games and two points. Anyone can sit back and weigh what’s going well for Portland and what isn’t. Here’s a piece that does it, but I haven’t even read it yet, just to make sure I’m relying on the pickled brain cells; don’t want things like optimism and reasoned caveats to get in the way of righteous funk. What needs to happen is fundamental enough that it doesn’t need dressing up: it’s time for the Timbers to start scoring goals on one end of the field, at least deliberately or earlier, and stopping the dumb ones from going in the other end.

So, the Portland Timbers went on down to Dallas, waded past the longhorns (presumably; I have to assume that’s why those beasts featured in the broadcast intro) and took the field. Things started reasonably enough that to make a case for viewing this as the Timbers brightest start to any game in 2014. Too great a gap between the defense and midfield made for the sole worrying sign I noted early. Then again, I don’t remember a lot of major importance happening in the first 30 minutes or so…(highlights for those interested in confirming). Continue reading