Thursday, March 31, 2011

New England Away

The team has already made the trek, but the broadcasters follow on Friday a.m. via three different flights from three different ports. If all goes well, we should be in our southeastern Mass. digs by 9 p.m. ET, just in time to catch the second half of the Sox opener with the locals.

I'm a New England guy, but my teams are the Red Sox and Bruins. I am not a Celtics or Patriots fan, and my soccer allegiance obviously does not include the Revs. Still, I'm looking forward to visiting the old stomping grounds, if only for about 36 hours.

With the risk of dating myself a bit, when I lived in NE the only soccer players were high school exchange students, so I'm very interested to see what kind of attention an MLS game gets in the Hub.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Miniblog in store for 2009

In an effort to resurrect some posting consistency for Ax to the Road, we'll be transitioning to Twitter for the 2009 season. If you're currently on Twitter, just follow @AxToTheRoad. If you're not, sign up. It's free, hassle-free and the next big thing.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Morning After

You have to love the 4:30 a.m. CT wakeup call. The good part about that is we should be back in the Pacific Northwest around 10:15 a.m. PT and have at least part of a weekend day to enjoy.

Plenty of mixed emotions following last night's draw. The guys were desperate for a win, but given the way the match unfolded with the early PK, etc., there was a level of relief in rallying to tie and more importantly preventing the Thunder from gaining three points.

The two Bryans - Jordan and Little - were key in the second half. Moving Jordan out wide and Taka Suzuki up top in the second half produced outstanding results. I won't be surprised if we see that on Thursday against the Sounders.

Until Thursday, cheers.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Starting 11

For tonight's match at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn.

GK Knighton
D Guante
D S. Thompson
D Knowles
D Griffin
M Poltl
M Oka
M Suzuki
M Olum
F Alvarez
F Jordan

Minnesota has allowed 25 goals on the year, so if ever there was a night to get the offense cranked up it's this one!

Minny to the Max

Back on the road here in Minnesota for tonight's tilt against the Thunder. As expected, no Shaun Higgins, Justin Thompson or Chris Brown in tow this trip as each serves a league-imposed suspension.

I'll have the lineups shortly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Heading Home

After a very disappointing effort in Charleston last night, the Timbers are headed home for what they hope will be a prosperous Thursday match on their home pitch against Carolina. One point from this past trip has really put the pressure on with the likes of Montreal and Rochester charging up the table in hot pursuit of a middle or better playoff spot.

It's hard to boil down the entire weekend to 90 seconds, but consider that the Ax Men were less than two minutes away from a shutout win and three points at Atlanta on Friday night but couldn't hold the fort. A win there and the trip would have been a solid success regardless of what happened the next night vs. the Battery.

The players held a meeting after last night's loss, evidently more than aware that it's up to them to turn things around. Patience from the coaching staff and front office is undoubtedly wearing thin, which will ultimately lead to major personnel changes - next year if not this - unless the current group responds.

Let's hope some home cookin' on Thirsty Thursday does the trick.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Live from Blackbaud Stadium

We made it to Charleston at 4:45 a.m. this morning on a straight shot from Atlanta. The Boys don't look too worse for wear, outside of Tim Karalexis, who's season is likely done for the year due to the knee injury he suffered early in last night's match.

Also questionable tonight is Miguel Guante, who took himself out in the first half vs. Atlanta with a sore hamstring. He is listed among the reserves, so in a pinch I've got to assume he is available. Playing the second of back-to-backs on the road is tough enough, then factor in a short bench and the task of facing the top team in USL-1 appears even tougher.

So, without further ado, here is tonight's starting 11 for the Ax Men:

D S. Thompson
D Knowles
D J. Thompson
D Griffin
M Dombrowski
M Poltl
M Higgins
M Brown
F Suzuki
F Olum

Until the broadcast, cheers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Starting Lineup

Here's where the blog can actually be informative and break news: Tonight's starting 11 for the Portland Timbers

GK Knighton
D S. Thompson
D Knowles
D Karalexis
D Griffin
M Poltl
M Dombrowski
M Higgins
M Guante
F Brown
F Olum

Still waiting on Atlanta, but we know Bobo is out with an injury. Convenient, don't you think, after he's been torched by Bags twice this year.


Good thing tonight's match is an 8 p.m. ET kick, because at the moment the heat and humidity is off the charts. Maybe it was because I had a long workout in the hotel "fitness center" (very loose description), but I wanted to stop and rest halfway from the locker room to the "press box" (also a very generous term to describe the broadcast location here at the Silverbacks' grounds).

It's hard to know which Portland team will take the field tonight - the talented, efficient bunch who won here recently or the slow starting crew that fell at home to Puerto Rico. My money is on the former, now that Jamil Walker has had some time to acclimate and after Brad Knighton and the backline were so on form versus Tigres. Let's hope so, especially with another overnight bus trip on tap post-match.

I'm guessing there is a fairly elaborate strategy session and team talk taking place in the locker room since we arrived here at the stadium two hours before kickoff and well ahead of most Silverbacks' game personnel. Also, it's just too uncomfortable outside to spend too much time on the pitch. These conditions give a whole new meaning to the term "warm-up".

Until kickoff, cheers!

Back in the A-T-L

As I've eluded to before, if the USL first division was a movie, it would be Groundhog Day. How else can you explain consecutive road trips to the southeastern United States? If the flick is true to form, the Ax Men will lose the first game, travel overnight by bus to the next location and pull off an improbable victory tomorrow.

But wait, didn't the Timbers just beat Atlanta in Atlanta? Wouldn't it make more sense to assume victory tonight based on the Groundhog formula? Isn't Chris Bagley guaranteed to beat Matt Bobo for a goal? Maybe. Maybe not. It's a bit confusing, no?

One thing that differs from our last trip down here is the addition of Jamil Walker and a pair of new goalkeepers on the travel squad. And the absence of departed captain Andrew Gregor. Also, Tommy Poltl is back in the fold after his three-match banishment for a red card.

With added firepower possibly on the way, the key to this trip is to keep pace in the USL-1 table. A result tonight would assure that.

More later...