Feature

28 June 2:10 pm

With the Timbers looking ahead to Saturday's match with Colorado Rapids (6pm PT, KPDX TV, Timbers Television Network; 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940), many corners of the media are still talking about the incredible environment on display last Sunday in Portland's 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.

The Portland Business Journal took a look at how MLS worked to promote the game on a national scale and how they're looking to further expand rivalries across the league.

 Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer

Today, The Guardian in England published a great examination of the constant game of tifo one-upsmanship between the Timbers Army and Seattle's Emerald City Supporters. With the Timbers Army's massive banner fresh in Portland fan's minds, Graham Parker writes,

[As] the latest banner was raised, and the latest visual gauntlet laid down, it was hard not to respect the sheer dedication and commitment the Timbers Army had put in to honoring one of their club legends [Clive Charles] this Sunday, whatever the origins of the art form in the US. Multiple hundreds of hours of labor go into producing an image that may appear only momentarily, but that has the potential to leave an indelible memory. 

Speaking of the hundreds of hours of work put into creating the tifo, be sure to watch this Friday's June 29 Timbers in 30 (6:30pm PT, Fox 12 Oregon) as they'll have a special behind-the-scenes look into how the latest banner was constructed.

The Sporting News sent ace soccer writer Brian Straus here on Sunday to cover the Cascadia Cup battle. Calling the rivalry "among the most intense in American sport," Straus goes in-depth to try to figure out why our corner of the country has bred such an undying competition between the two communities. Comparing the Portland-Seattle clash to other rivalries from around the world doesn't quite work as its roots lie in a different area.

The Glasgow neighbors are divided by religion -- the Protestants support Rangers and the Catholics back Celtic. Elsewhere around the world, great (and occasionally violent) soccer rivalries revolve around politics, economics or geography. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s about civic identity.

Want to know more about how that civic identity operates within the larger ideal of what the very term "Cascadia" means? Portland Monthly's Martin Patail goes behind the deeper concept of the term and how "The Doug"--the green-white-blue flag with the massive Doug Fir emblazoned in the center that can be seen flying at all matches between Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver--is really part of a bigger discussion about a region's "independent state of mind."

It's clear the Cascadia ideal and rivalry therein--be it on the field or off--is stronger than ever.

28 June 10:55 am

John Strong, voice of the Portland Timbers, headed out east a little ahead of the team this week as he travels to Kansas City to make his national broadcast debut on the NBC Sports Network. Calling the Midwest rivalry game between Sporting Kansas City and Chicago Fire at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Friday evening at 5pm PT, Strong will be joined in the booth with former MLS player and Olympian Brian Dunseth.

Friday’s match is the first of five matches Strong will call with Dunseth for NBC Network and he is already adjusting to the KC heat.

 

 Photo: Portland Timbers

 

Soccer fans will undoubtedly recognize Strong on Friday and they should also be familiar with Dunseth who is the main soccer analyst for Real Salt Lake broadcasts as well as having been an analyst with Fox Soccer. It will be a great rivalry match to watch with a familiar voice to help guide the way. Keep an eye on @StrongMLS and @BP_TOW on Twitter for updates from the road.

Following the match, Strong will hop a plane to Denver to call the Timbers game against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday with Robbie Earle (6pm PT, KPDX TV, Timbers Television Network).

 

27 June 10:31 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.

25 June 12:10 pm

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 9:24 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.

07 June 4:56 pm

So all submissions are in and tomorrow we'll know the winner. Last month, over 150 different pizza combinations were submitted for the Papa Murphy's Lumberjack Pizza Contest. At stake was not only having the winning recipe as a featured special pizza in Papa Murphy stores beginning on June 24th, but the winner also receives 1 free Papa Murphy's pizza a month for a year, a team autographed replica jersey, AND have their very own pizza party at JELD-WEN Field with one of the Timbers players stopping by.

Moreover, Papa Murphy's will donate $1 of every Lumberjack Pizza sold (up to $2,500) to be shared by the Portland Timbers Community Fund and the Children's Cancer Association.

The key will be just what flavor tickles the judges' palates. The esteemed panel?  Midfielder Eric Alexander, Timber Joey, Erik Keating (107ist and Timbers Army member) and Jerry Kenney (Papa Murphy’s Portland Co-op President)--all of whom will be at the Papa Murphy's on 2609 SE 122nd Avenue at 3:00 p.m. on Friday June 8 to make their final decision.

So come out to Papa Murphy's, meet Eric, Timber Joey, get some autographs, and grab a slice. Free samples of the winning pizza will be available to try out!

06 June 1:32 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 12:22 pm

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.

30 May 2:12 pm

Throughout the 2012 season, the Vancouver Whitecaps have been examining the supporters and culture in the various cities their team travels away to. This past weekend, our Cascadia rivals were here in Portland and the learned Peter Schaad--voice of the 'Caps--did a great piece on our very own Timbers Army. "If you've always dreamed of experiencing the beautiful game's supporters culture at its finest, you could go to Europe or South America," Schaad intones. "Or, you could travel down the I-5 and catch a game at Portland's JELD-WEN Field."

For Timbers supporters, new and longtime, it's a quick look into what makes the Timbers Army so unique.

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

28 May 9:45 am

Two second-half goals, first by Timbers forward Kris Boyd and then from Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks, led to a 1-1 draw between the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps on an evening that had it all: intense rain, hail and lightning, not to mention an action-packed final 45 minutes.

The image is made up of 570 individual images taken throughout the first half and stitched together to form one large image. The final high resolution picture is 118,188 X 49,694 pixels or 5.8 gigapixels.

Find and tag yourself through Facebook by dragging the red marker over your picture to share with your friends and family.