The Akron Zips continue their great run of play this week with two victories. The first was a 2-0 non-conference win over Penn State last Wednesday in University Park, PA. Akron took control early with a pair of first-half goals from standouts Reinaldo Brenes and Scott Caldwell to hold on for the win.
Akron followed that up with a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois on a damp Saturday afternoon in Dekalb, IL. Working behind goals from Phil Fives and Brenes--his seventh goal in the last four matches--the Zips (9-1-2, 4-0-0 MAC) extended their win streak to six matches and pushed their run of consecutive shutouts to seven while out-shooting the defending MAC Tournament Champion Huskies, 18-8.
Caleb Porter's UA is now unbeaten in its last 42 conference matches (39-0-3), which is tied with Clemson (1972-80) for the second-longest run in NCAA history. Furman, which owns the all-time standard, went unbeaten in 46 straight league contests from 1999-2003.
Moreover, Akron goalkeeper David Meves (right)--now just one shutout away from the school's all-time record--was named to TopDrawerSoccer's Team of the Week. The Zips remain at No. 3 in their poll as well as MLSsoccer.com's MLS on Campus poll.
Tuesday night, UA goes back into non-conference action against Michigan (4:30pm PT, videostream at GoZips.com). Akron and head coach Porter has a special message for Zips fans looking to come to the match as they look to #FillTheHill at FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field:
Locally, the University of Portland women's team were in action Saturday night against No. 5 Bringham Young with at least one Timbers player among the sellout 4,979:
— franck songo (@franckck) October 14, 2012
Songo'o witnessed what maybe called the Pilots Goal of the Year from Portland-native Kendall Johnson who scored a cracker of a goal in the 81st minute. Sadly for UP, it was not enough as they fell 2-1 to the Cougars. Nonetheless, just as Pilots men's team member & Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans is being touted as potentially one of the best ever at UP, so too is the junior left back Johnson. As a recent Oregonian profile put it, "[UP head coach Garrett] Smith believes the Lincoln High School graduate has a chance to become the school's next national team player, joining elites such as Sophie Schmidt, Megan Rapinoe and Christine Sinclair."
After putting up a hat trick last week, University of Akron’s Reinaldo Brenes was at it again Friday night for the Zips with two goals and an assist in their 5-0 win over Florida Atlantic University. Junior Eric Stevenson (right) also had two goals and an assist while freshman Dillon Serna picked up a goal as well.
For Caleb Porter’s Zips, it was the fourth straight win and fifth straight shutout they have out-scored their last four opponents 16-0. Moreover, they have yet to allow a goal at home in five matches.
For their performances, Brenes and Stevenson were both named to Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week and Akron moved up to No. 3 in their national poll.
In Timbers U-23s news, goalkeeper Justin Baarts made a clutch penalty shot save for the University of Portland to hold on to the Pilots’ 2-1 win over Loyola Marymount also on Friday evening. U-23s member Ricardo Carrillo picked up an assist on the game-winner, his team-best fourth assist of the season.
The UP Pilots women’s team also played this weekend and despite a spirited comeback, they fell 3-2 to the San Diego State Aztecs. As part of the afternoon, UP honored their 2002 NCAA national championship team in a special ceremony at Merlo Field. Former NASL The late Clive Charles--a former Timbers NASL player and Ring of Honor member--was the coach of that squad which also included former player Colleen Little.
The Oregonian did a unique store about how Charles had such an affect on Little as a player and a person that when she ran in the Portland Marathon yesterday--finishing in 2 hours, 51 minutes and 35 seconds--she chose to have "4 Clive" on her racing bib.
“Every time I compete, I compete in remembrance of him,” Little said. “He taught all of us to be good athletes, but also to be amazing people. His suffering pushes me toward everything I do.”
It's an inspiring story about a man who is still inspiring athletes today. Read the whole thing here.
The No. 7 Akron Zips continued their quest of the Mid-America Conference with a 4-0 thrashing of the Univ. of Buffalo on Friday night. Junior Reinaldo Brenes (right), who previously had only one goal in 32 career Akron matches, exploded for a first half hat trick scoring in the 12th, 24th, and 38th minutes.
