BOG Tea Leaves: Week Four


Saturday, March 28

New England Revolution vs. San Jose Earthquakes #NEvSJ

Let’s start the week where last left off.
Where excitement lingers like a cough.
Jacking off to nil-nil draws.
And gesticulating at bad calls.
How fast England of New can fall.
When their Jones hits a germane wall.
Football played on a pitch this bad.
Makes one forget what one once had.
1-0 Revolution

Impact de Montreal vs. Orlando City Soccer Club #MTLvORL

Retire now and forever young.
Lions have a purple tounge.
Canadians seem to have no fun.
When a Champions League is to be won.
Around Kaka they play like shit.
They tippy-tap around the pitch.
When lack of sun shrinks brains of men.
Is when a pen brings you down to ten.
2-1 Montreal

New York City Football Club vs. Sporting Kansas City #NYCvSKC

Lampard sits in his box up high.
Perpetuating an age old lie.
Promoting a diamond encrusted charade.
A diamond shaped field a branding parade.
A denigration of the holy sport’s show.
Of footballing angles and sidelines aglow.
Second class athletes play on others lawns.
Second class football brings nothing but yawns.
0-0 DRAW

District of Columbia United vs. Los Angeles Galaxy #DCvLA

See what makes the good teams fold.
Inside the crumbling stadia of old.
Olsen is young not old and bored.
He knows wins are earned when goals are scored.
But Arena’s wins come from the book.
The book he wrote on thoughts he took.
Nothing original in locking it down.
But life is complete when you make the Bruce frown.
2-1 United

Columbus Crew Soccer Club vs. New York Red Bulls #CLBvNY

Mellow Yellow won’t give you wings.
Petke’s absence a lingering sting.
The Ides of Marsch still trundle on.
As spectacular as a New Jersey dawn.
While a rebranded crew of vagabonds.
A mishmash shape of missung songs.
Put together something strong.
Because jobs don’t last here very long.
2-2 DRAW

Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids #HOUvCOL

This game looks like a nap on paper.
A pleated slack without a taper.
More boring than one would hope.
More boring than one man can cope.
Both teams gave up before they tried.
The Soccer Gods have wept and cried.
Banish them to the bottom lands.
If it gets too bad let them use hands.
0-0 DRAW

Football Club Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders Football Club #DALvSEA

You want to see that both teams lose.
But reality is that you have to choose.
But draws can suck the momentum away.
And when it’s said and done that day.
The way they play won’t tell the tale.
Won’t show you ways in which they fail.
Cause end-to-end means nodding off.
And both defenses can be soft.
1-1 DRAW

Sunday, March 29

Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union #CHIvPHI

You can’t expect another draw.
When losing games is all you saw.
Flashes of flame from among the coals.
A lack of guts not lack of goals.
The least of east won’t rise like yeast.
Dark Magic Mike a wounded beast.
Set the Shipp sail and hope the best.
Which bad is better is the true test.
2-0 Fire

Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto Football Club #RSLvTOR

Pay the price for the price you paid.
But don’t make a bed in which you have laid.
Leave it for others to do unto you.
When wealth of the many goes only to few.
Holes in your wallets holes in your mind.
A whole lot of something from nothing you’ll find.
Put it together but don’t sell it out.
Pull off a result without strutting about.
1-0 Real

The Pragmatics of Sporting: Official Match Statement for Sporting Kansas City vs. The Mighty Timbers


Official Match Statement for SKCvPOR

Dear Mighty Timbers,

A pragmatic approach to love would never have found me creeping through an enchanted summer evening, sweat glistening on the calves as the lingering glow of a fully mooned rain shower made the iridescence of every moment nearly unbearable to the eyes of a mortal lover, as I rushed to meet, to hold, to breathe you.

If I was pragmatic, laws would confine, rules would entrap, and morays, it is the custom, would still be eels. I wouldn’t run to the edge of a short and slippery dock just to be near you faster. I wouldn’t hear one thing from the ones who guide me and do the exact opposite for the ones who need me. I wouldn’t shake the gates of hell because really when your pragmatic about it why does it matter.

