Club

15 September 8:01 am

Former MLS'er, US international, and KICKTV host Jimmy Conrad who did such great work at Euro 2012 and the recent Mexico-USA friendly at Azteca, goes on location to examine the Portland-Seattle rivalry, the Kicking + Screening Film Festival and more. First up, he goes one on one with Timbers owner and president Merritt Paulson.
 

More to come as KICKTV goes through the huge Cascadia Cup clash.

12 September 4:20 pm

Timbers players Danny Mwanga and Jake Gleeson look to pitch in extra this week by helping run the check out lanes and bagging groceries at the Burlingame Fred Meyer tomorrow to benefit the Sports Buddies program of Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest.

On hand from 5:30-6:30pm on Sept. 13, Mwanga and Gleeson will bag any groceries that include Coca-Cola products. Five percent of all Coke products sold within that hour will go to benefit the Sports Buddies program with Fred Meyer and the Timbers matching the donation up to $1,000.

Another familiar face will also be on hand as former Timbers goalkeeper, current Alumni Ambassador, and Sports Buddies Program Coordinator Adin Brown will be in attendance as well.

Sports Buddies is a new, one-to-one mentorship program for at-risk youth with an emphasis on sports and Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest is one of the Timbers’ Stand Together community pillar partners.

Stock up tomorrow. Burlingame Fred Meyer is at 7555 SW Barbur Blvd.

12 September 11:31 am

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.

11 September 8:37 am

MLS released today, perhaps for the first time ever, the top 25 selling jerseys across the league. The Timbers are one of five teams with multiple players in the top 25: Darlington Nagbe and Kris Boyd.

The list below, which includes sales from March 10-Sept. 10, reflects the 25 top-selling adidas MLS player jerseys across the league on MLSgear.com, MLSgearCanada.ca and MLS club websites.

1.     David Beckham - LA Galaxy
2.     Thierry Henry -  New York Red Bulls
3.     Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy
4.     Fredy Montero - Seattle Sounders FC
5.     Dwayne De Rosario - D.C. United
6.     Chris Wondolowski - San Jose Earthquakes
7.     Tim Cahill - New York Red Bulls
8.     Robbie Keane - LA Galaxy
9.     Mauro Rosales - Seattle Sounders FC
10.  Brian Ching - Houston Dynamo
11.  Darlington Nagbe - Portland Timbers
12.  Chris Pontius - D.C. United
13.  Osvaldo Alonso - Seattle Sounders FC
14.  Young-Pyo Lee - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
15.  Kris Boyd - Portland Timbers
16.  Barry Robson - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
17.  Eddie Gaven - Columbus Crew
18.  Brad Davis - Houston Dynamo
19.  Roger Torres - Philadelphia Union
20.  Freddy Adu - Philadelphia Union
21.  Kei Kamara - Sporting Kansas City
22.  Kyle Beckerman - Real Salt Lake
23.  Mike Magee - LA Galaxy
24.  Saer Sene - New England Revolution
25.  Arne Friedrich - Chicago Fire

Want to get yours? Head over to the adidas Timbers Team Store and order online. Also, don't forget to vote for Nagbe to be on the custom cover of EA Sports' FIFA 13.

07 September 4:24 pm

Dike while with L.A. Blues

With two goals in his last four games, Bright Dike has been on a bit of a run as of late.

After being one of the first Timbers players ever signed in the MLS era, Dike ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the first MLS preseason game and missed much of the 2011 season. After a hard dedicated recovery, he came back to the team and was loaned to USL PRO side L.A. Blues earlier this season.

In ten games, Dike got his groove back and pocketed six goals. So while he wasn't there for the entire season, USL PRO was impressed enough to name him to the 2012 All-League Second Team.

In other MLS-related news in USL New York Red Bulls forward Corey Hertzog was a finalist for MVP after spending the season on loan with the Wilmington Hammerheads. The small but increasing number of MLS teams loaning players to the USL is a growing phenomenon as more and more teams look to further develop their players with more games and minutes. Timbers defender and 2012 MLS SuperDraft first round pick Andrew Jean-Baptiste was also loaned to the Blues in 2012 for six matches.

WATCH: Dike finishes off Zizzo cross against Rapids

07 September 9:43 am

Rain or shine, hot or cold, Providence Park is always packed and ready to rumble on matchday. 

With all the yelling, chanting, flagwaving, pogo-ing and Tetris-ing to be had, it comes as no surprise that one may work up quite a thirst.

But did you know fans are allowed to bring their own empty water bottles into the stadium? And there's drinking fountains on both the west and east concourses as well as sinks in every restroom in the facility?

