Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Errata...a tsunami of errata

I don't aspire to be the prissy arbiter of everyone else's grammar and language.   I make mistakes intentional and unintentional.   But at the same time,  I find myself bedazzled and not in a good way by the wrongness of print and online media---as in just plain 'what were you thinking?' stupid. Today's Oregonian picked up the feed on MLS matches last night.  And the headline for the San Jose v RSL match is scrambled exactly wrong. And seems silly when the article is read and says the opposite.  Why?  I don't know but the incidence of errors in print media seems to me to be accelerating rapidly.  Two years ago I would decry occasional typos in which spell check had obviously been the arbiter of correctness and had failed.
So here we are today with a headline that is goofy and wrong.   Thank God it's the sports page.   Imagine if this was about the election of a president!   And the wrong person was being announced as the winner.   We need to do better than this on all fronts.  Writing it right is the job of journalists.   And this doesn't make the cut.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Timbers Jam Back and tie Red Bulls in Opener

The new Portland Timbers rolled out their best eleven this late afternoon to start the season against the New York Red Bulls, arguably the MLS' most storied side with a clutch of big names like Henri. 

Portland had its own celebrity players though.  Mikael Sylvestre, who'd put in his years with Man U at the top of the game,  was heralded as a spine stiffener for the Timbers' backline and was selected for the starting eleven, though he'd barely just arrived here.  Less famous but still notable was Diego Valeri, midfielder from Argentina who'd seen time on the country's national team.

The game started out with all the hoopla and frenzy expected at PGE Park. 
And for the first few minutes it wasn't a bad match up.   But then a scramble in goal led to Sylvestre playing a dangerous ball back at Ricketts in goal---maybe three or four yards,-- instead of clearing it out to the side.   And Ricketts, despite the fact it was played back under control reached down to grab it--admittedly with little time to think-- but lost control so that the ball bounced to NY who said 'thank you ' and put it in.    Not long after,  Sylvestre was galloping back with an attacker at his side.   Sylvestre at one step misread his mark's move and the man was free and suddenly the Timbers were two goals down.   

Character flared in our side though.  Valeri showed why he was highly regarded running through with a pass and controlling it under pressure to put it in and notch one for our side.  Before the half was over, though,  NY got a clear shot and slammed a third goal under the bar so that the halftime score was 1-3.   The team hadn't played badly but they'd been punished for each mistake.   

At the half,  among other things,  the field crew were out again with hoses and spraying down the field.  At every game where this happens,  people ask.  "What are they doing?  That's not grass is it?"   At one game last year we read a video feed that said it was about the aesthetics of the field or something.   What I want to know if why is it that it is always our players who are slipping and sliding out there?   The opposing teams don't seem to have anywhere as much problem as our guys.  Can't we get the right shoes?  Or not spray the field? Or something?

The second half was a sign that this is truly a different side than it has been so far in MLS.   The team stuck with their possession style of play.  They showed poise and patience.   And they were rewarded with two excellent goals and essentially put New York back on its heels.   A tie tonight was glorious because it was a come from behind and don't give up effort.  It was against a quality team.   It was done with genuine teamwork.  

So who did I like?   I thought Harrington was a force attacking effectively over on our left attacking flank.  I thought Khalif,  Chara,  and our new captain,  Mr. Johnson,  were strong.  I thought Ryan Johson, our target man, was in the game all the way and made a difference.  I thought Valeri showed his excellence--thoughtful through balls that dissected the defense.  I thought the kid, Jean Baptiste, was very solid--saving at least one goal with an extended boot.   

Even if nothing else ever results from this match,  it was a great evening of football and a display of character that promises good stuff for the season to come.    Thanks Timbers.   I can't wait to see more.