brian costello

03 September 10:39 am

Photo Courtesy of GoZips.com

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. 

Head over to GoZips.com for the full recap. 

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.

01 September 1:51 am

Photo Courtesy of GoZips.com

In Caleb Porter's first University of Akron match after being named head coach of the Portland Timbers, the Zips came from behind to draw with #2 Creighton 1-1 in Omaha, NE on Friday night.

After going into the half down a goal for only the 11th time in Porter's seven years at the helm in Akron, the Zips found the equalizer in the 57th minute on a Alfred Koroma header.

Were it not for an offside call in the ensuing overtime, Akron would have come away with the win. As it was, they dominated both halves of the overtime outshooting the Bluejays 4-1.

Check out the recap on the GoZips.com website. Akron next plays SIU Edwardsville on Sunday morning at 10am PT in their final match of the Ameritas Classic in Omaha.

31 August 2:40 pm

As is well known by now, Caleb Porter will be the Timbers new head coach beginning in 2013. After a stellar career at the University of Akron, an NCAA national championship, buckets full of talented players who went on to MLS--including our own Darlington Nagbe, a slip up with the US U-23s and Olympic qualifying, and one final year with the Zips, Porter has decided to make the jump to the next level.

MLSsoccer.com's Jonah Freedman talks about what he calls "The Fraternity" of college coaches who made the same leap and the challenges they face: 

The 37-year-old Porter will join [Schellas] Hyndman, Bruce Arena, Thomas Rongen and Sigi Schmid. Those four have among them six MLS Cups, five Supporters’ Shields, five US Open Cups and seven MLS Coach of the Year awards among a laundry list of other accomplishments.

No pressure, right? By now, no one should be crying that college coaches don’t have the chops to make the jump directly to the pros. That quartet is clear proof they do.

Freedman goes on to explore what that pressure is like and how some of that quartet dealt with it to become successful in MLS. 

Read the whole thing over at MLSsoccer.com.

Meanwhile, Porter's Zips take on Creighton tonight at 5:30pm PT. There's a live webstream at NetNebraska.org.

27 August 11:16 am

Ian Hogg with Auckland City FC - Photo: OFC via Phototek

The Oceania Football Confederation--home federation for New Zealand Football--wrote a nice piece about new Timbers signing Ian Hogg recently that makes for a good read. A starter in all three matches for the Oly Whites at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Hogg played alongside Jake Gleeson who was also a member of the team.

"I'm just looking to take any opportunities I get given," said Hogg. And with Timbers GM/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson and assistant coach Cameron Knowles also being veterans of the All Whites New Zealand national team, Portland has a growing Kiwi contingent.

Read the article here.

The article refers to Hogg's first goal in his senior national team debut during a friendly against El Salvador earlier this spring in Houston. It's a pretty quick run down the left flank that leads to a confident strike. See it here (Fast foward to the 29:41 mark, commentary in Spanish).

Then watch Hogg's first training with the team from last week.

22 August 5:21 pm

Last week, famed English Premiere League club Manchester City announced a special program that would release loads upon loads of statistical information from the team’s 2011-2012 EPL season. They did this in a unique way to crowdsource ideas and analysis of players' performances. Gavin Fleig, Man City's head of performance analysis, told The Guardian, "The whole reason for putting this data out there is to open the doors. The data has value, previously it has been kept in-house and behind guarded doors, but there is a recognition now that clubs need to help this space develop."

Both Michael Lewis' Moneyball and Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski’s Soccernomics tell the story of the importance of statistical analysis in sports--Lewis' with baseball and Kuper and Szymanski's then building off of that to get into soccer. With Man City, their document is incredibly thorough and open to all after registering at their website. Broken out by player, there’s every match and every stat you could think of: Right Footed Shots off Target, Goals from Corners, Total Unsuccessful Passes Excluding Crosses, Corners and much much more. It’s a deep document.

But that kind of statistical analysis and, more importantly, access to it, is something that MLS has been similarly doing on a league-wide scale since last season as they rolled out their toolbox of features with Opta. Every Matchcenter page on MLSsoccer.com has up to the minute stats in game and the Chalkboard feature is filled to the brim with heat maps, pass stats, positioning information and more.

And with adidas’ new Smart Soccer platform having debuted at the 2012 MLS All-Star Game with an eye towards even more use in 2013, the importance of statistics and their meaning on the game becomes even deeper. See their latest ad running with quite a few cameos from Timbers players.

How do you see the focus on statistics changing the game? Got a thought? Let us know in the comments below or send us a note at thebackcut(at)portlandtimbers.com.

 

14 August 12:59 pm

Timbers teammates Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy are in the interesting situation this week of coming face-to-face with each other on the pitch far from JELD-WEN Field. Both players were called up to their respective national teams--Palmer for Jamaica and Purdy for El Salvador--to take part in an international friendly on Wednesday, August 15 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. at 5pm PT.

