The Akron Zips continue their great run of play this week with two victories. The first was a 2-0 non-conference win over Penn State last Wednesday in University Park, PA. Akron took control early with a pair of first-half goals from standouts Reinaldo Brenes and Scott Caldwell to hold on for the win.
Akron followed that up with a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois on a damp Saturday afternoon in Dekalb, IL. Working behind goals from Phil Fives and Brenes--his seventh goal in the last four matches--the Zips (9-1-2, 4-0-0 MAC) extended their win streak to six matches and pushed their run of consecutive shutouts to seven while out-shooting the defending MAC Tournament Champion Huskies, 18-8.
Caleb Porter's UA is now unbeaten in its last 42 conference matches (39-0-3), which is tied with Clemson (1972-80) for the second-longest run in NCAA history. Furman, which owns the all-time standard, went unbeaten in 46 straight league contests from 1999-2003.
Moreover, Akron goalkeeper David Meves (right)--now just one shutout away from the school's all-time record--was named to TopDrawerSoccer's Team of the Week. The Zips remain at No. 3 in their poll as well as MLSsoccer.com's MLS on Campus poll.
Tuesday night, UA goes back into non-conference action against Michigan (4:30pm PT, videostream at GoZips.com). Akron and head coach Porter has a special message for Zips fans looking to come to the match as they look to #FillTheHill at FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field:
Locally, the University of Portland women's team were in action Saturday night against No. 5 Bringham Young with at least one Timbers player among the sellout 4,979:
— franck songo (@franckck) October 14, 2012
Songo'o witnessed what maybe called the Pilots Goal of the Year from Portland-native Kendall Johnson who scored a cracker of a goal in the 81st minute. Sadly for UP, it was not enough as they fell 2-1 to the Cougars. Nonetheless, just as Pilots men's team member & Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans is being touted as potentially one of the best ever at UP, so too is the junior left back Johnson. As a recent Oregonian profile put it, "[UP head coach Garrett] Smith believes the Lincoln High School graduate has a chance to become the school's next national team player, joining elites such as Sophie Schmidt, Megan Rapinoe and Christine Sinclair."
All you have to do is go to the page, "LIKE" the one you think is best, and the one with the most "Like's" by 5pm PT on Oct. 19 wins two tickets and a media pass to photograph the final Timbers home match against San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 27. You're welcome to Repin images too but the winner will be determined by the amount of Like's.
For full contest rules, click here.
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.
2012-13 marks the first season for the Timbers Academy teams as they begin competition fielding a U-16 and U-18 squad. Under the overall umbrella of the U.S. Development Academy, USsoccer.com did a profile of the growing Timbers side and talked with Academy co-director and head coach for the U-16s, Mike Smith, about how the hunt for players began and the progress the team has made in their first season.
“Portland is a hotbed for soccer in so many ways,” Smith said. “When youngsters can watch their local heroes train at a high level, the excitement filters down. I’ve seen that with the numbers we’ve had at tryouts and the players at our regional training centers. We’ve had a number of our U-17/18 players get pulled into the MLS Reserves or even see a few minutes of action, and they have aspirations to play up the chain."
PortlandTimbers.com will have weekly Academy updates every Monday, but this is also a good place to start to see some of the future of Timbers player development. Read the whole piece here.
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.
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.
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.
After putting up a hat trick last week, University of Akron’s Reinaldo Brenes was at it again Friday night for the Zips with two goals and an assist in their 5-0 win over Florida Atlantic University. Junior Eric Stevenson (right) also had two goals and an assist while freshman Dillon Serna picked up a goal as well.
For Caleb Porter’s Zips, it was the fourth straight win and fifth straight shutout they have out-scored their last four opponents 16-0. Moreover, they have yet to allow a goal at home in five matches.
For their performances, Brenes and Stevenson were both named to Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week and Akron moved up to No. 3 in their national poll.
In Timbers U-23s news, goalkeeper Justin Baarts made a clutch penalty shot save for the University of Portland to hold on to the Pilots’ 2-1 win over Loyola Marymount also on Friday evening. U-23s member Ricardo Carrillo picked up an assist on the game-winner, his team-best fourth assist of the season.
The UP Pilots women’s team also played this weekend and despite a spirited comeback, they fell 3-2 to the San Diego State Aztecs. As part of the afternoon, UP honored their 2002 NCAA national championship team in a special ceremony at Merlo Field. Former NASL The late Clive Charles--a former Timbers NASL player and Ring of Honor member--was the coach of that squad which also included former player Colleen Little.
The Oregonian did a unique store about how Charles had such an affect on Little as a player and a person that when she ran in the Portland Marathon yesterday--finishing in 2 hours, 51 minutes and 35 seconds--she chose to have "4 Clive" on her racing bib.
“Every time I compete, I compete in remembrance of him,” Little said. “He taught all of us to be good athletes, but also to be amazing people. His suffering pushes me toward everything I do.”
It's an inspiring story about a man who is still inspiring athletes today. Read the whole thing here.
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:
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.
— Joe Bendik (@Jtbendik) October 4, 2012