Sorry it took so long to wrap up the weekend. Didn't have time last night or this morning for a post, and there was no internet to be had at RDU or DFW.
Great win. That game had 0-0 written all over it until Bryan Jordan somehow (and there's still debate as to how) turned in Luke Kreamalmeyer's cross. But, as Gavin Wilkinson said, when you make those kinds of runs, and play in those kinds of balls, good things happen. Speaking of which, check PortlandTimbers.com in the coming days to hear Gavin, Jordan, and Tom Poltl give their post-match thoughts.
The team was understandibly in a good mood last night. These guys know that it's the team in first place at the end of September, not the beginning, that goes down in the history books....but I get the impression finishing the regular season at the top would be huge for them. Especially given who would be second. I think the thing that stands out most for me from this trip, and from the celebrations last night, is the spirit of this team. They all really like each other. They look out for each other. It's a group of friends, not just a group of soccer players. Gavin said it's probably the tightest team he's been a part of. And I think Gavin gets a lot of credit: not only did he bring in a group of high character guys, but (while he can become "The Coach" when needed) he's one of the boys as well, which is something I don't think you could say for Angello or Howe. Really just a fun group to be around, and it made for some great memories for me.
Here's a spectacuarly brief photo essay, courtesty of my cell-phone's camera:
Gavin Wilkinson agonizes over who to start in defense against Carolina.
This was the view from the "crow's nest" of the press box. It's all you can ask for as a broadcaster: near the center, up high, but close enough to the field that it's easy to tell who is doing what. Certainly one of the best broadcast locations in the league.
Their USL Live crew was on the other side of the deck. Nice guys, and helpful. But boo those of you who listen to them instead of us.
They don't call it the "crow's nest" for nothing. That's the very steep staircase you must ascend from the main press room to get up there. Not fun to do with a bunch of gear. But that's the only thing I can complain about: even their press box food was excellent (sandwiches and wraps, not just pizza!).
Hard to see, but that's the SAS Stadium scoreboard proclaming the final talley. And you can see the multitudes departing with their heads held low. Okay, maybe that's a tad melodramatic...
Here's the barbecue sauce stain I deposited on my shirt before we left Raleigh. Which meant I spent the rest of the day walking around with a giant "hey, look at me, I'm an idiot!" sign on my chest. Not good times.
"Are you guys a sports team or something? Do you play basketball?....Soccer huh? Do you play against David Beckham?" Timbers players kill time in the Dallas airport before the final leg of our trip home. In case you're curious, Gavin is throwing a penny at someone. And here's some advice: never oppose Gavin Wilkinson in any kind of competition or game, regardless of what it is. Ever.
That's all for this weekend. I'll check back in Thursday or so, once I start preparing for the Timbers season finale against Vancouver.