Category: Timbers

The Portland Timbers are on a roll, so I write a column on losing

I can’t help myself. The season is wrapping up, the Timbers are somewhat improbably top of the conference, the Sounders are imploding, and what do I do? I concentrate on losing. I think you can only properly enjoy victory if you have a thorough understanding of defeat and failure- and I suppose I mean that categorically, across all life venues.

When your team is in a rut, when the style played is best simply labeled as “mistakes,” you dream about victory. Similarly, when your team is cruising, when they seem to have a permanent grace, you should dream about defeat.


Timbers win again and I like funky livestreams.

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 8.43.14 PM

The Timbers just beat Dallas 3-2 in the Open Cup- their unbeaten run just keeps on going. I saw a little bit of the game- the last part of the second half where the Timbers battered away at Dallas’ goal- but then sadly I had more pressing things to do.

What struck me as I watched it, was how I was watching it, which sounds dumb, but anyone familiar with how livestreams like this can relate. It was on FC Dallas’ website, and had the narrow-scope feel of a home recording. Weirdly, the bleachers on the opposite side of the stadium were completely empty, and I’m not sure why because I didn’t have the sound on. Which was also weird, but my fault- I have a Heisenberg uncertainty thing where I add weirdness to whatever I observe.

But the weird icing on this strange cake were the super-retro instant replays. They were sponsored by Advocare, which must be a Texan corporation that really cares about its customers/clients/patients. The logo above would flip in over the screen like a bad Powerpoint transition, and then there’d be about a 5 second replay of the action you just saw, from the same angle you just saw it at. They made me feel like I was time traveling.

Be aware that I’m not complaining. I think this is awesome. It’s refreshing to see a game unpolished and unadorned with gimmicks- or at least, as the case was with Advocare, an extremely cheap gimmick. In the sporting world is there anything worse than those damn NFL robots? I mean, besides John Terry?

Low-rent streams like this are there so those of us that are interested can watch. In a funny way, this sort of thing radiates a vibe of hard work that televised games do not. It’s there because someone wants us to be able to see it- not because someone wants to make a buck off it. At least for now.

A new kind of good form

The Portland Timbers are now 9 games undefeated. It’s been a running club record, and a mark of success of their new coach Caleb Porter.

One of the attractive things about the MLS is the fundamental newness of the venture. Soccer isn’t new in the US, but mainstream acceptance and enthusiasm is, as is a stable professional league. A team can go unbeaten for 9 games and set a record for itself: there is no mush of history, no litany of half-forgotten and near-irrelevant past triumphs. We’re plowing into all that now, the glory has barely started. The history is in front of us.