Pragmatism isn’t in it for the thrill. It’s in it to do what has been done. To apply a proven approach based some arbitrary truths. Pragmatists write the same letter as the one that got a “yes” before. Pragmatists paint a similar picture to the one that paid their bills. They order the same meals as they know they liked. Pragmatists pass the same laws that slowly chip away at what little freedoms are left. Pragmatists vote for the same leaders in a spiraling chaos of least worst and diminishing returns.

Pragmatism doesn’t challenge the status quo, it perpetuates it. It treads water instead of swimming to land. Approaching every moment based on the last and results and mitigating risk and therefore reward by giving what has been given before.

It uses what works.

But what if what works, fucking sucks.

What if the pragmatist approach to MLS football is the ugliest amateurish looking kick-about when two teams are battling to play the most negative football. Like almost unwatchable. Like nearly laughable sometimes. Like fuck pragmatism.

Save pragmatism for a fucking Cup Final. Save pragmatism for the MLS Playoff and away leg of a CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal.

Pragmatism didn’t light this league on fire with a different way to play two years ago. Pragmatism doesn’t break the heart and change the way with the coldness of an empty handshake.

Pragmatism doesn’t change the world.

It repeats the parts that work. We’ve seen where that can get us in the tragic scope of human history and football is a metaphor for life and we’ve seen where it gets us in football.

There is so little to write about the match and the pragmatic way that nothing fucking happened. It was an eternity before someone had possession. We had to be pragmatic. Both teams were repealing magnets unable or unwilling to perform in the game. Pragmatism working its magical ability to turn vibrancy to mediocrity. To turn the leaps needed to shape mankind into the baby steps that signal its end.

If being pragmatic means our best offensive threat either is the one losing every duel and second ball or the one dribbling into the heavens on the back of a unicorn wish than why even entertain any notion of pragmatism. Let’s do what we know did work before the fates of MLS officiating and roster vulnerability and scheduling tom-fuckery made us think it didn’t.


Let’s go at their throats and pass them to death like the cuts of at least 500 knives. Let’s create chances not wait for them to occur. Let’s be innovative, refreshing, daring, big balls and brass hearts, let’s not be pragmatic.

Let’s be entertaining.

Am I not entertained?

Are you fucking kidding me?



BOG Tea Leaves: Week Three


Saturday, March 21

New England Revolution vs. Impact de Montreal #NEvMTL

Revolution revolving earth. 
And CCL MTL worth. 
The youth of Porter coming forth. 
Of good play there isn’t a dearth.
This could be won or lost today. 
It won’t be drawn or thrown away. 
Impact focus on league play. 
Will show their uptick is here to stay. 
2-1 Impact

Colorado Rapids vs. New York City Football Club #COLvNYC
Here we are for future stars. 
And fake support in the bars. 
Buy a flag a scarf and kit. 
Don’t matter if you play like shit. 
Travel into mile high. 
Kiss you momentum goodbye. 
They’ll shut you down and shut you up. 
Without actually doing much. 
1-1 DRAW

Philadelphia Union vs. Football Club Dallas #PHIvDAL

A game that lacked any flair. 
Postponed with snow in the air. 
Dallas look poised to roll. 
But we know they just troll. 
Always tops after March. 
Philly stiff and made of starch. 
Put one past them win the day. 
Win early often is their only way. 
3-1 Dallas

Orlando City Soccer Club vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club #ORLvVAN

Here we go again down south. 
Where end zones mark the goal mouth. 
Where Kaka doesn’t mean poo poo. 
Cause it’s not what you say it’s what you do. 
When Whitecaps come bumbling around. 
Can hit a target from the ground. 
They’ll dive into the Orlando bay. 
And Kah looks for ankles to slay. 
1-0 Orlando

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo #LAvHOU

New faced coach same old team. 
An orange peeled doesn’t scream. 
A galaxy is made of stars. 
This one’s in a desert of cars. 
A parking lot outside and in. 
The midfield of Houston cannot win. 
You cannot have what you don’t got. 
Basically they have no shot. 
3-0 Galaxy

Sunday, March 22

New York Red Bulls vs. District of Columbia United #NYvDC

Faced with holes too big to fill. 
Wearing shoes won’t fit the bill. 
Legends come and legends go. 
Mostly legends start to go slow. 
Youthful vigor wanes the wax. 
And New Jersey it tends to tax. 
Three weeks in yet two games down. 
The Ides of Marsch and tears of clown. 
2-0 Red Bulls

