The last time around we faced Seattle, the Portland Timbers helped host a unique event known as the Kicking + Screening Film Festival. Set to the theme of rivalry, K+S Portland had films exploring the USA-Mexico rivalry, the long battles between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, panels with directors, producers and our own Mike Fucito--who has been on both sides of the Portland-Seattle divide--and much more.
Missed this one? Never fear. Rumors abound that K+S will return in 2013. Moreover, you can have your own mini K+S Festival courtesy of KICKTV as they stream online the full versions of The Ref (El Árbitro), about the daily life of a soccer refereem and FC Barcelona Confidential, a film with unprecedented look into the first season of president Joan Laporta's reign as president at the Spanish giant.
This one is for all the marbles.
The Portland Timbers head north to take on the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 7 at 6pm PT. Currently sitting atop the three-team standings for the Cascadia Cup between the Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Sounders, the Timbers could return home with the coveted cup if they draw or win at CenturyLink Field.
Unable to make it north for #SeattleAway? Do not fret, we'll be hosting a big bash at one of our esteemed Timbers Pub Partners but we want your help in deciding where. Vote on the poll at right to have your say about who should host and where you'll want to be when you watch this historic match.
The poll ends September 26 at 5pm PT.
In his latest Throw-in column for MLSsoccer.com, Jonah Freedman opines on how a precedent can set up a team's expectations. Whether it's the Cascadia Cup, Brimstone Cup, Trillium Cup, MLS Cup, U.S. Open Cup or more, Freedman posits that no matter the silverware, these trophies matter. They can help define, or at the very least, begin to define the direction a team aims to take. Given how close the Timbers are to winning this year's Cascadia Cup in what has been a difficult season, Freedman asks,
So what are fans supposed to make of these trophies? For Portland, it’s a sign of progress, a symbol of success upon which they can hang their hats in their second MLS season. It is perhaps a springboard to future glory, when a young team with a young coach can do great things as they evolve.
Noah Davis, contributor to NBC Sports' ProSoccerTalk.com as well as MLSsoccer.com, was in town recently for the Timbers-Sounder Cascadia match. But he also took note of the massive crowds generated for the MLS Reserve League games earlier this summer that drew on average this season 8,200. The Aug. 26 match against the San Jose Reserves set a new Reserve League record of 14,121--more than a regular season matches at New England and Chivas.
In his latest piece on Grantland, Davis writes about how with Reserve League tickets easier to come by and being affordable, the matches present opportunity to see rising stars play which the Rose City has quickly embraced:
In Portland, attending a reserve league game means seeing 19-year-old potential American star Charles Renken and the brilliant Colombian 18-year-old Sebastian Rincón. Hometown favorite, Brent Richards, a 22-year-old forward who starred for the University of Washington and the Timbers U-23 squad before signing as senior side's first homegrown player in January, is also a fixture. "We have a knowledgeable fan base and they know the quality that can come up through the reserves. I mean, Brent Richards is already a hero, and he's played what, a whole 45 minutes this year?" Fernando Machicado, who chairs the Game Day Ops and the Merchandise Committee for the Timbers Army, says. (Actually, it's closer to 200 minutes, but point taken.)
Moreover it's something MLS has taken notice of as well:
"I think clearly what's going on in Portland shows what the reserve league's potential is," MLS President Mark Abbott says. For most teams, it will take a long time to reach that potential, if they ever do, but, Abbott says it's undeniable that there's something special going on in Timbers Nation: "They have had some decent draws up in Seattle and occasionally in some other places, but nothing like we're seeing here in Portland."
Reserve League Highlights: Timbers set attendance record against San Jose Reserves
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
Perhaps the biggest moment of all was Conrad actually attending the Cascadia Cup showdown between the Timbers and Seattle Sounders at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday. There were bagpipes, there was facepaint, there was yelling and as part of his indoctrination to the experience, Conrad became a full fledged member of the Timbers Army, No Pity scarf and all.
Saturday is a big day for the Portland Timbers: big rivalry, big sandwiches . . . Big-Ass Sandwiches, to be exact.
Big Ass-Sandwiches will be serving up the “best sandwich in the Northwest,” according to The Travel Channel’s Adam Richman during Saturday’s match against Seattle (12:30pm PT, NBC, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940).
Taking over the Soccer City Grill concession stand on the east side of the stadium, Big-Ass Sandwiches will have their four original sandwiches available: a choice of roast beef, turkey or ham piled up with hand-cut fries, slathered in homemade bechamel cheddar fondue all in a Fleur De Lis ciabatta roll.
Big-Ass Sandwiches got its start after owners Brian and Lisa Wood went through a few layoffs in 2009. Instead of opening a restaurant, they tried their hand at popularizing their fries-on-sandwich technique, and the big-ass sandwich was born.
Brian and Lisa are also huge Timbers fans. “We have been going to games since the pre-MLS days. We have the ‘No Pity in the Rose City’ scarf hanging in the back of the cart and made shirts three or four years ago that said ‘Timber Joey is My Homeboy’ with part of the proceeds going to a local charity,” said Lisa. “We're vocal about our love for the game and team and offer 107ist and Axe Society discounts, so we've seen a lot of the Timbers fans become regulars at the cart.”
Big-Ass Sandwiches is the fourth food cart chosen by fans via Facebook to serve at the stadium through the Portland Timbers Food Cart Alliance (PTFCA).
“We're excited for the experience and love that we get to bring our crew along for the ride and feed a ton of people,” said Lisa. “We love the team and the fans and if it goes well, maybe we can do it again!”
PTFCA is looking for new members. Applications for PTFCA will be accepted for the remainder of the season. Another fan vote for the remaining two home matches will run this week.
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.
On Saturday's match against Vancouver Whitecaps (7:30pm PT, ROOT SPORTS, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940 Presented by KeyBank) Portland fans can try battered cod and haddock, courtesy of The Frying Scotsman.
The Frying Scotsman will serve out of the Soccer City Grill concession stand on the east side of the stadium, and offer battered cod fish and hand-cut chips for $8.50 and battered haddock, also with hand-cut chips for $9.50.
Owner and chef James King, originally from Ayrshire, Scotland, opened The Frying Scotsman as a food cart in 2009 after moving to Portland and looking for work as a chef. He bought his cart from a seller on Craigslist one morning and the rest is history.
“I am not sure I could have done this in Scotland, or anywhere else in the US for that matter," said King. "I am very happy that Portland has afforded me the opportunity to do this."
Portland’s only Scottish fish and chip joint – or “chippy” can be found on SW 9th and Alder Streets.
The Frying Scotsman is the second of four food carts selected by fans via Facebook to serve at the stadium.
“I was really proud to be voted into serving at JELD-WEN, of course,” said King. “I have really enjoyed seeing Timbers matches and getting to know some of the players so it is a true honor to be a part of a great football club at its infancy.
"My customers are very happy too and it's natural for them to ask me all the time if I am involved with the Timbers. Now I can say YES!”
PTFCA is looking for new members. Applications for PTFCA will be accepted for the remainder of the season. Another fan vote for the remaining two home matches will run in early September.