brian costello

27 June 9:31 am

David Horst has been picking up the honors this week with his CenturyLink Man of the Match performance in the memorable 2-1 victory over Seattle. MLSsoccer.com also bestowed an honorable mention to him in their Week 16 Team of the Week.

But perhaps most interesting is MLSsoccer.com taking a look at his first ever MLS goal in their great Anatomy of a Goal series. Calling his strike via Franck Songo'o's corner kick "textbook," editor Greg Lalas gives us the X's and O's of how Horst's gamewinner came to be.

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

26 June 9:23 pm

You like soccer. The people in your office like soccer. You all like soccer. It's simple.

But where can you get all the soccer-loving people in your office to play soccer? The 2012 Portland Timbers Corporate Cup, that's where.

A unique tournament that brings Pacific Northwest corporations together for soccer and corporate networking, the tournament also helps raise money for one of the Timbers' Stand Together Community Parthers: Portland YouthBuilders.

The tournament proper takes place over Aug. 10-12 at the Howard M. Terpenning Complex in the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District with a championship match happening at JELD-WEN Field on Aug. 18. There's a team social event at Kells Irish Pub, great networking opportunities and, oh yeah, a heck of a lot of soccer to be played over a short period of time.

Tournament brackets are broken into men’s competitive, men’s recreational or co-ed so there's opportunities for all. 

One key element: THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER YOUR TEAM IS THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 30.

Find out more on how to register and all the other details at www.timberscorporatecup.com

Update: Teams from Alaska Airlines, Widmer Brothers, CMD Portland, Wieden + Kennedy, Nike, Microsoft, the Portland Timbers front office & adidas all have registered teams so far. Come join in the fun!

25 June 11:10 am

The lunch hour is upon us. That means time for a sandwich. And with a sandwich you need bread. What's that you say? Franz bakes organic bread with special Timbers collectible cards?

Sandwiches just got even more exciting.

Starting today, Franz launched a special set of Timbers collectible cards that can be found in their Friday Harbor Organic Great Grain, Willamette Valley Organic Great Seed, Big Horn Valley Organic Whole Wheat, and San Juan Organic 9 Grain loaves.

Each package comes with one card and the complete set numbers 12 in all: John Spencer, Eric Alexander, Kalif Alhassan, Kris Boyd, Eric Brunner, Diego Chara, Jake Gleeson, Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe, Troy Perkins, Brent Richards and Franck Songo'o.

Who knows? Perhaps your new card will inspire you to create a newly named sandwich concoction. Happy hunting!

 

 

Update: Fox 12 Oregon went to Franz Bakery's headquarters in NE Portland to see the unveiling of the cards along with Timber Joey. 
 

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

22 June 8:31 am

While the Portland-Seattle Cascadia Cup rivalry chatter increases to a fevered pitch, let us not forget all the excitement happening over in the Euros. Portugal eliminated the Czech Republic 1-0 on Thursday in the quarterfinals and today at 11:45 am PT on ESPN, the formidable Germany will take on the suprising Greece.

Now you could watch Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas break down the game in a cool holographic virtual tabletop on ESPNFC.com. Which is great, no doubt. And looks like something from the future.

But perhaps you be better served going back a ways--both in history and in philosphical theory--by referencing the great Germany vs. Greece match so ably presented by Monty Python years ago:
 

What do you think? Who is Greece's new version of Socrates in this Euro 2012 clash? Or will the Germans triumph via the argument that "reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics"?

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

22 June 8:24 am

 Photo: Ethan Erickson

Jacob Klinger of Soccer 365.com has an excellent profile of the Timbers' Brent Richards as part of their series on MLS Homegrown players. It takes a look at how the Camas, WA native came to be Portland's first-ever Homegrown player and charts his career from youth to college to Timbers U-23s to the professional ranks.

With interviews from coaches and teammates, it's a great examination growth that Homegrown players can have on teams in the MLS.

As Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson says in the piece, 

"When you live in that same neighborhood you feel a little bit more desire. I think you’re willing to run through a brick wall," Wilkinson said. " ... I just feel it’s great for all concerned and all involved to have a local player on the field."

Head over to Soccer 365 and give the whole piece a read.

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

19 June 8:25 am

 Image: ESPN

As some of you may have begun to notice, there's a growing buzz about this upcoming match for the Timbers this weekend. Seattle Sounders FC is coming to town and that means Rivalry. That mean Intensity. That means Cascadia Cup. 

Though the Vancouver Whitecaps FC sit atop the Cascadia standings on two points having drawn both Seattle and Portland earlier in the season, Sunday's game is the first 2012 meeting between the Timbers and Sounders (2:00pm PT, ESPN, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940).

We'll be rolling out all kinds of special Cascadia coverage throughout the week with a look back at memorable moments, stories from supporters, and more. Take a look at Monday's flashback to a classic NASL Portland-Seattle battle to get you started.

ESPN is getting into the act as well. They partnered up with MLS and us to make some unique posters that you may see popping up in many of our local watering holes and pubs. The posters take a particular "angle" on the match (see right).

Moreover, there's a brand new promo that was created to whet your appetite as well:

Are you ready?

11 June 2:28 pm

The 2012 FIFA European Championships got off to a rousing start late last week with group play. Poland's Robert Lewandowski got things started with the first goal of the tournament. The celebration of over 100,000 people in Warsaw's central square was not to be missed.

