happy saturday to you all. the weekend is here and that means we have football to enjoy. there is that little thing of the european championship, where one boring side will play keep-away against a side that with all probability has fixed the outcome. but more importantly and relevant to this blog is that the timbers are back on the pitch. thank god, forced to watch the nba draft and tottenham re-runs, i was starting to drool on my shirt from boredom.
today finds the timbers tackling the heat, the mountain air, and the forest fires of colorado. the current weather trend in the southwest is hot and crappy, with a continued hot and crappy, with no delay in the hot and crappy until it becomes hot and fiery in the evening. if we are lucky, we will see fire raining in the sky. not to diminish the horrific scenes occurring along the colorado plateau, but i doubt john denver had the prescience to write about the current conditions of that state when he penned rocky mountain high. frankly, the images from colorado are rather hard to believe given the fact i look outside to see overcast skies. we have rain, they have fire…
weather conditions aside, if there was a time to travel to the rapids it would be now. with the exception of matt pickens in goal, the rapids defense is porous. 15 games into the season and pickens has made 63 saves, allowing 21 goals. a statistic that is meaningless unless you consider that in 2011 he made only 77 saves and allowed 41 goals. while pickens has been stellar for the rapids, effectively keeping them afloat in games, his defense has given him no favors. in fact, in the last five games the rapids have allowed an average of 1.8 goals per game. recently, they rather ignominiously allowed san jose to come from behind 1 nil down to secure a 2-1 victory in the last minutes of the game. hunter freeman scored an own goal and after being left to dry by his defense, pickens committed the foul that gave the quakes the winning penalty. that was a meltdown of a quality only the timbers faithful could sympathize. consequently, the rapids have been linked with ever defender and their nanny. indeed, brett evans was recently given a trial and then sent home as brett evans should be.
one concern the timbers should have is the return of omar cummings to partner conor casey. while cummings has not reached the heights of his 2010 season, he does present a continued threat on goal, not to mention his ability to open opportunities for his teammates. he may likely slot into the position held by the brazilian edu, or he may not. i would assume we see him start on the pine.
and then there is that fella conor casey, who, in my opinion, is one of the nastiest players out there. my apologies to those who attended the university of portland, but he is a battering ram. however, on his day he can score. hampered by injuries, this year he has played only 6 games scoring a goose egg. perhaps if he stepped away from the feeding troff and spent a few more minutes in spin class he might find the form of a few years ago. but his eating habits are not my issues, nor should they be anything the timbers should be occupied with–they should worry more about how he uses his sizeable rump when occupying the box.
argentinian, martin rivero and the ginger, larentowicz, will likely occupy the middle of the pitch with brian mullen. and the rest of the rapids run through my mind and out the door, because i really cannot be arsed to remember them.
the timbers, as we are all likely aware, are still without eric brunner due to concussion. joining him on the sidelines, or the couches, or the bar, or wherever it is that they may be watching the match because they are not travelling to denver, will be #facepalmer, mosquera, and, unfortunately, kalif. kalif really looked lively in the first half against the scum from up north until he suffered a hamstring injury–he will be missed against colorado. some speculation that sal zizzo will replace kalif int he starting xi, which would be sensible given the rapids inability to effectively deal with speed. if zizzo starts, it would be between songo’o and nagbe to partner chara. songo’o played his best game on the left against seattle, so i think he starts. i also doubt nagbe sits, so no sal because chara rounds the midfield. but i have been wrong before. i think we are likely to see a front three of mwanga, boyd, and zombie fucito.
the back four picks itself. ironically, the timbers strongest attribute in the last 6-7 matches. with the return of steven smith, the timbers have a great platform to push forward against a wounded rapids defensive core and burn them for a couple goals.
this should be a good match and an opportunity for the timbers to pick up some needed points to help capitalize on the games in hand they possess.
we shall see how the post turns out tomorrow.