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire #SJvCHI

Open up the largest bar. 
Get there in your stupid car. 
Play shit ball for shithead fans. 
Recycled tactics like tin cans. 
An open match in open air. 
End to end action without flair. 
When will it end and go away. 
Will the stands be filled another day. 
2-2 DRAW

[Insert Punny Title Derived From Pop Culture or Literature]: Official Match Statement for The Mighty PTFC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy


Official Match Statement PORvLA   3/15/15  League Match

Dear Mighty Timbers,

Sorry I didn’t write sooner.

Been busy unpacking my antique wooden chest with disintegrating leather fastenings that is the suitcase of my emotions and I must say I am tired of wearing the obnoxiously baby-blue tuxedo of tempered expectations.

It’s not as bad as the “Arrived Naked To School” three-piece suit that is only one piece and screams at the world, “I’m lost and fucking scared!”

But it pales in comparison to the power sheath of green and golden awesomeness that has an attached cape and radiates confidence and winning as I swing my axe about town.

These aren’t just three simple options determined by results. Each one is a complex detail of stitching and buttons. Of collars and hems. Of shoulder cuts and boot length. Of opinions sewn into sleeves and coffee stains that look like blood when perceived from the angle of that silly fucking social media dress.

So I sat for days in the darkness that is the days without you and I tried to put something nice together that would truly reflect my feelings yet be functional. I ended up giggle/sobbing into a mismatched sock and spilling my glass wine before getting comfortable in just my third kit top and a pair of slippers because I needed to feel safe.

I furiously constructed narratives to express my opinions of the day that ended on a sprint up the peak of joy only to plummet into the tepid water of a familiar bath.

I wrote a 500 page novel about this match and then I tore out each page and burned them one by one in the barrel behind my house.

I wrote a 30 page thesis expounding on the relative options we had, don’t have, and should have until I realized I have no option other than support so instead of submitting a draft my dog ate it.

I wrote a two act play that takes place in three acts but the cast kept forgetting the lines in the final scene and the understudy memorizing the wrong ones so I adapted it into a screenplay that morphed into a sitcom and ended as a two-part miniseries slated for WGN that I canceled after Part 1 because everyone already knew the ending.

We’ve all seen it before and I’ve told this tale more times than my heart wants my brain to admit. It has become increasingly difficult to navigate the uncharted seas of relating a match’s events as an expression of feelings born of the result. But relating the results of a match through the narrative chronology of events we all watched, lived through, listened to Porter expound upon, and read about in the same formulaic approach to reporting that we are told is journalism, would only add to the pile of blogs we all sift through that tell us the same exact thing.

And I don’t have any desire to regurgitate reports that tell you what you already know using a set of standardized and bastardized football clichés.

But I’ve run out of 1000 word ways to say, “Meh.”

So, this time I’ll take the easy route and tell you exactly what just happened in a way that best reflects a common approach to crafting any report.

[ Insert Timbers and opponent come out all guns blazing like bats from hell or equivalent cliché to express fast paced yet sloppy MLS football ]

[ Insert Timbers looking dangerous but not finding enough chances in the final third or are unlucky to not get the bounce there or be called for a debatable foul but try to be subjective and not judgmental ]

[ Insert Nagbe looking dangerous but use an exciting metaphor that helps visualize his speed on the ball ]

[ Insert Nagbe fouled ] {COPY PASTE FOR FURTHER USE}

[ Insert a lovely back heel to Wallace ]

[ Insert an overused way to explain Wallace’s pass to Adi ]

[ Insert an overused way to explain Adi’s beautiful strike and tender celebration that give Timbers 1st half lead ]

[ Insert Nagbe fouled ]

[ Insert opponent scores to level it just before the break or half or interval ]

[ Insert Nagbe fouled ]

[ Insert Timbers sluggishness after halftime ]

[ Insert some meaningless stats that lack context and/or relevance ]

[ Insert a way to explain that much didn’t happen for much of the second half ]

[ Insert Nagbe burning defenders to ball and deflected assist to Adi ]

[ Insert one or two too many touches on ball from Adi before slotting home his second goal in the 89th minute ]

[ Insert opponent ties match in final minutes of injury time ]

[ Insert WillJohnson.gif ]

[ Insert sadtrombone.mpg ]

[ Insert ]

[ Insert a positive affirmation because love is our greatest weapon ]






2015 BOG Tea Leaves: Week Two

Thrice the Timbers Army roared.
Thrice and once the Hedge Don snored.
Twitter cries, ’tis time, ’tis time.
Round about the league we go.

