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."
If ever there was a sense that a rising tide lifts all boats in the new NWSL, it's this:
— Alyse LaHue (@alahue) January 3, 2013
Alyse LaHue just happens to be the general manager of fellow NWSL club Chicago Red Stars.
And the numbers are certainly growing, Timbers/Thorns FC owner and president Merritt Paulson had this Twitter update earlier today:
Your unofficial @thornsfc Season Tix deposit tracker: 3,500+. that's w/o players & pricing announced (hopefully both will elicit increase..)
— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) January 3, 2013
In it together, indeed.
Want to make your own Thorns FC season ticket deposit? Details right here.
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.
Lincoln High School and Grant High School will attempt to beat the state record of 5,000 people to attend a High School Soccer match this evening in a double-header with their girls and boys varsity teams both competing.
The game will be held just a Jack Jewsbury free kick away from JELD-WEN Field at Lincoln High School's field on the corner of SW 18th and Salmon with the Girls' Varsity kicking off at 4:30pm followed by the Boys Varsity at 6:30pm. The cost is an incredibly affordable FREE.
Timbers stadium announcer Kevin Flink will be on the PA at Lincoln to give an extra Timbers flavor as well.
Go Cards! Go Generals! Go see the match and help showcase why Portland is SoccerCity U.S.A.--at every level.
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:
There are Timbers fans everywhere. Portland, Gresham, Bend, New York, New Zealand.
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.
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.
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.
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.