BOG Tea Leaves: Week Twenty Three


Thrice the Iron Lion 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.
The water is rising the world keeps turning.
The plane is crashing the building is burning.
Days and weeks now ten and two.
Still are you searching for answer and meaning.
There is no hiding from chance and believing.

Double, double toil and trouble.
Who lifts the cup from out this rubble?

Friday, August 15

Houstong Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union #HOUvPHI

Orange bruisers.
Two tone losers.
Pick a poison.
Dying choosers.
Find a way.
To pick and play.
Poach a goal.
And win the day.
1-0 Dynamo

Saturday, August 16

Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders Football Club #RSLvSEA

Ticky talky.
Walk the walky.
No one’s fault.
Your pitch is sloppy.
One fish gut fish.
First course of dish.
Tell me why.
Your pitch is shellfish.
1-1 DRAW

Impact de Montreal vs. Chicago Fire #MTLvCHI

Shit on fire.
Stomped with ire.
A flaming bag.
A flat back tire.
Montreal is meek.
The Fire reek.
A sinking boat.
It’s not their week.
2-1 Impact

Columbus Crew vs. Los Angeles Galaxy #CLBvLA

Honor Landy.
Make him randy.
Do not cuss.
And give him candy.
Robbie’s keen.
You know who I mean.
The sneaky bastard.
With a brain of beans.
3-0 Galaxy

Sporting Kansas City vs. Toronto Football Club #SKCvTOR

Cracked up mayor.
Hyped up player.
From the north.
Where the cod is fair.
In the maw.
Of Southern drawl.
A cauldron simmers.
But couldn’t boil.
3-2 Toronto

Club Deportivo Chivas United States of America vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club #CHVvVAN

Deja vu.
A shitty view.
An empty stand.
No fans to boo.
A dying side.
Nowhere to hide.
Too bad for us.
Caps tan that hide.
2-0 Whitecaps

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Football Club Dallas #SJvDAL

A dash of spite.
Where nothing’s right.
And ghouls and ghosts.
Come out at night.
Crash and flame.
A tired game.
Of bully trolls.
Who have no shame.
0-0 DRAW

Sunday, August 17

District of Columbia United vs. Colorado Rapids #DCvCOL

In a ruin.
A dream pursuing.
To turn the ship.
Of the dread ensuing.
Eastern creepers.
Western sleepers.
United we stand.
Or poke out your own peepers.
3-1 United

Papa Do Preach: Official Match Statement for The Mighty PTFC vs. Club Deportivo Chivas USA

Ladies and gentlemen, the new owner of Chivas USA, Diego Valeri. (PHOTO: Meg Williams - Portland Timbers)

Ladies and gentlemen, the new owner of Chivas USA, Diego Valeri. (PHOTO: Meg Williams – Portland Timbers)


The Back Office
Beneath Providence Park
Rose City, Cascadia

Official Match Statement PORvCHV  League Match

Dear Major League Soccer,

They say that if you love something you have to set it free and absence makes the heart grow stronger and if it’s meant to be then whatever happens happens.

They also say to not count your hens before they hatch lest you be judged for putting the wheel before the cart before the horse.

And let us never forget the age old adage of not seeing the forest to spite your face and throwing the bathwater out with the trees.

But you know what I always say: If you can’t say something nice, try sometimes to love the one you’re with.

I know that somewhere along the circuitous groove of human emotion something gets lost in the translation. And I know the years of our puppy love, the self destructive tendencies, and the delicate sabotage of the fabric of our relationship has taken it’s toll on our very nature. The soulless dinners across a table larger than some countries, as the free range beeswax candles flickered depressingly and a midsummer thunderstorm clapped in applause at our gloom from just outside the seemingly bad tempered bay window glass. And the more I expected you to open up the more I realized you were expecting steak and not fish. The more I expected you to care the more I realized you expected everything in return for your nothing.

The more things stayed the same, the more they changed.

Expectation is a terrible drug, almost as bad as whatever the newest synthetic bath salt is that will turn you into a crocodile, and its only remedy is adaption. It’s not thumbs we should be thankful for it’s the simple ability to manage our expectations. To adapt our perceptions to the current now. To put the memory of the past and the possibility of the future into a nicely wrapped and manageable unit of the present moment.

