Cascadia

28 January 1:08 pm

The Timbers left yesterday for Arizona to continue their 2013 preseason training in Tucson and will take part in a series of matches known as The Desert Friendlies. Hosted by USL Premiere Development League club FC Tucson, the Timbers will play Colorado Rapids, Sporting KC, Seattle Sounders, and FC Tucson all within the course of two weeks

The Desert Friendlies are part of a month-long Soccerfest that has grown over the past two years in Tucson. Spearheaded by FC Tucson, the month includes a Canada-Denmark--the first international friendly ever held in Tucson--the Desert Diamond Cup tournament, an art show, a film night hosted by the Kicking + Screening Film Festival, and much more.

Tucson Weekly dives into just how this big project started and has grown in a town once known for hosting Major League Baseball spring training programs:

"Soccer has always been there, under the radar," says Chris Keeney, a co-owner of pro club FC Tucson and one of a handful of people spearheading the push to make Tucson a soccer mecca. "I think people, especially in Tucson, are ready to buy into something they can call their own." Keeney is a recent transplant to Tucson, having come here from Houston, where he worked in marketing and public relations for the NFL's Houston Texans. Prior to that, he spent time in the front office of three different Major League Soccer teams, and he considers Tucson a ripe market for soccer growth.

Plus, with a new stadium in the works for FC Tucson, the soccer continues to increase its footprint out west. 

Be sure to watch The Desert Friendlies as they stream live on www.portlandtimbers.com. In Tucson? Ticket info is here.

17 January 10:36 pm

MLS's Armchair Analyst, Matthew Doyle, knows this 2013 MLS SuperDraft backwards and forwards. A veritable genius on tactical analysis, Doyle spent the whole of the past week at the MLS Combine looking and thinking about who should go where and why. 

He did a recent winners and losers take on the recent draft and had this to say on the Timbers second round pick-up of defender Dylan Tucker-Gangnes:

"First of all, I . . . could argue that he’s the most MLS-ready of the center backs on offer, so just on a nuts-and-bolts level, it was the right pick. As important, though, is that Portland took a kid who is Seattle born-and-bred, and University of Washington star, one pick before the Sounders were up. Seattle fans flipped their collective bean in the live chat, on Twitter and elsewhere."

Read the whole thing here. Safe to say, he loved the selection.

17 January 2:48 pm

The adventures of the Portland Timbers on tour for Dribble Oregon 2013 continued yesterday with Danny Mwanga, Eric Alexander and myself venturing into the snow and ice of Klamath Falls. Our furthest trip on this year’s tour was made easy thanks to JELD-WEN. Our flight was amazing due to the inversion forcing the clouds into the valley and exposing all the mountains of the cascades to those above 5,000 feet. Mt. Hood, Jefferson, Broken Top, Three Finger Jack, the Three Sisters, Bachelor, Diamond and Crater Lake were all crystal clear in the sunshine, and entertained us on the trip south. This trip marked the third clinic the Timbers have put on in Klamath Falls. The fans there are great and continuously show their support by wearing Timbers green.  

The boys started the day with two clinics teaching kids, ages 5-12, passing, dribbling and shooting skills. I'm not sure who wore out who, as both the coaches and kids seemed out of breath following each clinic. Questions from kids ranged from "Who's your favorite player?" to "Why do you like soccer?" All in all, it was a fun time for everyone with lots of laughs.

Our pub stop was back at the Creamery for the second year in a row. The Creamery is a large brew pub with a fire place, couches and great food. As much as I try to avoid gluten and dairy, I couldn't help but order their mac and cheese wedges. They are amazing and I can't stop talking about them (I may have a problem.) It was great to see familiar faces from years past and other stops on this year’s current tour. Andrew and Dalton came up from Shasta, CA for the Medford stop and then met us again at the Creamery. The meet and greet session brought tons of questions and answers that showcased the guys’ personalities. The room filled with laughter when Danny and Eric danced Danny's goal celebration dance, and then filled with applause when Danny explained that his mom was his hero. Both guys explained that they are very proud to be Portland Timbers and are looking forward to playing under Coach Porter. One more stop on this year’s trip. Looking forward to Astoria on Saturday. I hope to see you there!

14 January 12:38 pm

Photo: David Blair

Just home from our second weekend of Dribble Oregon where I was joined by David Horst and Jake Gleeson for a bus adventure that took us to Medford and Eugene. 

Medford is a great town. Full of history and nature. We planted trees with Friends of Trees Saturday morning along Bear Creek, a tributary of the mighty Rogue River. The trees that we planted will shade the creek keeping it cool for salmon as they spawn. We even planted a few wild roses hoping they bring luck to our new team.

Our clinic was busy with Timbers fans and future stars. I was worn out from kicking and chasing soccer balls with the kids. My former rodeo traveling partner surprised me with his son at the camp. It was great to catch up with him and see his son running around with the coaches.

Sometime during the autograph session I noticed Jake's accent had turned from Kiwi to kind of Russell Brandish English. I confronted him about it in Eugene the next night and he confirmed that it was true though he did not know why. I am sure there are pictures floating around of David sticking his tongue out at a little girl. I can attest that he did not start this battle nor did he win. Best set of questions at the clinic, "Why is soccer so hard?" asked by a young male participant followed by, "Why is soccer so easy?" asked by the girl who beat David.

