Defender Justin Thompson checks in with www.portlandtimbers.com and provides a glimpse of life on the road with the Portland Timbers as they traveled to Montreal and Rochester in early June. The Timbers came away with three points on the trip with a 1-0 win in Montreal on June 8. Here is his journal from the road ...
Thursday, June 7 - 10 p.m.
Well, we've arrived in the Motherland!! Being a Canadian it is nice to be back in Canada for a couple of days. We checked into the hotel after a layover in Washington, D.C. around 8pm. We skipped out for a quick dinner and caught the end of the US Gold Cup game against Guatemala. There is a lot of anticipation in the air as we all realize how massive this road trip could be to our season. We were at the airport at 6am this morning, so I think it's time for bed!
Friday, June 8 - 12 a.m.
Wow! What a game! We stole all three points in Montreal tonight against arguably the best team in the league. It was extremely difficult conditions as the temperature and humidity were against us. We were all struggling to breathe and started feeling heavy-legged after the first 5 minutes!! It didn't look good! But we kept the score 0-0 until half-time where we could regroup and get our heads together. Gavin made a couple of tactical changes which paid huge dividends. When we scored the PK, we all knew we just had to hang on for 15 minutes and we would pull off one of the biggest road wins of the season. We are now on the bus heading toward the US border. It's going to be about a 6 hour drive through the night to Rochester. We are a little concerned whether or not we'll be arriving with our full squad as Cameron Knowles and Lawrence Oldum have some immigration visa work to sort out at the border. Fingers crossed! To pass some time, we are watching a movie and playing poker at the back of the bus. The spirits are high and the guys are starting to talk about the unthinkable.... taking six points in 2 days from Montreal and Rochester!!
Saturday, June 9 - 4 p.m.
We just woke up after a complete day of sleeping. It was very difficult to sleep on the bus so many of us have been up all night because we didn't get into Rochester until close to 8am this morning. These are the times when we really need to pull together as a team, because we really do need everyone! We're heading out for a pre-game meal and there are sure a few tired faces. This is what this league is all about, and the mentally tough teams will cope the best, so that will be the emphasis tonight -- to be mentally tough!
Sunday, June 10 - 11 a.m.
We are now somewhere over the Midwest heading back to Portland. We are all very tired, but overall satisfied with the result of the road trip. It was a little dissapointing not to get something out of last nights game against Rochester. They got a fluky goal very early, and we never really recovered from it. We felt a little hard done by because we had all the play in the second half and draw would have been a fair result. But in the end, 3 points from 2 very tough games was satisfying. It was a great trip for the team chemistry as we had to battle through adversity with a very difficult travel schedule. Everyone pulled through without any serious injuries, so now we must regroup and look ahead to a tricky cup game in Bakersfield. By the way, we leave tomorrow morning at 8am so it will be a very quick turn-around!
I hope you enjoyed my updates and here's to a successful run of games from here on in!