Round about the league we go.
Week two know it’s time to show.
Bumps on the road are smoothing out.
Or festering the star of gout.
Take a breath and take the plunge.
Soak it up if you’re a sponge. 

Double, double toil and trouble.

Who lifts the cup from out this rubble?

Friday, March 13

Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City Soccer Club #HOUvORL

Clubs they come and clubs they go.
Two clubs whose home will not know snow.
Where orange sun and orange stands.
In a cultureless and barren land.
A soccer club plays soccer stuffs.
And Houston always like the bluffs.
Luck runs out or bad luck runs away.
Divey city in the shadow of Kaka’s play.
3-2 Orlando

                           Saturday, March 14


Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club #CHIvVAN


A dumpster fire. 

An old used tire. 

A pile of nope. 

A midfield mire. 

There is no hope. 

Only more rope.

So don’t expire. 

If you can’t cope. 

2-1 Fire


Columbus Crew Soccer Club vs. Toronto Football Club #CLBvTOR


Smoke some rock. 

Expensive cock. 

You can’t have cake.

If you don’t stop. 

Rebrand yourself. 

Dust off the shelf. 

Find that sock. 

And skin that elf. 

3-1 Toronto


Football Club Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City #DALvSKC


Smoke them ribs. 

Best call dibs. 

Soak it up. 

Your kits are bibs. 

Ogres troll. 

They take their toll. 

Jabs and jibs. 

They have no soul. 

2-0 Dallas


Real Salt Lake vs. Philadelphia Union #RSLvPHI


Shaky starts. 

Offensive farts. 

A broken squad. 

And Beckerman sharts. 

You don’t win. 

Without sin. 

It’s in your hearts. 

Not on your skin.

1-1 DRAW

Seattle Sounders Football Club vs. San Jose Earthquakes #SEAvSJ


One shit two shits. 

Three shit fuck. 

There’s nothing fun

When both cultures suck. 

I’ll have my cake. 

I’ll eat it too. 

Because at the end. 

Fuck you and fuck you.

0-0 DRAW (the unending maw of Shiva consumes the world back into the void starting at center circle) 


                         Sunday, March 15

New York City Football Club vs. New England Revolution #NYCvNE

Yankee Doodle fucking dandy.
Run the base line get all sandy. 
Foul play foul ball stupid venue. 
MLS fanboys eat it like candy. 
A pitch is a place to play a match. 
An itch is a scab you cannot patch. 
With out a home in other’s blue. 
Manufactured culture straight from scratch. 
2-1 New England


Time is a Vampire: Official Match Statement for The Mighty PTFC vs. Real Salt Lake


Caleb Porter being demonstrably stoic as all fuck.



Gavin’s Back Office
Providence Park
Rose City, Cascadia

Official Match Statement for PORvRSL MLS League Match 3/7/15

Dear Mighty Timbers,

First dates are a mother fucker.

I mean that in the most endearing way.

I mean, seriously, I fretted for days about which combination of luck inducing gear would help yield the desired result of an emphatic and season defining home win to start our 2015 campaign towards the treble of US Open Cup, Supporters Shield, the MLS Cup, and a CONCACAF Champions League birth, which we go on to win the 2016 iteration, eventually facing Arsenal in the 2017 Club World Cup Final in Timbuktu or some equivalent, after Arsenal beats Barcelona in the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final. 

I ended up going with a traditional commitment of wearing my 2011/2012 primary green when we play at home, my 2011/2012 Rose City Red when you are traveling away, the white 3rd kit for exhibitions and cups, and the green/gold 3rd when we make the fucking playoffs. It worked in 2013 but I don’t know why I expected to get laid on my first of many first dates to start a season. 