This is how I stay sane during the maddening silence of our meals. I make up rules in my mind as your stab carelessly at your peas. I award points for chewing style as you nibble on your kale. I’ve had three consecutive hat-tricks of beer in dinners where we have chicken and an orange vegetable. Your fork has been suspended multiple times for unsporting pasta transport and I’ve noticed you have a tendency to sub your spoon early and you use your knife on late dinner pork chops. And even I am quite astonished that my imaginary ref allows me to hurl, “Go fuck yourself! Go fuck yourself!” at you over and over in my mind. What a homer, am I right?

Currently I’m top of the two person table and undefeated at dinner. And you’re making up your own rules all day so you can still go fuck yourself.

There is an Argentine proverb that a learned man is twice born. There is now a Portland proverb the hell hath no fury like a Papa scorned. Apparently he now rises in dire times of Chivas from the ashes of a Phoenix and cleans the sheets and pushes O’Rourke to right back. He pairs nicely with a fine Ridgy and likes to strafe the center half line with incomplete passes in an honest attempt to dance the domingadas. He may never master the subtle nuance of one of the game’s most simplest of skills, but I’ll take 7 bad passes in our own half, 68% passing accuracy, the fact he wins nearly all his aerial challenges, and is sniffing around the goal on attacking corners like he has something to prove and I’ll put it in my pipe and take it to bank and lock it in an expectation safety box hoping that in a week’s time it will have adjusted to inflation and not to temptation.

We’ve had two clean sheets this year. Both against Chivas. One away. One at home. They both included Papa at CB and O’Rourke at RB. If I was an alchemist I’d replicate that formula on a Ricketts substrate and keep adding ingredients until it turned to green and gold. With Ridgewell as a catalyst our back line has become emboldened. The chemistry is bubbling. The back line is getting an identity. Although O’Rourke has been honorable, apt, courageous, and fuck if he’s not versatile, and although Mikey works hard for his money and is obviously trying to improve his service into the box, a defense needs to start with a wall. And although I’m jumping the pun here I think the Notorious Wall of Timbers has been born and Big Papa and Ridgy Smalls are the foundation of the Iron Lion’s keep.

You could end an undefeated season and be called invincible on the back of a season’s worth of clean sheets and you’d still lay in bed at night looking at your posters with the dread of unfulfillment. Defense can’t win you championships anymore than not scoring more than your opponent can. There must be balance. With Ying there must be Tang. What goes down was once up. You say potato and I say balance. Defend, play the ball through the midfield, let the pivot teeter-totter the action from defending to attacking, let balance come through the consistent motion of style. And then let our attacking players do whatever their diabolically creative minds can conjure.

I don’t even know if Valeri is real anymore. Like a myth he has suddenly risen in our collective consciousness. His soft words sing at us of the open grasslands outside Buenos Aires. His supple caress of the ball speaks of a volume of understanding and an incredible gift displayed as physical art. He’s our maestro but he also just wants to jam with the band. He riffs through defenders and changes the key. Before you know it he’s dropping off the ball for a teammate to solo that he hinted at two progressions ago. The strings he pulls are made of the filaments of imagination and if he scores many more of his delicious long range zingers, I may have to liquidate my expectations and adapt to being constantly amazed at the shit this alleged human man creates.

Whether it’s Chara blinding you with his pace and turning interceptions inside out with a single touch that flips the switch of momentum or if it’s Will wildly whirling into a challenge and then running the ball in circles until an outlet appears, one thing is clear: The pivot works better when it can trust the wall behind it. And can we agree that regardless of how many pouty moments of upset La Gata has, he works tirelessly off the ball to impose his identity on the flow of the match and he and Valeri were trying cheeky passes and obtuse triangles all night long that were both perplexing and enticing. Along with the resurrection of our One True Rod they spread wonder and joy and Adi held the ball up along with the world on his shoulders and on the third tap his poke found Rodney and Rodney found his touch.

This was a total team performance of individual accomplishments, each player the corner pieces of a circular puzzle that has no end. I expect us to build from this quality.

They say the definition of insanity is doing a different thing every time and expecting the same result.

I say you crazy.



BOG Tea Leaves: Week Twenty Two


Thrice the Iron Lion 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.
The AllStar game is one and done.
The Allstars won and the week was fun.
Days and weeks now ten and three.
The sun is setting on hopes and dreams.
The end is nearing to justify the memes.

