Thursday, December 5, 2013

Timbers gather laurels with stalwart MLS season

Our guys fought their way to the Western Conference final this year.  Coming from the deep waters of the 2012 season anything better would have been a 'well done',  but streaking to the top as they did under Caleb Porter's amazing leadership went beyond that mark to reach legendary status. 
Porter's selection as coach of the year is one reflection of this truth.  Having Diego Valeri selected as newcomer of the year highlights one reason why.   But this is not a superstar phenomenon.   Will Johnson and Donovan Ricketts made the first 11 of the MLS All Stars and Ricketts could well be keeper of the year.
All of which whets our appetite for the season yet to come. You can imagine that every team in the league is looking at the Timbers' performances with an eye to breaking it down and taking away what our team accomplished this year.   And I imagine that we're girding ourselves to answer that challenge--whatever it might take. 
In this season of thanksgiving,  I am very grateful to have had the chance to see a Portland side play at the highest level of American futbol with such success.   I think the cinderella season of '75 was the last comparable run although we have had good success in years past in the lower divisions.
I assume this year's performance is no fluke.   I believe it's a foundational year for a franchise we'll watch with pride and joy. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Women's college soccer- Santa Clara v Virginia Tech

I tuned into the replay of this match to see what Santa Clara,  a standard rival of the women Pilots,  looked like on the field in the NCAA playoffs.   They weren't bad,  holding the Virginia Tech Hokies scoreless through to penalty kicks which Tech won for the right to advance to the final eight.   Most interesting to me was that Chugger Adair , a Portland Timbers' forward during the 2002 season was coaching Virginia.   Adair played twenty matches that year,  coming off a strong year with his previous club, but only scored two goals in the season.  As best I can tell,  he retired afterward,  so Portland was his last berth as a player.   I may be repeating myself,  but I am always interested to see the impact that the Portland Timbers past players, coaches, and others have on the game--it goes far beyond our small, wet corner of the known universe.