It was a bit unusual lining up on the SW 20th side of PGE Park, as we got ready to attend the Timbers - Bayern Munich II match on Thursday night. The Timbers just completed a tough, draining match versus FC Flounders on Wednesday with a loss, and there were many Timbers Army sitting this one out. Girl and I usually move to another part of the park for a match just to get a different view of things, so we decided to try and sit in the Beer Garden at PGE Park. It's an area at field level on the left (or west side) of the stadium, and you are basically 10 feet from the pitch. What we were surprised about was our regular Row N companions dublix, S3K, Firestarter and Dirk Danger were wanting to join us. So it became Row N in the far side of the park.
I didn't know much about Bayern Munich II, except they played in Eugene a few nights ago and they have some very good, but extremely young soccer talent. I didn't even have time to do a match preview, but in sitting at field level, I was able to get quite a bit of pictures and video. For pictures, go ahead and click here, while videos are at my home on You Tube. I did get a few good shots, I thought, and it was nice to be that close to the pitch.
The Timbers played nearly an entire team of reserves, only using regular starters Steven Keel and Keith Savage, who had played on Wednesday, Tony McManus and Ryan Pore started as they recover from injury and Scot Thompson came on as a substitute late, but for everyone else, it was a chance to play in a game in front of fans and show something. Most of the guys have played here and there in league matches or other games, but for many, this was their first real significant action for the year. GK Brian Visser got the start, with Danso, Nishimura, Keel and Higgins in back, Savage, McManus, Nimo and Pore in the mids, and Jallow and Forrest up front. Keith Forrest was a guest player, who had been in camp for FC Flounder but was cut late, and wanted to catch on with a club, so he came down to try out. And he netted a very nice goal in the 8th minute that made an impression. Jallow added a tally in the 55th minute, while the Timbers generated some other chances, including a sitter that Scot probably wished he had back because it was pretty and he skied it over the cross bar. Overall, the team did very well, especially after the tough night the previous night.
Alex Nimo impresses me with his speed and vision, and he was really all over the pitch last night. He made some great runs and passes, and probably should have had a goal himself with his work. Danso was very solid in the back, giving us really 5 good backs to use, and Cameron Dunn and Nishimura also did well in stints back there, so really, our defense is 7 deep. Higgins was solid, if unspectacular most of the night, he didn't make any mistakes but he was really non descript. Pore and McManus seem to be rounding back into form, while it was nice to see Jallow get some work to get his fitness up. And we should sign Forrest if we haven't already, he's big, got a good touch, and a very good work rate. But my man of the match was Brian Visser, who made some quality saves all night, and really held his own in the box. He was on top of his game, and really, his play gives me hope that if Cronin becomes injured, we've got a good fill in to fall back on as needed. Overall, it was well played.
Well, and it's with this post that I'd like to announce a slight change around here. I've been blogging in relative obscurity and anonymity for a while now, and have some regular readers, which is nice to hear, but I've wondered about expanding my audience a bit. Well, a good friend of mine, Rick, had enlisted to help resurrect the Oregon Live Timbers Blog a few weeks ago, and when I approached him to offer help, he asked about whether I would be interested in directly contributing to the site. After careful consideration and the incredible support of my wife, I've decided to start offering my help to Oregon Live to blog about the team, starting in the next week or so. This opens up a wider audience and lets me still do what I love to do, although I lose a bit of my anonymity and I have to keep the content of each blog exclusive. But what I can do is really provide my expertise and thoughts after watching this team for almost 9 seasons and seeing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hideous. So, as I post there, I will link something here so you can read my work there. I'll still blog here and provide my insane thoughts about things, but the blog will probably become less Timbers centric and more sports in general, but it's an evolution so we'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, enjoy your Fourth of July holiday and look out for the bees at your sporting events.
Post script - I have added a few videos and pictures from Wednesday's match to my sites as well, so you can find pictures on Flickr and videos on YouTube. Enjoy!!