As both players are quite active on Twitter, the chatter began after Purdy's La Selecta beat Guatemala 1-0 in a friendly Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. Palmer noticed the win and tweeted a question about having a friendly wager for this week's match.
 

 

After some good-natured jibes back and forth the best idea was presented by a fan: The loser must make the winner dinner.
 

 

Now with both teams training in D.C., the two have run into each other as part of the preparations.
 

 

While the game does not count in any CONCACAF standings anywhere, it should present a great tune-up ahead of September's World Cup qualifiers. And for one of two Timbers teammates, it means a hearty meal and bragging rights.

09 August 11:25 pm

While we often post here in The Backcut about news and interesting soccer tidbits, cool events with team partners, and other assorted ephemera, this Saturday, August 11 presents a particularly easy way to mix your love of Timbers with beer and helping out a great cause.

Join defender David Horst and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson--Gleeson freshly returned from London 2012--along with Timbery Joey at Widmer Brothers Brewing at 929 N Russell Street this Saturday from 5-8pm for a special "Brother's Day" event. There will be live music, prizes - including a pair of 2013 season tickets, plus for $20, you get two Timbers Reserve League tickets for the match against the San Jose Earthquake Reserves on Aug. 26, two drink tokens to Brother's Day, and a Timbers scarf and keychain. 

All proceeds from the 21 and over event's beer sales and special ticket packages benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest--one of the Timbers Stand Together Pillar Partners.

Sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday evening.

07 August 5:19 pm


 

Remember how not that long ago, KeyBank was giving you free pizza and/or cookie dough at Papa Murphy's?

And remember how you could't lose as it was FREE?

Well, they're at it again this Thursday buying free Burgerville cheeseburgers for all. All you need to do is visit the Convention Center Burgerville (1135 NE MLK Blvd., Portland, OR  97232) between 4-5pm and you get free eats. KeyBank clients, show your KeyBank debit card and you’ll be upgraded to a basket at no charge!

Also, Timbers players David Horst, Hanyer Mosquera and Sal Zizzo will be on site as well.*

So again, how can you lose?

(You can't. It's free.)

Be sure to check out more of KeyBank's Summer of Rewards as they've planned a whole slew of goodies to keep an eye out for.

*Player appearances subject to change.

06 August 10:25 am

Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

As the US Women's National Team continues their run at London 2012 for Olympic gold, they'll have to go through Canada to do it. Unbeaten in the group stage and dispatching New Zealand in the quarterfinals, the USWNT now face a spirited Canada later this morning following the France-Japan semifinal (11:30am, NBC Sports Network).

The two teams know each other well. It was just about a year ago when JELD-WEN Field hosted a friendly between the USA and Canada in a match that had three University of Portland alums in it--Megan Rapinoe and Stephanie Lopez for the US and Sophie Schmidt for Canada. While Lopez is not on this Olympic squad this time around, Rapinoe and Schmidt look to feature heavily today in London. Moreover, Christine Sinclair, who did not play in last year's friendly in Portland, is another University of Portland player who directs much of the Canadians' attack.

Back at JELD-WEN Field last September, Wambach had two goals while Rapinoe was snakebit but with all the Cascadian connections on the field, it made for a decidedly special night in the Rose City. Take a look at the postgame video from last year then be sure to watch the Olympic semifinal later this morning. 
 

03 August 8:23 pm

Long is the list of numerous and creative Timbers Army chants that are used to thunderous effect on matchdays.

But the TA is also well known for their commitment to their town through a robust and developed community outreach programs. Whether it be helping through Operation Pitch Invasion and their efforts to repair and improve soccer fields throughout Portland or their work at fundraising for the unique Harper's Playground project, the TA volunteer efforts run deep.

Tomorrow, the Timbers Army are helping put on a unique show that combines their famous chants with distinctive art. Partnering with Portland design collective Factory North and a host of other talented designers and artists, the Timbers Army are putting on Art Takeover: Operation Harper's Playground aims to raise money for the still under construction Harper's Playground in North Portland. The Harper's Playground project is an initiative aiming to build a fully accessible playground for children and adults of all abilities can come together to play.

Perhaps the coolest part of all this? Each poster created is built and designed around a unique phrase pulled from the litany of famous Timbers Army chants. And at only $30 a print, each item is a steal of a deal. The list of artists is impressive including OMFGCo, Jolby and Justin "Scrappers" Morrison. Visit their website for a full list of designers and get a sneak peek of some of the posters to be on display. There's a total of 30 artists with editions of 50 made for each handpulled artist signed and numbered print.

So what are you waiting for? Head to Coava Coffee on 1300 SE Grand Avenue tomorrow anytime between 8am-6pm (or a special 21+ 7-10pm reception the same night) and get your poster then come Sunday to cheer on the Timbers as they take on FC Dallas at JELD-WEN Field.

Watch the great video for a complete rundown of the whole shebang: