16 August 3:19 pm

Photo: AP

If you were watching the Timbers 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday night, you may have noticed Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy not with the team. This was due to both men being away with their respective national teams as Purdy was with El Salvador and Palmer with Jamaica. With both national teams matching up against one another Wednesday evening at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C., there was a unique Timbers intrasquad rivalry at play with Palmer’s Jamaica beating Purdy’s El Salvador 2-0.

Palmer and Purdy both started and played the full 90 minutes battling against one another. Jamaica’s midfielder Luton Shelton would give The Reggae Boyz the win as he put two goals into the back of the net. Now not only does Palmer have a little bit of bragging rights here in Portland, but he also gets a nice home cooked meal of his choice made by Purdy due to a bet placed earlier on Twitter.

This past Sunday, Purdy and La Selecta took to the pitch in the first of their two matches this week as they played Guatemala to a 1-0 victory at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Purdy started and played the full 90 minutes while teammate Nelson Bonilla scored the only goal of the game in the 28th minute to give the Central Americans a boost ahead of the next round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Jamaica will play Kenya next in a friendlyl on Aug. 25 followed by a World Cup qualifier against the U.S. on Sept. 11 in Columbus. El Salvador will play Guyana in a World Cup Qualifier on Sept. 7.

RECAP: Jamaica Gleaner: Boyz ‘Two’ Good

RECAP in Spanish: La Prensa Grafica – El Salvador lost 0-2 against Jamaica

14 August 12:59 pm

Timbers teammates Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy are in the interesting situation this week of coming face-to-face with each other on the pitch far from JELD-WEN Field. Both players were called up to their respective national teams--Palmer for Jamaica and Purdy for El Salvador--to take part in an international friendly on Wednesday, August 15 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. at 5pm PT.

As both players are quite active on Twitter, the chatter began after Purdy's La Selecta beat Guatemala 1-0 in a friendly Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. Palmer noticed the win and tweeted a question about having a friendly wager for this week's match.


After some good-natured jibes back and forth the best idea was presented by a fan: The loser must make the winner dinner.


Now with both teams training in D.C., the two have run into each other as part of the preparations.


While the game does not count in any CONCACAF standings anywhere, it should present a great tune-up ahead of September's World Cup qualifiers. And for one of two Timbers teammates, it means a hearty meal and bragging rights.

02 August 4:49 pm

Begun in 2009 in New York City—the center for all things independent film-related—the Kicking + Screening Film Festival set out to merge the art of the beautiful game with the art of cinema. Branching out to satellite editions in Washington, DC, Houston, North Adams, Mass., London, Amsterdam and, most recently, Liverpool, K+S presents films that examine the culture of soccer both on and off the field.

And now, they bring their cinematic and pitch artistry to Portland.

Arriving September 13-14, K+S Portland, presented by KickTV and presented in partnership with the Portland Timbers, takes on the theme of “rivalry” all in the build-up to Saturday’s Sept. 15 Cascadia Cup clash between Portland and Seattle (NBC, 12:30pm PT).

Along with the two headlining films, Argentina Fútbol Club—about the battles between Boca Juniors & River Plate—as well as Gringos At The Gate—a look into the U.S.A-Mexico soccer border clash—K+S Portland will also feature panels, gatherings, and all kinds of other engaging events.

There will be more info to follow but visit the K+S Portland website to see the full lineup, learn more get tickets (Thursday, Friday).


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.

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.

08 May 9:59 am

Soccer history isn't always dealing with obscure fith division teams from some pastoral English countryside. No. Rather there's a long American--and even Oregonian--slant to what we know as The Beautiful Game.

 Jan. 20, 1914, Lincolln High School Boys Soccer Team
Photo courtesy the Futbol Heritage Archive/Boxscore News World Sportswire

George Fosty, president and a founder of the Society of North American Historians and Researchers, has written a lovingly researched post online that charts the history of soccer in Oregon all the way back to the 19th century. The early guises of the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club—now known simply as the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) and its quest to build a stadium that eventually becomes JELD-WEN Field, intra-Oregon collegiate rivalries, road trips to Seattle, a Cameron Cup, the inception of the womens game, hoodlums, hoodwinks, and eventual creation of the Portland Timbers are all mentioned in his piece, Knee-Knockers: Celebrating 120-Years Of Oregon Soccer. Fosty explains his love of Portland and sets up its founding in the Oregon Territory as the precursor to a long soccer history:

The city of Portland, the largest city in Oregon, was incorporated in 1851. At the time of incorporation Portland boasted a population of 821, of which 653 were men, 164 women, and 4 were identified as "free colored." By 1885, the population would stand at 17,500. Fifteen years later, the city would register 90,426. By 1910, it would boast 207,214. During these years, Portland would distinguish itself as one of the most forward thinking cities in North America. A visionary approach that often split over into the realm of sports, among which included the game of soccer.

While much of those early years are difficult to research and may be built around more conjecture than fact, it's an interesting read into the nascent stages of Oregon soccer. Read the whole thing here.

Hungry for more history? Check out Portland-based historian and occasional PortlandTimbers.com contributor Michael Orr’s new book that expands upon the creation of the NASL-era Timbers in his new book The 1975 Portland Timbers: The Birth of Soccer City USA. Well researched with interviews from many of the original Timbers such as current MLS-era soccer ambassadors John Bain and Mick Hoban, the book is a unique snapshot of a key era of Portland soccer history.