Double, double toil and trouble.
Who lifts the cup from out this rubble?

Sunday, August 10

Chicago Fire vs. Red Bull New York #CHIvNY

They couldn’t start a fire if they tried.
It’s become apparent Magic Michael lied.
He’s not as good as when he was got.
He’s not as good as a demon begot.
Bradley Wright to right the Shipp.
Harrison don’t let shit slip.
Henry does what and when he wants.
Cahill tries but only fronts.
3-1 Red Bull

Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club vs. Sporting Kansas City #VANvSKC

No more drawing matches on end.
Drawing lines in sand instead.
It’s make or break or brake and shake.
Or flop around like you’re a snake.
A call or two could flip this match.
A point for both is two points to snatch.
Disappoint can linger strong.
Especially when tactics go wrong.
2-1 Sporting

Seattle Sounders Football Club vs. Houston Dynamo #SEAvHOU

Bottom dwellers and soulless sellers.
Fortune cookies and Jumbotron tellers.
Give a wink and take a drink.
Flush your deuce in the kitchen sink.
Find a chink inside the Clink.
And show the world the missing link.
Scalp the top with antipop.
Drop the contenders like it’s hot.
2-1 Dynamo

Saturday, August 9

Philadelphia Union vs. Impact de Montreal #PHIvMTL

Top of the bottom and the bottom of the top.
Two good teams are teams these are not.
Wiffle waffle and lose your head.
Top the hat to the coach’s dread.
New heads turn the tide around.
Old heads run the ship aground.
The ball is round both teams are bad.
And in the end we’ll all be sad.
1-1 DRAW

Columbus Crew vs. Toronto Football Club #CLBvTOR

This is as big as an East match can get.
A struggling team vs. a squad of vets.
A squad of vets with too much to lose.
Toronto’s team hangs on threads of a bruise.
Lose one then lose all and more.
Be Crew yellow and the window snores.
You can’t have s’mores when you ain’t got none.
You can’t be that yellow and still have fun.
3-1 Toronto

Football Club Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids #DALvCOL

Dallas killed Jr and more.
Stole Pareja and became a bore.
Gorged on fatty heads of ego.
Enlarged and mile high crescendo.
Who’s the team you wish you hate.
Who’s the team to reach up too late.
Measure cups of fatty acids.
Measure heaps of offensive flaccids.
2-2 DRAW

Real Salt Lake vs. District of Columbia United #RSLvDC

Real salty or united mess.
A game of footy or a game of chess.
A diamond roughage and clingy coach.
A climatologists greatest joke.
Here we win or here we lose.
The Eastern masses here to choose.
A biggest swing from worst to best.
A sigh of relief from Olsen’s breast.
2-1 United

Friday, August 8

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes #LAvSJ

A Calif Classic in classic Carson.
San Jose rebranded by a visual arson.
LA reaching a form once forgotten.
Lenhart still acting like a child begotten.
Children they come and children they go.
Like Robbie Keane’s clumsy somersault roll.
And the ruffle of Landy Cakes’ belly fold.
Like Wondow’s slick back fluff kick gets old.
2-0 Galaxy

The Day They Shot a Hole in the Jesus Egg: Official Match Statement for Los Angeles Galaxy vs. The Mighty PTFC

From the opening group pic you could tell we were having trouble maintaining our shape. (PHOTO: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

From the opening group pic you get tell we were having trouble maintaining our shape. (PHOTO: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)


The Back Office
Beneath Providence Park
Rose City, Cascadia

Official Match Statement LAvPOR League Match


Dear Major League Soccer,

Press play. Flaming Lips lyrics in italics.

*I was born the day they shot JFK*

This moment was born the day they shot Escobar.

His dreams were shattered and scattered in the jagged moments of tragedy. Our dreams of being a footballing nation were taking a giant baby step towards legitimacy on the coattails of World Cup ’94 and the foundation for MLS was being built on the grave of the old NASL before Andres was even laid to rest a lifetime too soon.

