it is always nice to return to speaking terms with one of your best friends. and that is what the timbers win against the sounders provided mags and me—an opportunity to put aside our differences in opinion on the ailments of this team and simply enjoy the glorious win. prior to Sunday’s armistice, i was moved to read that he was beginning to heed my reaganesque threatened requests to break down his wall of stubborn denial and agree that perhaps not everything is rosy in the city of roses. but i was not moved enough to pick up the red phone and request talks in malta.
unfortunately, magadh’s olive branch text message had deeper concerns: looks like kalif did his hammy. my response text: and the timbers did the sounders! clearly mine was the more positive of the two. still, two very small text messages lead to an hour of exchanged ideas ranging from the current gas prices and the continued question of why afghanistan? to more important issues like chabala’s god-awful-ibra-hair-do—and a friendship was reborn.
you would have to be as miserable as scrouge’s castrated, red-headed stepson to not ride the wave of good cheer and happiness from a win, especially when that win was against a bunch of filthy cheats. personally, my outlook on the week was significantly improved. still, i am a realist (which is another word for pessimistic so-and-so) who understands that as great as that win was it was only 3 points in a very long season.
the timbers have played 14 games and have amassed a whopping 16 points out of a possible 42. that is a little more than a third of the available points with a third of the season complete. for a side with playoff aspirations the current trend for the timbers would land them somewhere near 44 points. granted, i am not a mathematician and i applied only the rudimentary mathematical knowledge i have to come up with that number, but i am pretty confident in saying that is around the same number of points the timbers had last season. last season presented a chase for that final play-in spot, with red bulls eventually extinguishing the timbers late season hopes.
having seen numerous letdowns throughout the football world after teams have defeated their dreaded rivals, i am concerned the timbers may also experience that lull. Suffering from a malaise commonly referred to as “the hangover” after the party, teams tend to become overly confident in their abilities and fail to focus on their next opponent.
one of the more levelheaded players and interviewers, and a fella i always look to for lovely quotes to sprinkle within a post, troy perkins recognized the dangers a win against the sounders can present a team short of experience and confidence. when asked about the hangover effect and the possibility of a let off, he had this to say:
It is always in the back of your mind. It doesn’t mean anything if you go out and lose the next weekend so it is up to the older guys, the more experienced guys, to make sure that the attitude is good throughout the week and that we are focusing and that though is behind us now of winning a big game.
this is a subject mags and i have discussed too many times following too many games over too many years to even recall the number. and following this game we did not want to overlook the possibility the timbers may fail to find that dreaded word “consistency.”
this will sound trite, but the only consistent thing about the timbers this season has been their inconsistency. they have not put together back to back wins once this season—a necessity if they want to be a playoff team. certainly that comes from confidence and a win against a truly classless but successful side like seattle can also inject confidence into a side. but the timbers should not assume they will win against colorado, this weekend’s opponents, simply because they beat seattle. rather, the timbers will need to perform with similar conviction and desire as they did against seattle. which is the point perkins made, and one futty also elucidated in an interview with talking timbers.
i am certain mags i will have something more to discuss about the colorado match in the coming days. right now, i am still decompressing from the euphoric cascadia win. i get to do that, because i am not playing this weekend.
turning our attention elsewhere. in all the conversations over whether bild or pravda were appropriate publications for mags to consume, given the terms of the armistice, we overlooked the fact a rather insidious plot had been cooked up earlier this winter. the soccer don and his minions had developed a plan to exploit rivalries like that between the timbers and the cheats further up i-5. well, you could consider it exploitation, but really what they are doing is expected of league management when they are attempting to grow a league that competes with the “big four” for audiences. so it really was not all that cloak and dagger (to be honest, i was attempting to follow the earlier theme and now consider it a complete failure), but something conceived of by the soccer don and his minions of which i may actually approve.
howard handler acknowledged the fact the league identified several rivalries, eventually choosing the cascadia cup rivalry to broadcast on nbc later this year. clearly he understands the potential increase in markets and opportunities for the league that may come through broadcasting a renowned rivalry as that between the timbers and the sounders. as he stated:
Rivalries bring this massive energy and urgency and atmosphere to the table. It’s something the players and the fans both genuinely feel. The players love it. It means something for everyone involved. For us, it means great branding opportunities, and we’ll continue to take advantage of them.
as often as people tend to label novice watchers of the game with the pejorative term “noob,” it is the noob that will assure the vitality of the mls. frankly, i am proud to have a “noob” associated with this blog. yeah, shecky is a longtime friend, but he is new to the obsession of football. without the opportunity to watch rivalries similar to the one between the timbers and them up north, i wonder if he would have been as attracted to the sport as he is. handler understands that events like the cascadia cup rivalry tend to produce more interest in the sport, which is not a bad thing. well, until you are forced to describe the off-side rule to an attorney who knows nothing about football except that she read the timbers beat their rivals seattle 2-1 for the first time since seattle entered the mls. teaching a know-it-all who knows nothing is impossible.
that is about all i have for today. enjoy your day!