brian costello

25 November 10:51 pm

Akron's Reinaldo Brenes (7) and
Creighton's Andrew Ribeiro (28) (Photo via GoZips.com)

“Well, there’s a lot of pain in that locker room over there, a lot of emotion. I feel the same. I don’t think this is anything we saw coming.”

Those were the words of an emotional University of Akron head coach Caleb Porter following his Zips' suprise 5-4 loss on penalties to Creighton in the 2012 NCAA College Cup third round match at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes via an Akron 12th minute goal from 2012 Zips breakout star Reinaldo Brenes and a Creighton 83rd minute equalizer from Timo Pitter, neither team was able to find another goal after the two overtime periods. Despite outshooting the Bluejays 31-11 for the match and 11-2 in the extra periods, the Zips could not pull out the win. Their best chance came in the first overtime period when Akron was given a penalty after a Creighton handball in the box. Zips captain Scott Caldwell struck the ball well only to be foiled by a strong save from Creighton's keeper.

It was a surprising and abrupt end not only to the Zips’ incredible season but also to Porter’s seven years in Akron.

Though the match meant the end of this phase of Porter’s career and he will be met by an eager Timbers fan base excited for his time to begin in Portland, it was a loss that was definitely felt hard.

To put Porter’s accomplishments at UA in perspective, here’s some numbers to consider:

-He finished his Akron career with a seven-year record of 123-18-17
-During his watch, Akron posted the highest winning percentage among all Division I schools
-Porter led the Zips to the school's first team national championship in any sport in 2010 and became one of the fastest coaches in NCAA history to reach 100 career wins in 2011
-The Zips' 18 wins in 2012 included 16 shutouts
-Akron allowed just eight goals in 22 matches this year

Needless to say, Porter leaves behind a formidable legacy. The Akron Beacon Journal has a nice recap of the match as well as a photo gallery of the difficult night in Akron.

But Porter wasn’t the only Timbers connection in the match. The 12th seeded Creighton side that beat the Zips featured two Timbers U-23s players in senior co-captain Andrew Ribeiro—who assisted on the game-tying goal and converted his penalty kick in the shootout—as well US U-20s defender Eric Miller. The Bluejays now move on to face 4th seeded UConn.

That duo, along with Louisville’s Brock Granger, are the only remaining Timbers U-23s left in the tournament. The Cardinals eliminated Northwestern 2-1 on Sunday and next take on 2nd seeded Maryland in the Elite Eight.

For a full bracket of the tournament, visit NCAA.com.

19 November 6:05 pm

Eric Stevenson (Photo via GoZips.com)

Caleb Porter and the Akron Zips began their quest for the 2012 NCAA Championship with a 2-1 victory over the Univ. of Michigan Sunday afternoon in front of 3,264 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.

Led by goals from Eric Stevenson (right) and Thomas Schmitt, the victory kept UA undefeated at home this season (10-0-1) as well as a perfect 6-0-0 against Big Ten schools. They have not lost at home in five years.

Porter spoke postgame about what it meant to win this game:

Senior Zips goalkeeper David Meves made four saves on the day and with a full 90 minutes on the pitch, he became the NCAA's all-time minutes leader with 8,498 over his four-year career. Meves already holds the NCAA the record for all-time shutouts.

The Akron Beacon Journal’s Marla Ridenour has a great profile on Meves. In her observations of the game, she wrote about a diving stop Meves made early in the match on a shot destined for the upper corner, “If keepers could fly, Meves had wings. ‘Yeah, I got up there a little bit,’ Meves admitted.”

Next up, on Nov. 25 Porter and the Zips host 12th seeded Creighton who defeated the University of Washington 4-2 yesterday in Omaha. Timbers U-23s Eric Miller (also a US U-20 national team member) and Andrew Ribeiro featured for the Jays in that match as did goalkeeper Spencer Richey who started for UW.

The Zips remain ranked No. 1 overall by TopDrawerSoccer.com and No. 2 on MLSsoccer.com.

