ESPN soccer analyst. U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer. Hermann Trophy winner. One-time general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes, New York/New Jersey MetroStars/Red Bulls, and LA Galaxy. Lover of Slurpees.
These are but a few of the numerous descriptions of Alexi Lalas. The Backcut Podcast took the specially-constructed glass case of emotion on the road recently to Seattle and caught up with the former U.S. World Cup and Serie A star to talk about the changes he's seen in MLS, soccer as performance, the impact Portland has had on the league and more.
You'll also be able to see Lalas tomorrow night as he and his Big Head Red Head Podcast co-host and fellow former USMNT veteran Taylor Twellman will be on hand to broadcast the U.S. national team World Cup qualifier against Guatemala (ESPN2, 4pm PT).
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.
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.
Much has been made about the release of EA Sports FIFA 13 with special Darlington Nagbe downloadable custom covers, players talking about playing, and Snoop even getting in on the act.
However, another popular video game is nearing release and USWNT star and London 2012 Gold medal winner Alex Morgan joined talk show host Conan O'Brien to review it. As you might expect, it is genius.
Favorite line: "Puts the bird in its cage, shut the door, put it to sleep. Those are the moves that are going to make this game a winner."
This one is for all the marbles.
The Portland Timbers head north to take on the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 7 at 6pm PT. Currently sitting atop the three-team standings for the Cascadia Cup between the Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Sounders, the Timbers could return home with the coveted cup if they draw or win at CenturyLink Field.
Unable to make it north for #SeattleAway? Do not fret, we'll be hosting a big bash at one of our esteemed Timbers Pub Partners but we want your help in deciding where. Vote on the poll at right to have your say about who should host and where you'll want to be when you watch this historic match.
The poll ends September 26 at 5pm PT.
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.
Greetings from Kansas City! Where it's officially 49 degrees warmer than when I left my house this morning! twitter.com/StrongMLS/stat…
— John Strong (@StrongMLS) June 27, 2012
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.
While the Portland-Seattle Cascadia Cup rivalry chatter increases to a fevered pitch, let us not forget all the excitement happening over in the Euros. Portugal eliminated the Czech Republic 1-0 on Thursday in the quarterfinals and today at 11:45 am PT on ESPN, the formidable Germany will take on the suprising Greece.
Now you could watch Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas break down the game in a cool holographic virtual tabletop on ESPNFC.com. Which is great, no doubt. And looks like something from the future.
But perhaps you be better served going back a ways--both in history and in philosphical theory--by referencing the great Germany vs. Greece match so ably presented by Monty Python years ago:
What do you think? Who is Greece's new version of Socrates in this Euro 2012 clash? Or will the Germans triumph via the argument that "reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics"?
Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.
As some of you may have begun to notice, there's a growing buzz about this upcoming match for the Timbers this weekend. Seattle Sounders FC is coming to town and that means Rivalry. That mean Intensity. That means Cascadia Cup.
Though the Vancouver Whitecaps FC sit atop the Cascadia standings on two points having drawn both Seattle and Portland earlier in the season, Sunday's game is the first 2012 meeting between the Timbers and Sounders (2:00pm PT, ESPN, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940).
We'll be rolling out all kinds of special Cascadia coverage throughout the week with a look back at memorable moments, stories from supporters, and more. Take a look at Monday's flashback to a classic NASL Portland-Seattle battle to get you started.
ESPN is getting into the act as well. They partnered up with MLS and us to make some unique posters that you may see popping up in many of our local watering holes and pubs. The posters take a particular "angle" on the match (see right).
Moreover, there's a brand new promo that was created to whet your appetite as well:
Are you ready?
The 2012 FIFA European Championships got off to a rousing start late last week with group play. Poland's Robert Lewandowski got things started with the first goal of the tournament. The celebration of over 100,000 people in Warsaw's central square was not to be missed.
While MLS has only one player in the mix this year--LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane is the captain of Ireland--there are a number of players who Portland fans may have come across via recent international friendlies with the Timbers. Will it help you pick your side? Who knows, but take a look:
Roy Hodgson - The current England manager most recently was the head man for West Bromwich Albion when they came through Portland in 2011 and helped lead them to a 3-2 win. Euro 2012 marks Hodgson's first tournament with the Three Lions
Joe Hart - The current England starter in net was also the starting goalkeeper in Manchester City's 3-0 win over the USL-era Timbers in 2010 at the University of Portland.
Joleon Lescott - Part of the Manchester City travel roster in 2010, Lescott came on in the second half against the Timbers at UP. More recently, he started and scored England's only goal in their opening Euro 2012 1-1 draw with France on Monday.
Gregory van der Wiel - The young Dutch defender came to Portland last season as part of Ajax's U.S. trip and played the full 90 picking up an assist in their 2-0 exhibition win over the Timbers. Van der Wiel also started in Holland's 1-1 draw with Denmark last week.
Simon Cox - Though English-born, Cox qualifies for Ireland from his grandmother's side. The West Bromwich Albion striker came on as a second half sub against the Timbers last July. He was also a 62nd minute addition for Ireland in their 3-1 loss to Croatia.
Shay Given - Part of the travel roster with Manchester City in 2010 when they played the USL-era Timbers at University of Portland, Given was held out of the match. He is currently the starting goalkeeper for the Irish and leads the squad witn 123 caps.
Jonas Olsson - Another member of the West Brom squad who played here last season, the veteran Olsson was an unused sub in Sweden's 2-1 loss to Ukraine earlier today.
Looking to learn more about the Euros? Check out KickTV's coverage of the tournament. Former U.S. international and MLS defender Jimmy Conrad has been traveling about Poland and Ukraine taking in the sites, training, and the matches. It's a must watch if you want to get a feel for the pure fun that is the European tournament. As a sampler, take a look at his talking his way into the Spain-Italy match on Sunday:
Next Tuesday, May 15, presents a unique double-header event for Timbers fans.
The Portland Timbers of MLS travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo in the first evening home game at BBVA Compass Stadium at 5:30pm PT on ROOT SPORTS / 750 AM The Game. Also on the same day, The Timbers U-23s of the PDL begin their U.S. Open Cup campaign hosting the USASA's PSA Elite at 7:30pm PT.
You may be asking yourself, how can I--devoted Timbers fan that I am--watch them all in the same place?
JELD-WEN Field has you covered in four simple steps:
Step 1. Get yourself a ticket to the Timbers U-23s match for Tuesday. Tickets for U-23s are only $7 bucks general admission and can be purchased at the JELD-WEN Field box office or via Ticketmaster.
Step 2. Come to JELD-WEN Field on Tuesday beginning at 5:15pm with beer specials and $7 hotdog/soda combos available.
Step 3. Watch the Timbers-Dynamo match on the big BIG screen in the House of Pain that starts at 5:30pm.
Step 4. Stick around for the Timbers U-23s U.S. Open clash following the MLS match that kicks off at 7:30pm.
What are you waiting for? It's a simple four-step process. See you on Tuesday.
Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.