It was Akron's first hat trick since current Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks achieved the feat against the same Bulls in the Zips' last meeting at Buffalo in 2011.
Senior Scott Caldwell, who assisted Brenes' second score, added his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 88th minute on a penalty kick. Akron has now gone 391 minutes without conceding a goal as senior David Meves picked up his 44th career Akron shutout—just four off the all-time record.
The Zips, who have won the last seven MAC regular-season titles, are also 42-2-3 against MAC schools under seventh-year head coach Caleb Porter. Moreover, UA has lost just once in its last 57 home matches (49-1-7), dating back to the start of the 2008 season. The win has them move up one spot in MLSsoccer.com's rankings to No. 3.
At least one Timbers fan attended the match at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field and made his way to greet Coach Porter.
— RCTID in OHIO (@RCTIDinOHIO) September 30, 2012
Here too is Porter talking postgame along with Brenes about the match against Buffalo as well as some highlights. It's a fascinating analysis of how Porter sees the game. Most dominating stat perhaps? Akron did not allow a Buffalo shot on goal for the entire match:
Speaking of Brenes, the midfielder/defender made TopDrawerSoccer.com's Team of the Week along with Timbers U-23s' goalkeeper Spencer Richey who picked up a shutout for the Washington Huskies in their 1-0 win over Oregon State. Fellow Timbers U-23s' goalkeeper Justin Baarts also had a shutout for the University of Portland on Friday when the Pilots blanked the San Francisco Dons.
When things are clicking, things are clicking.
Caleb Porter and the Akron Zips began the defense of their Mid-America Conference title on Friday night with a 2-0 win over Bowling Green--their third shutout in a row. Senior David Maves, the reigning MAC Player of the Week, continued in his quest to unseat Evan Bush as the all-time Akron leader in shutouts making six saves. Freshman Alfred Koroma (right) and senior Scott Caldwell both tallied goals for Akron while the team peppered Bowling Green with 30 shots--a 14-3 advantage in the first half alone. Caldwell leads the Zips with five goals in eight games in 2012.
It was Porter’s 39th straight league match without a loss going back to 2007—good for third on the NCAA's list for the longest conference unbeaten streak. UA improved to 82-1-3 when scoring two or more goals and 100-3-4 when scoring first under Coach Porter.
After their two wins, MLS on Campus rankings has the Zips holding steady at No. 4 with shoutouts for Colorado Rapids Academy freshman attacking midfielder Dillon Serna and predict the New England Revolution will move to sign Caldwell as a Homegrown player at season's end.
The Zips will continue MAC play next weekend when they host Buffalo Saturday night at 4:30pm PT, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Elsewhere in the college ranks, former Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans dropped a first-half hat trick for the University of Portland on Seattle University in the Husky Fever Classic in Washington only to fall 4-3 in the match. The Pilots lost to No. 21 Brown on Sunday 2-0 and are currently 2-4-1 on the year. Also at the same tournament in Seattle, Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Spencer Richey picked up a shutout in University of Washington's 2-0 win over Seattle University on Sunday.
Heading south to Oregon State University and things are definitely clicking for Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman (right). The senior was named TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Player of the Week and was included in the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for his offensive explosion last week. The striker had a hat trick in a 6-1 win over Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday and then a double overtime golden goal against UC-Irvine in Sunday’s 1-0 thriller both as part of the Oregon State Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic tournament.
Fellow Timbers U-23s Roberto Farfan and Chris Harms joined Welshman on the all-tournament team. Apparently, teammate Farfan helped teach Welshman how to cook (watch video below).
You can watch this Beavers trio on the Pac-12 Networks next Sunday at 4pm PT as they take on Spencer Richey and the Univ. of Washington Huskies.
Former Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans continues to impress at the University of Portland. He scored an incredible golazo already featured on The Backcut and is one of the Pilots featured in their new athletic department ad campaign.
Most recently, however, the Oregonian did a feature on Evans saying he "is close to becoming one of the program's all-time greats." Given UP's track record at producing some excellent players over the years--Heath Pearce, Steve Cherundolo, Kasey Keller to name but a few--that is high praise.
A veteran of a national championship with Portland youth club Eastside United--now adidas Timbers Alliance club Eastside Timbers--as well as the 2012 Timbers U-23s PDL championship, Evans isn't letting all his recent Pilot success go to his head.
