Player

18 October 11:20 am

Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

 

Known for his breakneck pace as he flies down the wings like a rocket, Sal Zizzo has emerged this season as a true attacking threat. With a goal and four assists--both career MLS highs--Zizzo's path here was anything but direct.

Soccer By Ives' Thomas Floyd gives the MLS Spotlight treament for Zizzo's journey from UCLA to the US U-20 World Cup to Hannover 96 in Germany to Chivas USA and now Portland.

“I would still do everything the same,” Zizzo said. “You maybe only have that chance once in your career. I wouldn’t change it. The experience that I got, the relationships, the people, and just learning the German side of soccer and just their mentality, day in, day out at training, is invaluable.”

It's a good read that goes into more detail about his German experience and his rise in Portland.

11 October 9:19 am

We've spoken about Darlington Nagbe's custom designed adidas boots as well as Joe Bendik donning pink gloves all as part of MLS' Soccer Kicks Cancer campaign this month.

KGW also took notice and did this nice report not only on the players' involvement but also why the ascent of pink-related products has raised awareness and funding around a disease that thirty years ago wouldn't even be allowed to be mentioned in the newspaper.

That growing awareness has helped saved lives. “We think when you look at all the pink, it has helped us reduce the death rate by some 30 percent,” said Komen Oregon CEO Thomas Bruner.

All Timbers players will be donning some bit of pink for the last regular season match on Oct. 27 against San Jose. To learn more, visit MLSsoccer.com's Soccer Kicks Cancer page.

10 October 2:20 pm

Ian Hogg (Getty Images)

After a summer that saw Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and defender Ian Hogg both spend a good deal of time with the New Zealand national team in friendlies, the Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup, and London 2012 Olympics, it should come as no surprise that the duo are already eyeing qualification for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. 

FIFA.com took a look at the pair with an eye towards the numerous new players coming up through the New Zealand ranks.

“My time will come,” Gleeson, New Zealand’s third-choice goalkeeper, told FIFA.com. “I’m still young and I have plenty of time to grow. The junior sides are a good platform, but the step up in quality from there to the All Whites is still very big.”

Hogg also chimed in:

“The competition is improving in Oceania, where teams are unpredictable and players don’t really stick to their positions,” he continued. “So we know that our concentration and intensity has to be absolutely spot-on. New players have come in, and it will take a bit of time for things to gel. But we’ll see a much better New Zealand team in the near future.”

It's a nice piece about the numerous changes happening in the New Zealand side and how the infusion of youth--and the patience required with said youth--could play a big part in the All Whites World Cup campaign.

05 October 1:54 pm

Nagbe's custom adidas cleats

In honor of the league's support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, adidas has reached out to a number of MLS players to design their own special boots. As a result, DCU's Chris Pontius, New York's Kenny Cooper, Seattle's Fredy Montero, Sporting's Teal Bunbury and our very own Darlington Nagbe have all become shoe designers.

Nagbe has been training in his special custom shoes for a couple of weeks now looking to break them in for matchday. He's definitely excited to have them.

“These will be my first custom cleats, I’m pretty excited," he said. "Adidas is famous for their stripes, so I wanted to make the stripes, laces and other pieces on my boots pink to support breast cancer awareness.  I used black and gold on the rest of the cleat to draw attention and try to make the pink really stand out.” 

Like 'em? You can pick up your very own pair here.

And just because he didn't want to feel left out, Timbers 'keeper Joe Bendik has some special pink gloves he's sporting as well.

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.

01 October 6:01 pm

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.

K+S London is in full swing now but take a look back at the Portland edition via the ubiquitous Jimmy Conrad.

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 Confidentiala film with unprecedented look into the first season of president Joan Laporta's reign as president at the Spanish giant.

28 September 2:14 pm

Yes, you can get your own Darlington Nagbe FIFA 13 cover. But did you know that among his many talents, he and Diego Chara are also expert surgeons?

The Chicago Fire help in an office while the San Jose Earthquakes show the dangers of two yellow cards and Sporting Kansas City explains the importance of player substitution in this new series of spots promoting Soccer 101 and the spectacular FIFA 13.

Want more Nagbe? Be sure to watch him on MLS 36 tomorrow at 4:30pm PT on NBC Sports Network

27 September 10:00 am

Jimmy Conrad doing his thing

You may have noticed the flood of videos on YouTube from a channel called KICKTV. They have quick summaries of footy related news on The Mixercompilations of all the goals in a week, a show all about soccer equipment called The Gear Show, there's looks into interesting online soccer video clips calle The Whip, and much more.

Perhaps one of the more visible people of this new soccer online channel is host Jimmy Conrad. Conrad, a former MLS All-Star, World Cup veteran for the U.S. national team and one-day member of Real Madrid, takes questions from fans, talks about the sport, and is their go-to guy to go on the road and dig into the interesting fun elements around the culture of soccer. The first big trip they sent him on was Euro 2012 whereupon he watched games in public squares with throngs of Polish fans, played pick up games in farm fields, and gave a unique perspective into the massive tournament.

Most recently, Conrad was in Portland interviewing Merritt Paulson, learning how to chainsaw, attending the Kicking + Screening Film Festival, and becoming a member of the Timbers Army at the huge Portland-Seattle Cascadia Cup rivalry match. 

In the inaugural edition of The Backcut Podcast, I sat down with man-about-town Conrad to learn about what exactly the new YouTube soccer channel KICKTV is, why it matters to soccer fans, and how Jimmy got involved with it.

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.

25 September 4:00 pm

Have you played your first match of FIFA 13 today? Sal Zizzo has. Andrew Jean-Baptiste has.
 

Heck, even @SnoopLion has.

For soccer fans and video games and all the fans in between, today is a particularly exciting day as it marks the release of EA Sports' FIFA 13. You can join in the fun with a special custom Portland Timbers Darlington Nagbe cover to insert on your copy. 

Be on the lookout too for a special Nagbe and Diego Chara FIFA 13 promo video coming up in the near future as well.

What are you waiting for? Get playing.

Download instructions:

-Visit this special Flickr album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/easportsfifa/8023605019/in/set-72157631621283005
-Then right click on image, select "Medium 640"
-Then click "Download the Medium 640 size of this photo" above the image
-That size will fit inside your copy of FIFA 13 though there are other larger versions available for download as well.

FIFA 2013 released Tuesday morning and is now available in stores and online.