With the Timbers’ opener less than three weeks away, I figured it was probably time for me to check in with a report for the Timbers Beat.
This is easily my favorite time of the year to be a sports fan: Baseball’s opening day, the NCAA Tourney, The Masters, The Frozen Four (NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey with my alma mater – Maine - going for title No. 3) and the beginning of another Timbers’ season right around the corner. Now if I could only guarantee a big fat tax refund every year, April would be my new favorite month.
This time last year just didn’t have the same vibe. But the 2006 season is firmly in the past. Thanks to the work of Brad Nicholson and new head coach/GM Gavin Wilkinson, the broadcast schedule includes all 28 games this season. And thanks to the audio wizardry of producer/engineer/halftime & postgame host John Strong, we will feature the best sounding webcast in all of pro soccer in 2007.
More importantly, I have every confidence that the on-field situation in ’07 will improve dramatically as well. I’ve known Gavin since the inaugural USL Timbers’ season in 2001 and there isn’t anyone more prepared to excel in this new role than he is. His players will respect him and he will put them each in the best possible position to succeed on the pitch.
Over the next few weeks, it will be exciting to see how the roster shakes out into the eventual starting 11. Without the benefit of a single counting game, I feel comfortable stating that this year’s version of the Ax Men will be fitter, better defensively, better attacking toward goal, more dangerous on set pieces, and more balanced from the first man in lineup to the last man on the bench.
April 21 can’t come soon enough!
Posted by Andy McNamara