*The way you look at me sucks me down the sidewalk*

The way you look at this league sucks us down the gangplank. Here our city is, on the cusp of hosting the league’s marquee exhibition match in the AllStar Game, awash in the spirit of football and transformed into a visceral translation of what it means to be Soccer City USA and we are playing away in LA on a Saturday morning. This was our first match in an August that gives a new and contagious definition to the term “congested.” We’ll play a match every four and a half days this month. Some clubs are playing six point matches. Some clubs are traveling the entire country to play one point matches versus demonstrably inferior opponents from another conference. Some clubs are playing meaningless exhibitions against disinterested European clubs as someone, somewhere, masturbates in a pile of someone else’s money.

*Somebody please tell this machine I’m not a machine*

Somebody please tell this league it’s not a league. A league would be a consortium of independent and autonomous entities working to improve the excellence of football on the domestic front while still being able to strive for success in the Trophy Cabinet. A league is of extraordinary gentlemen. A league is not a shadowy group of investors dressed as ordinary men. A league is not an ever-expanding market of franchises that can each be manipulated and interfered with whenever a rule is changed or made up or never even was a thing. A league is not a portfolio. A league is not MLS.

*My hands are in the air
And that’s where they always are
You’re fucked if you do, and you’re fucked if you don’t
Five stop mother superior rain*

I stopped carrying about the rules I knew you didn’t have, that you’d end up changing once before we see them and once when our backs are turned, before it was cool. Honestly, I had given up on you before we’d even given ourselves to you. Timbers are MLS now and we can never go back. We’re fucked if we do, we’d have been fucked if we didn’t, and you’ll go fuck yourself either way.

*I was born the day they shot John Lennon’s brain*

This season was born the day they got Porter’s brain. A sophomore slump of senior proportions that is the result of nearly nothing going our way. Most of MLS spent 2013 scrambling to learn how to play football in this new and exciting way that involves tactical acumen and delicately woven lineups with the proper balance of personality, ability, and creativity. The league got better and our defense got worse and the near invisible trickle of distrust began to wear away at our midfield’s ability to pivot from defense to attack and attack to defense. A rotating cast of scallywags and riffraff has given our back line the security and awkward personal space of a hostel but with none of the good drugs. Nagbe being fouled thousands of times in his sleep and hundreds of times on the pitch has worn him down and left a hole on the team sheet we had no idea was even there let alone was a gaping chasm where our offensive drive used to be. Then LA wiped their shitty field with us. And our midfield and wingbacks looked lazy and ineffectual and would have been sent to their rooms with no supper if discipline was a thing the coaching staff was into.

*And all my smiles are gettin’ in the hate generation’s way*

But even after what might be the worst match I’ve seen under Porter I can’t help but think we still can make a go at this playoff thing. And even after getting too whiskey drunk before noon to root for the lads, I still made it the river and swam in the water and forgot about football and pain and loss. And even after the remaining weekend’s fixtures were sorted by less than desirable results I still found myself caught up in the hype machine of introducing international club football to Portland and Portland to international club football and I couldn’t help but enjoy the fact that the sport I love played by the team I love is being showcased in the city I live and love.

*Tell ‘em I’m gonna go out
shoot somebody in the mouth first thing tomorrow*

I’ve been shooting my mouth off about Papa since before he was ostracized and came back into the lineup only to play the opening chords of his redemption song before we shot him in the foot. And now he lies fallow on the bench and his domingadas grows rusty and our back line seems not a day more stable than a first preseason game. I don’t the answer other than this is not it. How many options are there on this multiple choice riddle at CB? How many more hearts must break before a clean sheet hugs us to say it’s okay?

*My hands are in the air
And that’s where they always are
You’re fucked if you do, and you’re fucked if you don’t
Five stop mother superior rain*

As a supporter our options are simple. Jump and clap and sing. Root for the boys in green. Tetris for the closers. Go up to the city with friends now and shake the gates of hell. Just enjoy what you do. Love the game. Love the Timbers. And when three points aren’t the reward on the day and malicious and greedy league uses your town as an Expo for its product line, show up for Team, Town, and TA and try to enjoy the football coursing through the city.

*I was born the day they shot a hole in the Jesus egg*

I was born the year Thatcher shot some Argentinians down. Where the stubborn and unwavering fist of conservative imperialism was still weighing heavy on the classical regimes of Europe as the Cold War dampened. It was pointless, tragic, and unnecessary. It was a stubborn move by a generation out of touch. An unwillingness to let things be what they are and always have been, leading to an unwavering desire to make up the rules under the context of an invasion and occupation. This isn’t the Falklands and it isn’t a war but you better keep your grubby little marketing penis out of Portland’s artisanal Argentine mashed potatoes. You have to let us be what we are and always have been, not what you want us to be (a USMNT/FIFA marketing campaign.)

