Monday, April 24, 2006

Same Old Swangard

Match No. 1 is in the books and the result wasn't entirely unexpected, considering Portland's USL-1 history in B.C. and the absence of one Byron Alvarez, who has more goals against Canadian sides than any other country or territory as a member of the Timbers (seriously, look it up).

It was very strange to be on the listening end of the broadcast, and to follow that by scouring over other people's accounts of the match. I still feel completely in the dark as to the personality of the 2006 team, something that will need to change in a hurry if/when this booth jockey returns to the booth. Peter Schaad is a pro, so having Vancouver be the first match of the season to listen to certainly wasn't the end of the world.

A slight source of concern was Coach Agnello's postgame quote that he was "very proud of this team because when we went down a goal, they didn't collapse, didn't give up." I'm taking this more as glass-half-full coachspeak spin and hope there was never actually a fear that this version of the Timbers would possibly collapse just 17 minutes into a 28-game (2,520-plus minutes) season.

Surprised: Portland did not score a goal in its season opener ... Timber killer Jason Jordan did not score a goal for the 'Caps.

Not Surprised: Hugo got his first yellow card of 2006 against Vancouver ... Josh Saunders, by all accounts, was solid between the posts ... Jordan figured in the game's only goal (assist) ... former Timber Jeff Clarke was on the winning side against his old team for the 861st time ... Swangard was sold out.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ten Questions

Since I'm stuck, mumbling and grumbling to myself as I anxiously await Saturday's webcast of the Timbers/Whitecaps with Vancouver's Peter Schaad at the controls, I might as well share my thoughts on the season's first road trip, since that was the original premise of this blog. With no firsthand knowledge this time around, I can't help but wonder what will take place when the bus begins to roll up I-5 this afternoon...

Will Vern be back in the role of coach captain and will he be wearing his magic vest?

Will the rides first viewing of Van Wilder begin before or after the bus leaves the parking lot?

Which player(s) will forget his passport/green card/birth certificate?

How many times will Earl's be mentioned to the new guys on the ride up?

Will Vern speed away from the border again, setting off the alarm?

How many extra security guards will the Whitecaps employ to keep an eye on the Timbers Army?

How many goals will Timbers' killer Jason Jordan score?

How many annoying celebrations by Alfredo Valente will the Army have to endure?

How many cheap shots will Hugo recieve and deliver over the course of 90 minutes on the Swangard pitch?

Will Chris Agnello sit or stand for the bulk of the match?

Will Gavin be confused for a member of a children's musical troupe?

Oh, there's plenty more, but I do have a real job to get back to.

RIP: JT, Bobby, Romer, Tony, Benny, Winters, Aaron, Aaran, Sam, Dizzy, Higgins, Fadi, Shawn, Jarrod and Shonna

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ax to the Radio?

Fans of the Timbers and yours truly are hopeful that the cliche' No news is good news holds true when contemplating the future of the team's presence on the airwaves/internet, not to mention this blog. Trust me when I tell you that the powers that be over at PGE Park want the matches on the air, but have not - as of yet - finalized a plan to make that happen. Will a decision be made before the home opener? We'll have to wait and see.

What I do know for sure is that Saturday's season opener in Vancouver, which is just over 48 hours away as of this post, will have an empty visiting radio booth for the first time in six years. The Accent Inn of Burnaby will have one less bed to make and Earl's Restaurant will lose out on one person's entire per diem (and then some). The Roots outlet store up the road from the hotel will retain at least one more article of clothing in its inventory than usual on a Timbers/Whitecaps weekend. Canadian Subways will take a hit, etc., etc. Woe is me.

The ATTR will sit idle, but its author will attempt to pull in the home webcast via To dispense another cliche' in closing, let's hope this will be The exception rather than norm.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Two Weeks and a Day

Hard to believe, but the Timbers' opener is just over two weeks away. My training camp has been going well (down five pounds as of this post with about seven more to go) and I even got a PGE Park fix by attending the Seattle Mariners' exhibition on March 31.

For a minute or two early on, the energy resembled the Sunderland match from '05. After seeing a sold out crowd turn up on a rainy, cold night to watch one Major League team play its regulars for all of three innings, I'm convinced there has never been a clearer sign that Portland sports fans are desperate for anything other than the NBA. Hopefully, the Axemen can also continue to capitalize on this trend.

Great to see the signing of Edwin the other day. If he progresses, he won't be here long, but I'll take him for as many matches as possible.