Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blogging About The Portland Timbers

Ok, I've had a couple of people at my work ask me why I don't blog about my favorite team, the Portland Timbers. Seriously, as much as I seem to talk about the team, how the games went, our efforts to get MLS, why not dedicate a blog to all that is Timbers. Well, honestly, as much as that would be interesting to do, there's actually people doing it already that are much better at it and know the game of footy really well.

The Offside blog for the Timbers talks about the team, trends, news, and puts it all in a quick, easy to read format. It helps that the author is a footy guy who has been doing it for years, as Roberto knows his stuff. He doesn't spend a lot of time talking about fluff, it's all about the Timbers in a easy format. The Offside also has various football pages for other teams and leagues as well, so you can catch up on anything footy related in one spot. For more detailed Timbers coverage, you can always visit my friend Obi's site, the 107 Report, where he does detailed analysis, interviews, and throws in some cool music along the way. He gets some great interviews from the team, coaches, and fans, and gets all sides of the news about the Timbers. The local paper also does a blog that gets submissions from Timbers fans as well, although the blog has been a bit outdated for a bit.

I suppose I could speak from a fan's perspective, but it's also important to me to not be a one trick pony with my blog. Honestly, I love the Trail Blazers a lot, and I've done blogs on other sports as well, and so being narrow in my focus, well, I'm a bit worried about losing some of the subject matter. I really sometimes just think of an idea to write about, and then just start typing. Which can either lead to some incredible prose, or something that really hundreds of cats random smacking keys on a keyboard could have thrown together. But I promised myself in doing this that I would just take my chances with things, and go from my first draft and idea and run with it.

From a fan's world, the Timbers have won games they probably shouldn't have and lost games they probably should have won, so being in the middle of the table makes sense so far. We've had injuries, something that happens to a lot of teams, but it's hit the midfield quite hard. We also traded away our former captain, Andrew Gregor, in a mid season deal with Rochester and Carolina, which almost never happens in the USL. We've lost our top keeper, Ray Burse, who was on loan from Dallas FC, and now are on our third keeper, Brad Knighton, who is on loan from New England. Our top two strikers weren't with the club three weeks ago, Bryan Jordan was loaned to us from the LA Galaxy (he played here last year, and is a OSU product), and Byron Alvarez, who was with the team two years ago but was not resigned after Chris Agnello was fired after the 2006 season. Prior to them being signed, our top strikers were Taka Suzuki and Chris Brown, both skilled players just past their 30th birthdays but definitely not the quickest players around. They've actually played better in midfield lately than up front. Our defense was top rated last year, and all 4 guys are back this year, Scot Thompson, Justin Thompson, Leonard Griffin and Cameron Knowles. But Scot has looked a step slow at times and has gotten beat which never happens, and Leo has been inconsistent in his play. Plus, our defense last year had Josh Wicks cover many mistakes in goal, and our keepers, while good, aren't as athletic as Josh. And we have 11 midfielders on our team, but really only Shaun Higgins and Tommy Poltl have played consistently well week in and week out, and both of them have dealt with injuries and suspensions.

So to say we are a team in flux is an understatement, but we are sitting in 7th place and the final playoff spot as of right now. With 11 teams in the league, the top seed gets a bye in round 1 of the playoffs and then seeds 2 through 7 meet up for the right to advance. Also, with everyone playing three games against each other in a 30 game schedule, you get to see your opponents a lot. And USL Live has changed the complexion of scouting, as all games are available on a website for a relatively cheap fee, and you can watch them live or on archive. It makes it easier to know how your rivals are doing, watching them live and somewhat up close. I know the Timbers fans love it, cause you can watch games all the time, and we've set up many viewings of away matches at various pubs about town.

The ultimate Timbers site is Soccer City USA (, which allows the Timbers fans to post, connect with each other, set up viewings, share news tidbits, set up charitable events about town, talk bowling, talk soccer outside of Portland, or just share weird videos. The site has strengthened the sense of community amongst the TA, being able to share news and stay connected despite busy schedules about. I can't really get through my day without checking the site a few times a day for stuff.

Between all of these sources, I can't think of what else I might add to the world of blogs, so I will continue with my random assortment of topics. But rest assured that the Timbers and Trail Blazers will be tops on my list for things to spout about, along with pie. And maybe a crazy cat story now and then.


On a previous blog, I talked about Brett Favre and his saga to play again. Since my post, he's been reinstated by the league and met with team officials a couple of times. It was also announced that the quarterback job would be open to a competition amongst all of the players. While the press releases said the Packers would welcome him back, the team has said today that Favre didn't have the best team attitude and so they asked him to leave. Presumably, this is probably due to his desire to be the starter again, while the team wants to move on with other players. Tonight, reports are now surfacing that he's headed to the Jets.

In my original post, I said it was up to the team to make a move that made sense for everyone involved. But it's become apparent that they've also grown tired of a player that while very good being a piece of their history for years, has become a distraction by his desire to be the center of attention. It's all about what Favre wants, and he wants to play by his terms. And I can see now why the team has decided to move on. Instead of being a leader and doing what is right for the team, Favre has made it about him. Face it, the guy that looks best out of this is Aaron Rodgers, who basically went along with the plan as best he could. Even Favre admitted that his being in camp was a bit of distraction, but that being the starter again was what mattered.

In order to be a team leader, sometimes you have to know when you are beat and it's time to move on. Hopefully, Brett Favre gets this message and moves onto the Jets to resume his career. He might do well, he might be better off retired, but at least he's not the Packers' problem anymore.

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