 

16 November 2:55 pm

Tomorrow marks an entire day of high school soccer as all soccer classifications from 1A to 6A and from boys to girls will gather at two different fields in Hillsboro to crown a slew of Oregon state champions. With games kicking off as early as 10:30am you'll be able to see some of the top teams in the state battle it out at Hillsboro Stadium and Liberty High School:

@ Hillsboro Stadium
» 10:30am - 5A Girls - Sherwood vs. Summit
» 1pm - 5A Boys - Woodburn vs. Mountain View
» 3:30pm - 6A Girls - Thurston vs. Clackamas
» 6pm - 6A Boys - Lincoln vs. Jesuit

@ Liberty High School (Hillsboro)
» 10:30am - 3A/2A/1A Girls - Valley Catholic vs. Oregon Episcopal
» 1pm - 3A/2A/1A Boys - Riverdale vs. Oregon Episcopal
» 3:30pm - 4A Girls - Mazama vs. Gladstone
» 6pm - 4A Boys - Philomath vs. La Salle Prep

Lincoln High School--just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Timbers home field of JELD-WEN Field--will take on Jesuit in the 6A Boys championship at 6pm. The Cardinals had a wild ride to the final and if you want a taste of the fun and exuberance that is high school soccer, watch this postgame video filmed by Oregonlive.com after Lincoln defeated Clackamas in the semifinals on Tuesday night:

Tickets are only $8 for adults, $5 for students and can be purchased on-site at the stadium.

15 November 1:54 pm

The opening matches of the 2012 NCAA College Cup tournament got underway today--Michigan State beat Cleveland State 2-1 while Virginia downed Lafayette 1-0--and there are numerous teams in the full field of 48 that are the beloved alma maters of Portland Timbers players:

Eric Alexander - Indiana University with the No. 16 seed
Freddie Braun
- Louisville with the No. 10 seed
Bright Dike - Notre Dame with the No. 1 seed
David Horst - Old Dominion
Andrew Jean-Baptiste - UConn with the No. 4 seed
Jack Jewsbury - Saint Louis University with the No. 8 seed
Kosuke Kimura - Western Illinois
Darlington Nagbe - Univ. of Akron with the No. 5 seed (more on that in a bit)
Brent Richards - Univ. of Washington
Chris Taylor - Univ. of Tulsa with the No. 11 seed
Rodney Wallace - Univ. of Maryland with the No. 2 seed

Clearly, the college game is still churning out talent.

But in that mix of seeds, the placement of Akron at No. 5 did leave some scratching their heads. Future Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter's Zips finished ranked No. 1 on numerous national polls and yet still missed out on a Top 4 seed. While they will host their first match and possibly second, to get to the final four, they'll have to go on the road--most likely against UConn. Their seeding has drawn some questions--most noticably from the Akron Beacon Journal

While Porter was a bit "ticked off," he's focused on winning the whole thing,“Once that wears off though, it is back to business. For me it comes down to we have to win five games to win the national championship. It just so happens the road could be a little tougher.”

(The initial post listed 10 mistakenly omitting Eric Alexander's Indiana. Thanks to @IUMensSoccer for the correction.)

14 November 11:08 am

The USMNT battled back to pull off a 2-2 draw with Russia in a friendly early this morning--well, early in Portland anyways. The draw was due in no small part to Roma midfielder Michael Bradley who scored this beautiful volley via Chivas USA's Juan Agudelo to pull the Americans even at 1-1:

But then Bradley also played this incredible ball forward in stoppage time that Mix Diskerud eventually got on the end of to pull off a miraculous draw:

MLSsoccer.com has a recap of the match and the MLS Analyst Matt Doyle breaks the game down with "Three Things We Learned." 

Plus, don't forget, Timbers forward Bright Dike will be with Nigeria today as they take on Venezuela in Miami at 4:55pm PT on ESPN3.com and midfielder Franck Songo'o's Indomitable Lions of Cameroon take on Albania in Switzerland at 11:45am PT.

13 November 6:33 pm

Will Bright Dike make his international debut tomorrow in Nigeria's friendly against Venezuela at Marlins Park in Miami? Watch the match online at ESPN3.com (4:55pm PT--certain cable subscriptions required) to find out. 

Can't wait till then? Then be up and at 'em early tomorrow to watch the USMNT take on Russia on ESPN2 (7am PT). You can also watch the match stream on ESPN3.com. In the meantime, check out this USsoccer.com piece on Dutch-based American forward Jozy Altidore who made his way back into Jurgen Klinsmann's side for this upcoming friendly:

13 November 4:47 pm

Rubio Rubin (Photo via USsoccer.com)

Timbers U-16 Academy forward Rubio Rubin has been busy. Already named the No. 1 U.S. Player in the Class of 2014 by TopDrawerSoccer.com, he's also been traveling the world playing with the US U-17 national team. With eight goals for the US so far in 2012, the Beaverton, OR native was recently nominated for U.S. Soccer's Young Male Athlete of the Year.