"It's nice to see your hard work is paying off, but I'd rather the team have a good season," Evans said.
Also of note is MLSsoccer.com's latest MLS on Campus power rankings which has Caleb Porter and his University of Akron team moving up a spot to #4 overall.
Caleb Porter led his Akron Zips into their first home matches this past weekend since being named head coach of the Portland Timbers. Taking on some nationally ranked programs and playing in front of a national TV audience on Friday night on FOX Soccer, the Zips wrapped up the weekend winning The University of Akron Tournament and placing six players on the all-tournament list.
On Friday, the Zips drew 0-0 with No. 10 St. John’s with senior goalkeeper David Meves picking up the shutout. Meves led the team again on Sunday with another clean sheet as Akron blew past No. 11 South Florida 5-0. Senior midfielder Scott Caldwell had two goals in the match and was named the tournament’s Offensive MVP while Meves garnered Defensive MVP honors. With the back-to-back shutouts for Meves, he now sits six shy of the all-time school record held by Evan Bush—currently a goalkeeper for the Montreal Impact. Zips Eric Stevenson, Dillon Serna, Chad Barson, and Aodhan Quinn joined Meves and Caldwell on the All-Tournament Team.
Also of note was Akron Beacon Jounal writer Marla Ridenour writing about how the AK-ROWDIES—Akron's student fan section (right)—reacted to Porter’s decision to join the Timbers. Porter has spent years helping grow the student supporters section. In his first seasons at Akron, Porter would buy students pizza at halftime out of his own pocket if there were more than 100 of them in the stands. He went to Rowdies meetings, helped with bus trips to away matches, and worked to get them to the 2009 national championship game. In short, he helped build and expand a supporters culture that is among the best in college soccer.
Some highlights from the article:
--Speaking before the game, past and present Rowdies seemed happy that Porter is following his dream to the MLS.
“He’s too great a talent to spend the rest of his time in the NCAA,’’ said Cody Perdew, a UA junior from East High School. “There’s no reason for him to spend 10 years at Akron. He belongs somewhere better.
--Perdew wasn’t the only one who thought seven seasons at UA were enough for Porter
“You can hardly criticize a man for taking the next step toward greatness,” said Ryan McClellan, a 2010 UA graduate from Akron.
--“I love Caleb Porter and I wish him the best,” said Nate Hess, a UA senior from Ashland who was wearing what looked like a Speedo and a blanket.
With blanket-and-Speedo-wearing ROWDIES, the Timbers Army should be familiar environment for Porter.
On Friday night, as FOX Soccer cameras broadcast the game, many AK-ROWDIES wore green as a show of support for Porter’s Portland choice. Next season, it should come as little surprise if there’s some extra green in the stands when the Timbers head to Ohio.
Christina Marion, a 2011 UA graduate from Warren Howland, said the announcement was “a big surprise.”
“I don’t think everyone expected it this soon,” Marion said. “But he’s with his former players, he’s in a better place. I’ll still cheer for him and try to visit the Columbus Crew when [the Timbers] are in town.”
Akron will next open up Mid-American Conference play next weekend at Bowling Green. The Zips and Falcons will kick off at 4pm PT, next Saturday.
Darlington Nagbe has had a very busy couple of weeks. His former Univ. of Akron head coach, Caleb Porter, was named head coach of the Timbers. He had a camera crew follow him around for MLS 36 for NBCSports. He helped out with a special project with MLS Digital and EA Sports that will air soon. His jersey is one of the top selling kits in MLS. And he came in at #15 on the MLS 24 Under 24 list.
But Saturday presented a rare opportunity to reunited with an old friend in Seattle Sounders midfilder Steve Zakuani. Both teammates under Porter while at the Univ. of Akron, the two had yet to actually take the field with each other due to Zakuani's leg injury that had kept him on the shelf for almost a year.
In a great article on SoundersFC.com, Zakuani spoke about playing against a friend with whom he shares a long history:
“It was great, you know. Last year, I didn’t get to play against him, so this year it was just good seeing him out there, and getting the chance to go against him,” Nagbe said. “It was fun. We both had fun.”