Finally time to relax at 4 Daughters Irish Pub. We met with fans from as far away as Shasta City, CA.

I enjoyed the bus ride to Eugene though I'm not sure the rest of the group did as I sang along to all the songs from Rock of Ages. Thankfully Jake helped me with some of the duets. 

Eugene's tree planting was a completely opposite experience from the day before. We planted pine trees in a grass lot formerly used as a gravel parking lot. It was quite the struggle to get the holes dug but today there are nine new trees making the lot look more like a park.

Kick City
is a great indoor facility with two fields a soccer store and a pub complete with TVs that happened to be showing the NFL Playoffs. We were entertained the entire time. Eugene taught me one thing, I am not and will never be a goalie. I took shots to my chest, legs and head (thankfully protected by a helmet) that I never saw coming and I have finally admitted to myself that I am indeed "sluggish." If I recall correctly David took a good shot as he was playing out of position. Thankfully there was time to relax following the sessions as we signed autographs and took pictures with all the kids.

After the clinic it was off to The Old Pad. Another great pub full of Timbers fans. My cousin Kindy came down to surprise me! It was great to see her and all the Timbers Army Echo Squadron. There we learned that both Jake and David had great first cars, are looking forward to playing under Coach Porter and were happy to bring the Cascadia Cup to Portland where it belongs.

03 January 11:36 am

Followers of City Hall may remember that a friendly Twitter wager was placed last season between the three Cascadia Cup mayors of Portland's Sam Adams, Seattle's Mike McGinn, and Vancouver's Gregor Robertson. The stakes were simple: the mayors of the two losing MLS teams had to wear the Cascadia Cup victor's team jersey.

While the jury is still out on Vancouver, Seattle's Mayor McGinn fulfilled his end of the bargin over the holiday break:

Here's hoping that Cascadia Cup stays right here in the Rose City in 2013.

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.

 

06 October 11:15 am

By now, you've seen Off Pitch with Hermes. If you haven't, catch up. You may also be somewhat aware that Jimmy Conrad was here for the last time we played Seattle interviewing Merritt Paulson, chainsawing, joining the Timbers Army, going to Kicking + Screening Portland, and podcasting with the Backcut.

What you may not know is that somehow KICKTV got Hermes and Conrad together for a unique Portland mashup all about soccer in Oregon and the importance of Cascadia.

Here's the weird, wonderful and magical result:
 

05 October 9:09 am

Who are you? Timbers Army in Seattle

There are Timbers fans everywhere. Portland, Gresham, Bend, New York, New Zealand.

Seattle.

Being a Timbers fan deep in Sounders territory is no easy feat. Do you wear your Timbers kit to Pike Place Market? How do you get down to JELD-WEN Field for games? Are there others out there like you?

We found one. However, he would only agree to an interview if we picked a pseudonym. Settling on the name "Mr. Pine"--chosen after the street of the same name that runs through both downtown Portland and Seattle--I spoke to him about the difficulties of rooting from afar, how often he gets down to Portland for games, and what it's like when the Timbers Army comes north to the Emerald City.

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.

03 October 10:49 am

Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

 

Yahoo! Finance's Businessweek.com just published a list of America's Best Cities with Portland coming in at No. 5 overall. Utilizing a number of different criteria (number of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, professional sports teams, park acres by population) along with economic data, Stumptown made the list on account of it being "beloved of America’s hipsters, do-it-yourselfers, and localist foodies."

Another big reason? "[The] popular recent arrival is the city’s Major League Soccer team, the Portland Timbers, which regularly sells out its games."

Take a look.

03 October 9:41 am

Last Saturday afternoon ahead of the Timbers-D.C. United match, NBC Sports aired the excellent MLS 36 episode devoted to Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe. The concept of the show follows a player for 36 hours on and off the field in the lead-up to the match. In Nagbe's case, it was all shot ahead of the Timbers 2-1 win over Vancouver in August--a match where scored.

But I know how these things go. On Saturday, maybe you were too busy pre-functioning for the Timbers match that you missed it, your DVR went on the fritz, you were playing your own soccer game in the backyard. These things happen.

Never fear, the excellent episode featuring Nagbe is set to rebroadcast numerous times. Here's a handy schedule for you to mark your calendar:

Oct. 5 - 1:30pm PT, NBC Sports Network
Oct. 6 - 8:30pm PT, ROOT SPORTS
Oct. 10 - 1:30pm PT, NBC Sports Network
Oct. 12 - 12:30pm PT, NBC Sports Network
Oct. 12 - 6:30pm PT, KPTV (in place of Timbers in 30)
Oct. 21 - 3:00pm PT, ROOT SPORTS (following the Vancouver-Portland Cascadia rivalry match)
Oct. 23 - 1:00pm PT, NBC Sports Network
Oct. 25 - 4:30pm PT, NBC Sports Nework
Oct. 30 - 1:00pm PT, NBC Sports Network
Oct. 31 - 1:30pm PT, NBC Sports Nework
Oct. 31 - 9:30pm PT, NBC Sports Network

Here's a teaser to get you hooked.