While MLS has only one player in the mix this year--LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane is the captain of Ireland--there are a number of players who Portland fans may have come across via recent international friendlies with the Timbers. Will it help you pick your side? Who knows, but take a look:

Joe Hart for Manchester City at UP - Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer 

England
Roy Hodgson - The current England manager most recently was the head man for West Bromwich Albion when they came through Portland in 2011 and helped lead them to a 3-2 win. Euro 2012 marks Hodgson's first tournament with the Three Lions
Joe Hart - The current England starter in net was also the starting goalkeeper in Manchester City's 3-0 win over the USL-era Timbers in 2010 at the University of Portland.
Joleon Lescott - Part of the Manchester City travel roster in 2010, Lescott came on in the second half against the Timbers at UP. More recently, he started and scored England's only goal in their opening Euro 2012 1-1 draw with France on Monday.

Holland
Gregory van der Wiel - The young Dutch defender came to Portland last season as part of Ajax's U.S. trip and played the full 90 picking up an assist in their 2-0 exhibition win over the Timbers. Van der Wiel also started in Holland's 1-1 draw with Denmark last week.

Ireland
Simon Cox - Though English-born, Cox qualifies for Ireland from his grandmother's side. The West Bromwich Albion striker came on as a second half sub against the Timbers last July. He was also a 62nd minute addition for Ireland in their 3-1 loss to Croatia.
Shay Given - Part of the travel roster with Manchester City in 2010 when they played the USL-era Timbers at University of Portland, Given was held out of the match. He is currently the starting goalkeeper for the Irish and leads the squad witn 123 caps.

Sweden
Jonas Olsson - Another member of the West Brom squad who played here last season, the veteran Olsson was an unused sub in Sweden's 2-1 loss to Ukraine earlier today.

Looking to learn more about the Euros? Check out KickTV's coverage of the tournament. Former U.S. international and MLS defender Jimmy Conrad has been traveling about Poland and Ukraine taking in the sites, training, and the matches. It's a must watch if you want to get a feel for the pure fun that is the European tournament. As a sampler, take a look at his talking his way into the Spain-Italy match on Sunday:
 

07 June 2:41 pm

 The likeness is uncanny.

Our friends at Turner Construction--the builders behind the renovation of JELD-WEN Field--have been putting their construction know-how, support of the Timbers, and outreach in the community all to good use in the latest edition of Canstruction. Canstruction is a national organization working to end hunger having contributed over 17.5 million pounds of food to community food banks across the country since 1992.

They do it it by gathering donated cans of food and then letting teams utilze those cans in elaborate and creative artistic sculptures. Turner Construction created a massive Timbers crest out of hundreds of cans of donated food and their project is in the running for the Canstruction People's Choice Award. Simply head to their Facebook photo album and give them a like. You can also see the behemoth in person at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland. Voting runs through Sunday. VOTE!

 

06 June 12:32 pm

With today's acquisition of Danny Mwanga from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Jorge Perlaza, much has been made of Mwanga's Rose City roots. Originally born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mwanga and his family fled the Congolese civil war in 2006 to settle in Northeast Portland whereupon he starred for Jefferson High School (53 goals in nine games) and later for Oregon State University (Pac-10 Player and Freshman of the Year in 2009).

 Photo: Oregon State University 

Stephen Alexander of the Portland Tribune did a nice profile of Mwanga and the story of his journey to the United States when the then-Union forward came to take on the Timbers last season:

Mwanga was born into the bloodshed and sorrow of the Second Congo War. The war claimed the life of his father and forced his mother to flee the country, leaving Mwanga and his three older sisters behind. As a boy, Mwanga played soccer in the streets after school to forget some of the pain. A daring escape in June 2006 reunited Mwanga and his sisters with their mother in Northeast Portland.

It's a good read. Check it out here.

Searching through our own PortlandTimbers.com archives, last season Terry Horstman spoke with Mwanga's former Oregon State Beavers coach Steve Simmons as well as John Bain--president of Mwanga's youth team and adidas Timbers Alliance club, Westside Timbers. Bain is also a current Timbers alumni ambassador.

“He’s really humble, he really appreciates everybody, and he’s a really genuine and nice person.” Westside [Timbers] President and Timbers Ring of Honor inductee John Bain said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the surface of how good he’s going to be.”

At that same match in Portland last season, 400 of Mwanga's family and friends from the Westside team were in attendance. It's another great read.

The influence that Westside had on Mwanga is unmistakeable. In an article MLSsoccer.com did on Mwanga's homecoming, they talked about the role youth coach Monty Hawkins had on the young forward:

From teaching him how to drive to helping him find out where to go to school, Hawkins filled a very large void in the teenager’s life. “He helped me a lot and is a big part of my family,” Mwanga said.

Check out the full article here
.

Timbers fans in Oregon, do you remember Mwanga's youth in Portland? Share your stories and memories in the comments below.

01 June 11:22 am

Uruwa Red Diamonds of Asia, Wydad of Africa, Galatasaray of Europe, Boca Juniors of South America.

These are some of the best supported clubs in the world with incredible fans, tifo, and atmosphere. Jimmy Conrad of KickTV took a look at each continent--sorry Australia and Antarctica--to pick one club that has the best of the best.

His selection for the best supporters of North America? The Timbers Army.

Saying, "Nothing compares to Portland on the day of a game," Conrad goes on to explain why Portland is one of the best on the planet.
 

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.