We started 2013 under Caleb with purpose and ended in a roar. We started 2014 with a whimper and ended with a scream. We began 2015 with a gasp and a cracker of a fixture in what continues to be the best 0-0 match you can watch in MLS without falling asleep ten minutes in. 

Real Salt Lake in our home is the definition of us not finishing. It’s the epitome of frustratingly close margins and an illustration of the tempestuous cruelty in a game made of chances. Milliseconds are lifetimes with a ball at your feet. 

Debate is failure. 

Certainty is opportunity. 

Confidence is success. 

Time is a vampire. 

It sucks the moments from every opportunity. It pulls a team one way and pushes the other team away. It is what hold-up play is all about. It’s what possession is all about. It’s what football is all about. It’s one of only two constants we have in the game that aren’t up to interpretation. The ball? It’s round. The game? It lasts 90 minutes. It’s one of the oldest clichés in the game’s written word. 

We only have two constants in life. Time and ourselves. 

We showed ourselves Saturday night but fuck me if we didn’t run out of time. 

Away matches at Portland are what keep Nick Rimando on the USMNT. Without Rimando we are in the playoffs last year. Without his five hundred saves we would have won this match. The half-dozen blocked shots, that inexplicably couldn’t make it past the minuscule sliver of time that a decision is made to shoot as a defender accidentally gets a lace on the ball, were all destined for Nick Rimando saves.

Outside of their box they couldn’t get much of a touch. Their game was living through the barrage of our attack. An attack composed of piece-meal solutions to an ever-increasing injury problem that has exposed our depth to be utterly sufficient if not capable of getting results. Our game started from the back and ended with the ball in the mitts of a giant the size of a half-man as he lay on his back after a head-standing save.

Our defensive line accounted for most of our passing. Villafaña was subtle but effective as he and Rodney worked the left flank unleashing Rodney to put saves on Rimando’s stat sheet. On the right Powell was a beast. He overshadowed the inconsistency of Asprilla, attempted the most passes on the team, and got right the fuck back on defense for a team high 8 clearances. The Great Beards of Portland sprayed the ball from the back. Ridgy and Borchers accounted for 1/4 of all passes but their incomplete passes displayed a troubling tendency to skip the midfield and go for the route one straight to Adi.

Adi can hold the ball up like not many others. He is the molasses on the webs of time. Events slow around him. He strokes the ball. He envelopes the play in his casual nature. He works best when play builds quickly through the middle, he lays himself on the ball as the wings crash around him, before unlocking his teammates. He doesn’t do so well when long-balls from the back find him holding up for no-one. He stops time more than creates it.

Our central pivot was our most stalwart veteran Jack paired with our most fresh-faced starter in his first ever MLS match. It worked better than expected for a pairing that a month ago never even seemed like a possibility or an option. Jack is the definition of time over space. He is an equation in positioning. He is the straightest line towards the correct decision. Fochive’s assets were his unknowns and what he lacked in experience he made up with gumption. Less reserved than Zemanski but less skilled that Chara, he didn’t shy away from joining the attack. He saw the need to go wide. He saw the need to try to pop a shot from the top of the box. He did better than expected and that is a very good thing.

Some of our best moments were the result of Nagbe taking the ball forty yards at his feet rather than booting it forty yards in the air, leaving a scorched earth of broken ankles and shriveled pride. But some of our best moments were then killed stone dead by an attempt to get another touch or a cuter look and then the moment is gone and Nagbe’s ankles are kicked and the moment is dead.

As time wore on our subs breathed new life into the match. Asprilla was gassed with half an hour to go, had missed a header by an inch, and Gata was a welcome and pesky addition to a rolling offense desperate to unleash goal smoke. I’d like to see Gata start and wear a team down with his frustratingly tiny steps before bringing Asprilla on with twenty to go and tired defenders begging for the sword.

As full-time drew near, we crashed the box, we threw in Urruti and Nanchoff, but they still had Rimando and in those final moments of gasping closeness we looked poised to ruffle the net and end the match in a condensed singularity of moments released in the euphoria of three points.

But we couldn’t. We didn’t.

We ran out of time and ran into Rimando.

And first dates are a mother fucker.