*Now the rain, it’s all so random
What does free will have to do with it at all?*

The results haven’t gone our way. We haven’t gone the right way. But I have a strange and mysterious suspicion that this is just the way. If adversity wasn’t the building blocks for all the world’s greatest changes than what is? From evolution on up the GMO food chain it is competition that strives for the next best upgrade. On paper, it’s simple, improve upon these metrics and indicators and the odds begin to compute in your favor. In the heart and mind it’s the challenge of maintaining hope and support against all the odds because, in the end, this season’s life is out of our hands and might only be remembered one day by the residuals of memory imprinted by the heart and mind. Support to support and not to win.

*And you can’t cry, but
It really don’t matter, y’end up cryin’ anyway*

If you truly love this beautiful game that grafts itself onto the path of life, you’ll end up crying every type of tear known in the scientific community. Tears of joy. Tears of anger. Tears of anguish. Tears of shame. Tears of raw unadulterated and inexplicable emotional regurgitation. Tears of contentment. Tears of sadness. And in your case: Tears of a clown.

*My hands are in the air
And that’s where they always are
You’re fucked if you do, and you’re fucked if you don’t*

Five stop mother superior,


NOA to Z: Player Ratings for Climbing Higher Up the Magic Table Mountain (MTLvPOR)

Jack with the slow blink. (PHOTO: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

Jack with the slow blink. (PHOTO: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

After each match, we’ll share thematic play(on-words)er ratings. Some words are words. Some words are magic. Some words shouldn’t be seen by anyone. Take it up with the OED if you can’t decide which word is what. 

We’re going high, high, high, high up magic mountain.

We’re going high, high, high, and we’re never coming down.

Especially not with the latest PTFC drugs of the future (and the present and the past … oh shit, am I still rolling?).

Belly up and pick your poison.

Impact de Montréal vs. The Mighty PTFC  3-2  win

GK Ricketts 2Ricketts2Paradise

One part ganj, two parts heart, and then one other part consisting of baby’s tears of joy that can only be extracted once the tots been forced to watch Donavan’s palm saves on repeat. Lasts long time.

D Harrington Mo’ diamonds

Lather into soapy mess and use horse hair to liberally apply it to skin. Once it dries, you’ll be sparkling on the right side or the left. Returns you to previously high run of play, if only in the mind.

D O’Rourke Irish Conch

Some conch is great, some conch is spoiled. But with Irish Conch, you can’t really tell until you’ve already swallowed it whole. Slows you down, has you on edge and a little stabby, and makes decision-making less than stellar.

D Ridgwell DiddyDumDiddyDoo

Do you diddy? Yes, yes you do. 

Especially on the Las Vegas dance floor when you don’t want your legs to stop moving. Or on the back line where you need to convince folk you signify stability.

Yes, yes you do.

D Jewsbury JuiceBerry 3000

Makes legs feel like they’ve run for 300 games and they could run for 3000 more. Joplinites enjoy their’s deep-fried.

M Chara Lion-cub blood

Rarest of the PTFC drugs available on the market. Rub on lips before smiling to turn standard smile into Joker-esque perma-smile. Side effects also include perma-semi.

M Valeri River water

Just a drop on the tongue keeps you rolling week after week. Attractiveness transforms you, in both looks and vocation. For higher intensity, freeze into ice cubes and drink with Argentine Fernet.

M Johnson Mental-X

The next generation of Adderall. Extreme concentration and focus. When you come down, you seem like a snotty high-school senior picking on third-grader. Be sure to apologize to loved ones beforehand.

F Nagbe D’lish

As sweet to lips as to the eye. Melts minds and freezes you to the ground as others run around you with tomfoolerish smirks. 

F Fernandez Cat scratch

Short bursts of moving vertically no matter what you were previously doing. High use in the food and beverage industry as well as the professional speed walking industry. Take with milk to enhance potency. 

F Urruti Probing

The drug of the future that changes the world’s definition of probe. Throw out aliens and throw in a mixture of cocaine, liquefied adrenaline, horseradish, and hair dye (who knew?!?). Side effects include expertise in archery.

