Saturday, September 24, 2011

The candle flickers. out.

Tonight's match against the Red Bulls had all the characteristics of the slow motion bad dream.  New York goes up early on a squeaker of a shot that should have been covered.  Chara was a step confused, it looked like, giving Richards the tiny window to the back of the net---and again Portland is down a goal in the first half in an away game. Disheartening to say the least.  As if to salt the wounds, former Timbers or might have been Timbers are out on the field- Keel and McCarty- like ghosts from some other universe.   

Worst of all, the team hunkers down and plays scrappy.  And makes chances.   But who can oppose the gods when our best thundering attack with a brilliant pass out to the wing gives Kalif a look at the back corner.  He places the most beautiful shot he's made all season on a full run.  It goes over the keeper, drops,  and smacks the bar!  The rebound comes out.  Cooper's there.  He's poised.  He volleys the ball down into the turf-brilliant- and it bounces up toward the roof of the net.  Hits the bar again!  Chara tangles with NY defenders trying to get one more take at it.
But no.  "Ah, if only gray-eyed Athena would deign to love us again..."   Or words to that effect.

Still, the game is not over, and the Timbers survive attacks and make their own.  Surely they will perservere!  But once again, the die is cast and the numbers are less than lucky.  A shot from six yards out in our box is deflected on the left post by Kalif whose arms are pulled back and who turns with his chest to redirect the ball away.  The referee says that the glancing ball hit his right arm on the turn and gives a PK.  Distraught Timbers gesture to the jumbotron.  Kalif is horrified and protests.   For their troubles,  the youngster earns a red card.  The PK goes high into the net.  And dark shadows gather around the edges of the pitch.  

On a different field far away,  DC United is chopping RSL to mincemeat with a three goal advantage in the match.  For the Timbers this is grim news.  United has two games in hand on our crew at the start of the evening and two wins would vault them ahead.  And it appears that tonight they will pick up one.

The candle flickers.  Not that there is no chance.  But clearly we have not gotten a smidgeon of luck in this latest fray.  Perhaps in the off season,  we can do something to propitiate these cruel gods of chance.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Soccer isn't for the fainthearted. Keepers are always at risk

In this early match in the Erdivisie,   the match is stopped for a long break as PSV's keeper, Tyton, is carefully removed form the pitch after being struck in the head by his own defender in the first half.  Another reminder that futbol is a hazardous sport despite all the discussion of diving and histrionics.   The truth is that players put their bodies on the line with no protective gear in a high speed competition with limbs at risk.   It's somewhat astonishing that there are not more bodies laid low on the field when the pace and intensity of the game is considered.  I suspect everyone in the stadium, of both allegiances, willed Tyton to recover.   Footballers and football fans are not generally mean-spirited.
Goalkeeper injury scare. PSV v Ajax.