Still wanting more history? The excellent soccer blog Free Beer Movement blog took the recent Lionel Messi achievement of scoring 72 goals over the course of a first division season—including all cup tournaments—to delve into how that broke a record once held by an American soccer player, Archie Stark.

With players like Pele (66 for Santos in 1958) and Mueller in the rear-view mirror for global scoring tallies who could have Messi blown by to set yet another record?
An American, of course.
Yes. Someone from the United States of America.
Buried in a host of articles celebrating Messi's accomplishment (many omitting any mention of it at all) was the name Archie Stark.
Read up on this great piece of American soccer history here.

Study up for finals.

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


30 April 11:42 am

Timbers midfielder/2011 MLS All-Star Jack Jewsbury (left) vs. Manchester United and then Timbers defender now Alumni Ambassador Scot Thompson (right) (Photo: Getty Images & Craig Mitchelldyer)

Manchester United and Manchester City. Perhaps you've heard of them. 

The 2011 MLS All-Star opponent United vs. the 2010 Timbers summer exhibition friendly opponent City--otherwise known as gladiators for the top of the English Premier League table--face off today on ESPN at high noon PT. United only holds a three point lead over City with only two matches left to play following today's clash.

The Backcut asks: Who you got?

30 April 11:04 am

I don't know how many of you out there are fans of The Wire but if you aren't yet, then you best should be. It is among the finest television shows of all time. Set in Baltimore and ostensibly about the drug trade and the people who try to both profit from it and put a stop to it, the show expanded on issues of education, unions, politics, culture, youth, and everything in between. If you haven't watched it yet, stop reading this and go rent it post haste.

 Omar Little

Back? Okay. The depth of narrative arc led to some truly memorable characters. So memorable, soccer blog The Other 87 celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Wire's first season by asking, what would make the best fictional Starting XI out of such a cast? 

What I find amazing is that the infamous bandit Omar Little does not feature in either XI. The Other 87 argues that he "doesn't fit neatly into either team" and that sorta makes sense if you assume he'd constantly be on the lookout only for himself. But aren't some of the greatest soccer players of all time the same? Wouldn't Omar have been the consummate #10 pulling the strings across the pitch?

I have to believe B&B Enterprises is the kit sponsor for the Bad Guys. Maybe Stringer Bell's copy shop. For the Good Guys? It's got to be Kavanaugh's Irish Pub. How do you think these teams stack up? 

via The Other 87:

The Good Guys

 Image: theother87.com

GK – Lester Freamon – He could be painting dollhouse furniture and still pull out a brilliant save between the sticks. He also keeps a level head when the rest of the team loses discipline.
LB Ellis Carver – Known to bash a few skulls, but commands his troops well. Carver provides outlet passes to Bunny Colvin ahead of him, but also has the talent to switch wings with his partner, Herc Hauk.
LCB – Cedric Daniels – Tall, imposing, disciplined. What more could ask of a world class defender? Despite his age, Cedric shows tremendous upshot.
RCB – Rhonda Pearlman – Partners well with Daniels in the back. The two take turns cleaning up messes. When all else fails, she uses her charm to appeal to the ref.
RB – Herc Hauk – Along with Carver, Herc ensures nothing gets into the box. While intelligence isn’t always his forte, he muscles any hoodlums stupid enough to challenge his authority.
CDM – Bubbles – Tactically, Bubbles knows the opposition inside and out. With this insight, he shrewdly predicts every play and provides outlet passes to Kima ahead of him.
LCM – Bunny Colvin – Our warhorse. He’ll try anything to break the opposition, even if it means allowing them to play their game.
RCM – Tommy Carcetti – Carcetti has the energy and guile to go on the offensive, especially when he identifies a weakness in his marker.
CAM – Kima Greggs – She would take a bullet for her team, and that’s exactly why we want her providing support for the front line.
LS – Bunk Moreland – Our target man. While Bunk lacks in speed or athleticism, he more than makes up for in persistence and strength.
RS – Jimmy McNulty – Opposite Moreland, McNulty cracks open the defense with risky runs, often to the displeasure of the coaching staff. 

The Bad Guys

 Image: theother87.com

GK – Stringer Bell –Because of this attacking formation, we need an intelligent goalkeeper capable of reading the opposition and deflecting any attacks.
LB – Wallace – Runs up and down the wing, often unsure of his position. Uses D’Angelo for guidance.
LCB – Clay Davis – Senator Davis is more than willing to take the ball from Stringer and distribute it as he sees fit.
RCB – Proposition Joe – Prop Joe is by far the most cautious member of the squad. While his teammates are eager to attack, he waits patiently and watches for the counter.
RB – D’Angelo Barksdale – Like Wallace, D is often unsure of his position, but is intelligent enough to play capably in both halves of the field.
LCM – Chris Partlow – Always one step ahead of the opposition, Chris is the left side of our midfield triangle.
RCM – Snoop – Our bruiser. In spite of her size and age, Snoop isn’t afraid to put in a hard tackle if she’s asked to do so.
CM – Marlo – Marlo is ruthless in his pursuit of victory, but doesn’t come to life until the second half.
LAM – Slim Charles – Often at odds with Stringer’s instructions from the back, Charles acts as provider in the box.
RAM – Bodie – Distrustful of the midfield lineup, Bodie often creates his own goals, especially when Avon is out of position.
ST – Avon Barksdale – If Stringer is the calming voice for the squad, Avon is the banshee’s scream. However, as the head of the attack, you can’t blame his enthusiasm for forcing the issue. 

Hat tip to both soccer blogs The Other 87 and Free Beer Movement for the great tactical breakdown. Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.