Though Rubio is up against some stiff competition that includes USMNT senior squad member Terrence Boyd--who's on the roster for tomorrow's friendly against Russia (7am PT on ESPN2 & ESPN3.com)--the honor is controlled via fan voting. 

What are you waiting for? Get voting for Rubin!

12 November 4:10 pm

Photo: GoZips.com

Caleb Porter and the University of Akron Zips cruised to their ninth Mid-America Conference Tournament Championship overall and fifth in the last six seasons with a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois University yesterday. Goals by Wil Trapp and Saad Abdul-Salaam led the way.

The game extended the Zips' run of 47 games without a loss in MAC play—a streak that goes all the way back to 2007. Prior to beating NIU, UA was victorious in the tournament semifinals on Friday with a 5-0 mauling of Bowling Green.

The Zips, who posted their 16th shutout of the season on Sunday, have won their last 14 games and are unbeaten in their 15. UA has earned a clean sheet in each of its last six matches and has allowed just goal in its last 1,361 minutes of play.

Listen to to head coach Porter talk about the championship win and watch highlights from the game:

Fresh from their big win, UA went on to acquire the 5th seed in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship tournament. With the high seed, they receive a bye into the second round and will host the winner of Niagra and the University of Michigan on Nov. 18. Bright Dike’s alma mater, Notre Dame, received the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

The Portland Pilots women had an emotional weekend themselves as they pulled out a win on penalties against the Washington State Cougars Friday night at Merlo Field in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Pilots junior goalkeeper Erin Dees made three (!) saves during the penalty shootout before WSU’s final attempt flew over the bar.

The Pilots had fallen behind twice before rallying to draw even at 2-2. WCC Defender of the Year Kendall Johnson—who played her high school soccer in the shadow of JELD-WEN Field at Lincoln High—got Portland on the scoreboard just before the half while Michelle Cruz found the equalizer.

Watch the thrilling highlights and see Dees’ string of saves here:

UP next face Michigan at State College, PA on Friday, Nov. 16 in the next round of the NCAA tournament.

09 November 4:59 pm

Anticipation and expectations run high this weekend as the University of Akron Zips gear up to host the MAC Championship tournament this weekend. It also means the end is nearing for head coach Caleb Porter for his time there before taking over the reins at Portland.

The NCAA tournament still looms large on the horizon for the Zips but for four seniors--goalkeeper David Meves, midfielder Scott Caldwell, defender Chad Barson and forward Thomas Schmitt--their time at UA is also drawing to a close. All four were part of the 2010 College Cup championship team--alongside Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe--and also help symbolize the type of soccer Porter has built during his time with the Zips.

"It’s fitting that they’re graduating in my last year as well, because I feel like they embody a lot of the qualities that I really want Akron soccer to be known for.”

College soccer expert Travis Clark and has a great piece inTopDrawerSoccer.com on what this season has meant to Porter and his senior class. Go read it.

09 November 10:41 am

Dunseth (broadcasting) & Charles (NASL era)

You may recognize the voice of Brian Dunseth as it has become fairly ubiquitous across the American soccer spectrum. A soccer analyst on NBC Sports, Fox Soccer—often paired with our very own John Strong—as well as on Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas games, Dunseth has become a keen observer of Major League Soccer which should come as little surprise given his long playing career in MLS.

The first ever signing to the Project 40 initiative in 1997—now more commonly known as Generation adidas—Dunseth went on to play for the New England Revolution, Miami Fusion, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, and Real Salt Lake. After his playing career ended, Dunseth got into broadcasting but also teamed up with his old college teammate from Cal State Fullerton, Ben Hooper, to start a clothing company called Bumpy Pitch that bridges soccer, culture, history, and style. That same theme led their foray into an online “magazine” of sorts called The Original Winger that collects stories about soccer, shoes, watches, fashion, movies, music, and more.

But Dunseth also has a unique affinity to Portland. In 2000, he was the captain of a loaded US Olympic U-23s team that featured the likes of Frankie Hejduk, Ben Olsen, Conor Casey, Danny Califf and Landon Donovan as well as Timbers Alumni Ambassador Adin Brown. The head coach of that team was none other than Timbers legend Clive Charles who had a defining impact on Dunseth as a player and as a person.

In this episode of the Backcut, we talk about soccer in Portland, the influence of Charles both on a personal level and on American soccer, and much more. It’s an illuminating and emotional conversation. 

The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.