A quick look through other MLS stadiums as well as other major sporting facilities across the US puts Providence Park near the top of most accepting of outside water coming in. Moreover, Providence Park allows small amounts of food for babies and children.

It’s a big match out there. Be sure to stay hydrated!

03 September 10:36 pm

Photo: Mary Schwalm/AP

 

The Backcut has talked about the growing importance of statistics in soccer before. Manchester City is busy crowd sourcing ideas by releasing reams of stats from last year's campaign while MLS has already made much of the same information available through their excellent Matchcenter Chalkboard

But now none other than the immenent tech geek bible Wired takes a look at the new adidas tech wizardry behind their new miCoach system and its potential impact on the league through their excellent Playbook blog.

Starting off at the 2012 MLS Combine in Florida, the article talks about how a number of draft eligible players taking part in drills and scrimmages--Portland's eventually drafted Andrew Jean-Baptiste among them--were outfitted with prototype miCoach trackers that fed information about speed, location, heart rate and more.

It’s far flashier than such antiquities as a timed 40, but not much different in that the athletic attributes it measures have little to do with sport-specific skills like, say, passing the ball.

Still, proper dribbling technique is more easily taught than absurd acceleration through a defensive alignment, which is why University of Connecticut defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste started turning so many heads.

Jean-Baptiste was among those participating in the miCoach trial ahead of a league-wide rollout next season. As four Adidas reps roamed the sideline holding iPads displaying real-time readings from the field, coaches and team officials filtered by with raised eyebrows and the occasional question. Everything was proceeding as expected until Jean-Baptiste took off on a sprint across the pitch and his measurements exploded.

“Ten to 12 teams’ staff people crowded around me at once,” said Jan Mueller, a manager for the miCoach line. “They were watching intently, and then began asking a lot of questions.”

Given the long established importance of statistics in sports such as football, baseball and basketball, MLS is looking to push the envelope as to what kind of stats become more important for soccer. And not just for coaches and players, but for fans as well. The aforementioned Chalkboard feature is already readily available for fans and writers alike to breakdown certain elements of a game with heat maps, pass completion rates, shot locations and more.

miCoach adds another layer into the player performance aspect by breaking down individual elements to a very specific level. And while much of that in-game analysis of miCoach may not be something that fans will have immediate access to, MLS Digital general manager Chris Schlosser says in the article, “We’re working on what we feel like is a game-changer in the digital match experience — a whole new way for consumers to experience the game."


Image: Adidas

And even coaches who are intrigued with the possibilities of what miCoach could bring to the table such as Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth, there's still a belief that not everything seen on a computer screen tells you everything you need to know about a player.

“We’ve always had lies, damned lies and statistics,” said Timbers assistant coach Amos Magee. “For example, just because a guy is covering a lot of ground, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s smart running or that he’s in the right place at the right time. That’s a statistic that needs to come with experience. So some of these measurements are going to be useful, but some aren’t. We’ll just have to see which ones fill a void.”

In that capacity, miCoach readings will fit right in with the rest of soccer’s statistics. There’s another school of thought, however, that presents an even warier eye.

“Soccer is so much art, and art is impossible to measure, like music or dance or paintings,” said Hackworth. “The beauty of our sport is that there are so many creative, imaginative and skillful moments, and you’ll never be able to truly quantify that.”

It's a fascinating read about some great tools MLS is leading the way with. Read the whole piece here.

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

 

31 August 1:40 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.

30 August 7:33 am

The third installment of the Portland Timbers Food Cart Alliance is coming to JELD-WEN Field this Friday as the Timbers take on Colorado Rapids (7:30pm PT, NBC Sports Network, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940) in the form of Stumptown Dumplings, or Stumplings.

Stumplings will be serving up orders of six dumplings and two sauces for $7 out of the Soccer City Grill concession stand on the east side of the stadium.

Owners Justin Prasad and Nimesh Dayal started their food cart after ten years of friendship and even more in the hospitality industry. “We wanted to branch out,” said Prasad. After a month and a half of discussing the idea, Prasad and Dayal had their license and their custom-built food cart ready for business. “It happened much faster than either of us expected,” said Dayal. Stumplings celebrated their grand opening on May 31.

“I’ve always worked for someone else. Serving here at the field proves I can work on my own and can succeed,” said Prasad. “It’s exciting because it’s our idea coming to life. I just want people to connect the ‘Stumplings’ with Justin and Nimesh, and this is a great opportunity for us.”

Stumplings can be found in the Alberta15 food cart pod in northeast Portland, and is the third of four food carts voted to serve during a home match via Facebook.

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.
 

27 August 10:16 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.