My God, is this real? Is C.I. really doing a season preview?
Yes. As we enter my fifth season writing this Six Degrees column for Slide Rule Pass, I’m doing my first-ever out-of-season column. Crazy, right?
What can I say? The team’s got me excited. They’re making me want to write words.
So let’s do it. Let’s see if I can shoehorn my thoughts and hopes and worries and bad jokes into six semi-coherent sections.
It is deep in the Black Months now. The rain – and the snow, and ice – has arrived. The trees are bare, the wind blows cold, and, perhaps the worst of all, the pitch down at the old barn on SW 18th and Morrison is empty and silent.
And the damn Sounders are in the Cup Final.
Let’s not forget that it was only just over a year ago that we all were raised to topgallant delight by our Timbers’, and Cascadia’s, first MLS Championship. I don’t think any of us who lived through that mad run up to the Final, and that epic Final match, will forget that season and the joy that came with it.
From Chara’s “Assassin’s Creed” header in LA to the madness of the play-in match and 22 rounds of PKs.
From the cold calculation of the scoreless draw here to the clinical beatdown in Vancouver.
From the wild ride on the FC Dallas bull to the 95th minute Melano dagger to the heart of the beast.
From Diego Valeri’s ridiculously improbable 27-second goal to the final whistle that crowned the Timbers the 2015 MLS Champions.
What a long, strange trip it was.
And now, just as we await the end of the 2016 season and begin to think and wonder about 2017 comes a reminder that it was a stranger, more magical, and less probable trip even than it seemed at the time.
In the course of five days, the Portland Timbers were knocked out of the Champions League, knocked out of the MLS playoffs, and managed to lose a seemingly unloseable Cascadia Cup. In a year full of bad weeks, I think this week probably qualifies as the worst.
I’m stepping on C.I.’s toes a bit here, but before this weekend’s critical match in Our House in the Middle of B.C. I wanted to post a brief note about the Wednesday night 1-1 home draw to Saprissa C.D. that knocked the Timbers out of the CONCACAF Champion’s League.
I can’t add much to William Conwell’s report at the Stumptown link above. Yes, it was a brutal hackfest. We think we have it bad here in MLS (as C.I. noted about the Colorado match this past weekend…) until we have to play under the indifferent gaze of CCL officials. This was a whole order of magnitude rougher.
It seems silly to talk about a Colorado game as being ugly. I mean, of course it was ugly. It’s Colorado. That’s what they do.
When you play a game at 5,280 feet, you better get your goals early, because you’re gonna be too tired to get ’em late.
tl;dr, the Timbers didn’t get their goals early.
The Portland Timbers went to Houston this weekend and stumbled around drunkenly for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, the Portland Thorns went to New Jersey and won the Supporter’s Shield. At least we’ve got one good team to root for, right?
Years from now, will people ask, “Were you there for the Darren Mattocks game?” Is that how we’ll look back on Saturday’s game? As the day Mattocks figured it out?