F Adi (‘72) Stax

Instantaneous paranoia with round objects flying in the air toward you as if you had to respond to every single one. Can leave you shell-shocked and rather goal hungry.

M Wallace (‘79) Almighty Rod

And lo, the glory of the left foot shone round about them, and opposing defenders were sore afraid. Also known as “second-coming.” Changes lives with the same swift hand that costs you friends.

Watch out for cults.

M Zemanski (‘87) Zupplies!

Popular at middle-age birthday parties. Just when you didn’t think it would hit you—BAM—comes in and runs your insides to death for six minutes straight. Metamucil takes away the morning-after edge.

BOG Tea Leaves: Week Twenty One


Thrice the Iron Lion 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.
Exhibition here league a match there.
A fixture list made by a league that don’t care
Days and weeks now ten and four.
Turning pages on the days.
Turning corners on failed ways.

Double, double toil and trouble.
Who lifts the cup from out this rubble?

Friday, August 1

Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union #SKCvPHI

Just when you think you’ve knocked them down.
They rise from the coal mines not wearing a frown.
Happy to plod on a remain mired in middle.
Happy to oblige when the fixture’s a riddle.
The leaders will lead and their DPs too.
Cornbread and corn fed Americans it’s true.
A crack in the facade of Union’s new form.
A return to mediocrity a return to norm.
3-1 Sporting

Wednesday, July 30

District of Columbia United vs. Toronto Football Club #DCvTOR

A friend of the devil is a Defoe.
A man making more than most with his right toe.
A Bradley as general but generally dull.
A team that shows flashes in a pan of lull.
A United team on the rise in the East.
A rejuvenated Olsen and EJ the Beast.
A who’s who of no one and nobody sees.
That DC can win it if they just say please.
2-1 United

New England Revolution vs. Colorado Rapids #NEvCOL

All good things must come to ends.
And all bad things must make amends.
And England of new are deep in fail.
With fits of loss and looking pale.
Home field advantage lies on the pitch.
A lie of a pitch with turf over a ditch.
Barely fit to field a professional sports.
Just the environs for a Revolution of sorts.
3-2 Revolution

Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club #CHIvVAN

The fire haven’t been on fire since before fire was born.
And Vancouver isn’t at their norm and lack definite form.
Who’s to say who’s to win and do you really care.
A West so much better than East it isn’t even fair.
But times like this call for our enemies from the other coast.
To give their all to help our struggling rise to the top the most.
So when the dust it settles down on Dark Magic Mike’s bald spot.
The has beens have been getting on and getting what’s been got.
2-2 DRAW

Real Salt Lake vs. Red Bull New York #RSLvNY

This is a game New York can win but can’t.
A game they could get up on but a game they shan’t.
Inconsistency is the only constant for Red Bulls.
And Real isn’t real unless your from a state of fools.
A salty lake of someone else’s after thought.
Too reliant on a hippie to hold the line of plot.
But diamonds in the rough and midfield of our times.
Proof if turning lemons you’re given into Kiefer limes.
1-0 Real

Monday, July 28

Seattle Sounders Football Club vs. Los Angeles Galaxy #SEAvLA

Word is bond where words are cheap.
And this is where the fated weep.
The rising stars of ancient lore.
The obese roster tactical chore.
Not much more to prove your worth.
A bloated wallet a sordid girth.
Tonight the stars aren’t here to shine.
They’re here to flop and flail and whine.
1-1 DRAW

Climbing Is Digging Is Climbing: Official Match Statement for Impact de Montréal vs. The Mighty PTFC

Our Rod is an awesome Rod. (PHOTO: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sport)

Our Rod is an awesome Rod. (PHOTO: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sport)


Gavin’s Back Office
Beneath Providence Park
Rose City, Cascadia

Official Match Statement MTLvPOR  League Match

Dear Major League Soccer,

I’ve been having this dream lately.

I’m at the bottom of a deep hole and I can’t get out. There is a shovel by my left foot, it’s spade rusty and wooden handle worn from years of digging. My hands are raw, I must have been using it. I look up and in the small oval of daylight above your silhouette appears and you yell something derogatory about “keep digging Sherlock” or “you dug your bed now sleep in it” neither of which make any sense but in my dream make as much sense as a dagger in the heart.