Like Zakuani in 2010, Nagbe is having success in his second MLS season. Zakuani was tied for the team-lead with ten goals in 2010, while Nagbe has six goals for the Timbers with still six games left on the schedule.
The success comes as no surprise to Zakuani, who has been carrying the Nagbe flag for years.
“I’ve known Darlington for a very, very long time and always said he’s a great player. He’s maturing more and more,” Zakuani said. “I still think he has a long way to go, because I think he has so much quality. I was happy to, for the first time, play against him at this level. I wish him to continue to become a good player.”
Zakuani goes on to talk about his friendship--he'll be in Nagbe's wedding in the offseason--and says that he'd like to share the pitch with him some day again on the same side:
“He’s someone I like to always look out for and I wish him to keep playing the way he’s playing right now,” Zakuani said. “I wish maybe one day in the future we can play again together. But at this point he is with Portland and I’m with Seattle.
The Akron roots run deep for many players across MLS. Nagbe was reunited with with another former Zip and close friend, Teal Bunbury, earlier this season both for an adidas commercial and on the field. Moreover, wunderkind Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks, yet another former Akron teammate of Nagbe's, tweeted today about his thoughts on Nagbe's inclusion in the 24 Under 24 list.
@darlingtonnagbe should be in the top 5 easily for 24 under 24. Just saying
— Darren Mattocks (@DarrenMattocks) September 17, 2012
Can't wait for the Portland-Seattle Cascadia Cup showdown on NBC at 12:30 pm PT tomorrow?
Then get a look at soon-to-be Timbers head coach Caleb Porter as he leads his No. 9 Akron Zips against the undefeated No. 10 University of St. John's on FOX Soccer Channel at 4pm PT on Friday evening. The Zips are hosting the University of Akron Tournament this weekend at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field with the Red Storm in attendance along with No. 11 South Florida and Butler also participating.
All matches for all teams are also being streamed online free at GoZips.com.
Caleb Porter and the Akron Zips came out of the weekend with a split in two matches at the Mike Berticelli Mermorial Tournament in South Bend, Ind.
On Friday, the Zips beat No. 10 Indiana behind midfielder Eric Stevenson's 19th minute goal. Dillon Serna had beat his man on the left flank and crossed into Stevenson who fired just inside the right post. Senior 'keeper David Meyes picked up his third win and second shutout in the match.
Two days later, however, Akron suffered their first loss of 2012 as No. 17 host Notre Dame (5-0-0) defeated the shorthanded Zips 3-1. UA got off to a strong start as Alfred Koroma crossed in a fine ball that Scott Caldwell (right) corraled and fired from the top of the box to give the Zips an early 1-0 lead in the 4th minute. However, Aohdan Quinn received a straight red in the 30th minute, the Zips played the rest of the match a man down and the Fighting Irish were able to counter with three unanswered goals.
With Friday's 1-0 victory over No. 10 Indiana, UA finished second in the tournament. Chad Barson, Caldwell and Serna were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Porter and the Zips return to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field next weekend to play host to The University of Akron Tournament. UA will host St. John's Friday night at 4 p.m. PT on FOX Soccer Channel and South Florida Sunday at 4:30 p.m. PT.
ADDEDUM: MLSsoccer.com's Daniel Robertson says that Akron "had probably the toughest weekend of anyone in the country," but still rates them highly at #5 in their College Power rankings. He also points out that Friday's match on FOX Soccer Channel against St. John's is definitely one to watch as "practically every player you’ll see on Akron has a possible MLS future, either through the draft or via Homegrown signings."
The Akron Zips finished up their time in Nebraska at the Ameritas Classic with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over SIU Evansville. Senior Chad Barson and sophomore Bryan Gallego scored for Akron--both via great corner kick executions--and Caleb Porter's team improved to 2-0-1 on the season.
Gallego, Alfred Koroma-who had an equalizer against Creighton on Friday night--and Eric Stevenson were all named to the Ameritas Classic All Tournament team.
Also check out the Akron Beacon Journal's article about Porter's accepting of the Timbers job but staying with the Zips through the 2012 season. Writer Marla Ridenour says Porter is "leaving with class." It's a great piece that lauds Porter's loyalty to his Akron team and how Portland presented a dream job.