Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Finders Keepers. The Forty Years.

I watched the MLS highlights late on Sunday night and was somewhat astonished to see the two newest MLS teams--Orlando and New New York-- facing off with two past Portland Timber stars playing in the hole.   Josh Saunders whose name once echoed from the Army sections at every game opened for New York FC and struck his head on the left post making a save.  The crash ignited a discussion about head injury risks.  Saunders played on.  At the other end of the pitch was Donovan Ricketts who had anchored the Timbers' defense through last season but who was snagged by Orlando FC when the Timbers did not protect his contract.   The subsequent tie between the two teams in their first ever matches was no surprise.

As the years go by, the number of players and others who made notable contributions in the decades through which Portland Timbers have been competing increases steadily.   The legendary like Clive are well-remembered and deservedly so.  Jimmy ConwayMick Poole, the list goes on and continues to get longer.   Fadi Afash?  Byron Alvarez?  Many players and others deserve remembering as the people who kept the Portland Timbers idea alive so that there could be a 40 year PTFC.   Art Dixon, Scott Benedetti, Brent Goulet.   There are hundreds who have been passionate about Portland Timbers Soccer---making sacrifices to be soccer players when there was no glory and few rewards.  

As we march on, the numbers will swell and sometime there will be enough Portland Timbers to fill the stadium even without fans.  I am grateful that I've had a chance to sit in on some parts of those four decades.   And I am excited to see what the endurance and passion of those past people has given us--a football club deeply rooted in the community and in a vision of what futbol symbolizes to that community.  Portland Timbers.  A grand adventure that has gone silent at times, but has never died. I expect to be there when I'm 85.