Sometimes in the dream I keep digging the hole, hoping beyond reason that I can make it out of the other side. I’m already too deep to climb out so I must have to dig my way out. It’s a common cliché that I am forced to lucidly experience in the depths of my slumber at least four times a month. I never dig my way out. You can’t.

A few times in the dream I’ve reached the bottom of the hole and the rush of triumph is quickly deflated by the dread of having broken through the floor into a void of incomprehensible bleakness. I tumble through its nothingness and awake in the sweats with a chill that puts ice on the marrow.

The only way out of the hole is to climb and the only way to climb is to build steps into the sidewall and the only way to build steps into the sidewall is to use the shovel for a new use beyond its original design and intention. Innovation may be something we dream about in our waking moments of ingenuity but it is never something I’ve been taken to achieve while inside the confines of a character building dream.

And although I may never realize this simple solution to the perplexing and often terror inducing dream, its lessons spill over into real life like finding new ways to lie to you, more interesting ways to lie to myself, and being able to troubleshoot in situations where the battery dies on the vibrator or we run out of lube. Simple solutions. Simple pleasures.

The Timbers have begun the slow climb of chiseling away results to emerge from the hole we’ve dug ourselves.

And you can go fuck yourself in uniquely troubling ways.

We all thought for a moment there in Montreal that the thing was about to go pear-shaped as has done so many times in the past. They beat us off the wings and then us beat us in the box. An age-old tale that we tell ourselves every time we think things are going to be different and less hard. We were down 1-0 under 15 minutes in.

But another age-old story is to be told. That we fight back. That even despite coming back to take the lead 2-1 and then ceding an equalizer just before the half we always knew after Maxi’s goal that there were goals left in this match and that the Timbers were going all in for all the rewards.

You could tell from the opening lineup. Cousin Maxi got on the couch of the Impact’s defense and wouldn’t get up. He wouldn’t let up. He harasses. He makes gashing runs that others don’t. His goal was the result of a delectable ball from Nagbe after he’d broken some poor defender’s ankles with a fake that left potential lawsuits for false advertising salivating. The subtlety of his turn with the ball, blocking the defender and allowing him to set his hips for a sidefooted flick that licked the near post and brought us even.

Nagbe would be hacked to the ground six times before a card was ever brandished but his play on the day exemplified the quiet justice he exacts on the pitch. Should this lad develop just a slightly perfect left foot and grow more salty with the rage of being fouled incessantly, he will change the game. That said, he still does and he did.

La Gata served as he does, finding spaces, dribbling through fouls, being in places other’s do not want him. The ball he took from Urruti was almost another goal for him and shows his cat-like propensity to sniff out prey and fall on the ball with a pounce. He is beginning to celebrate his teammate’s goals as much as his own which is a welcome sign from someone who’s publicly spat with the Captain. Johnson and Chara were their regular selves bossing up and down. Chara on the defensive side of the pivot and Will roaming more into the attack helping create and eventually drilling a PK past the keeper that Jesus couldn’t have saved.

The back line was what we have expected. Incomplete. Missing Villafaña. Missing a regular starter to pair with Ridgewell. But they did amicably and continue to play the type of defense we need even when lacking certain individual attributes to carry a clean sheet. We are spreading the ball. We are passing with precision and quantity. We are possessing with purpose.

And Porter is figuring out his subs. When faced with a daunting 2-2 draw that would do nothing and no one any good whatsoever, he brought on Adi to throw glittery molasses in the garbage of Montréal’s defense. He held up. He stroked the ball. He stroked their egos. Porter stroked his genius and brought on Wallace who quickly turned the match inside out and right side up.

His pace on the wing and ability to play defense in our corner and then spring an attack and run that saw a deflected cross fall at the feet of Maestro Valeri who struck a loping game winner across the face of all possibility. He had taken the foul to win the PK earlier in the match after a deft touch that left the keeper for dead. He had flicked, and pranced, and spread buttery balls all night and now he stroked the final brush on his living masterpiece.

Valeri may not be Captain and maybe he never will but he is our leader, our Argentine Ambassador, our magician, our maestro, our man of many melodies and he will grab this team by the scruff and lift us from the hole we’ve dug when we just can’t climb anymore.

But fuck, this hole is deep.