With Magadh in Germany talking Merkel down from her plan to annex Greece into a southern colony and sunshine harvesting the beets from his farm for his annual borscht festival, it has fallen to me to write the pre-match ramble. As our loyal and regular readers understand it is more common for me to rant about some issue that only a noob would be afflicted by or impressed with. So this is a first--please forgive me.
I have done some poking around the Internet, and I feel I may be able to live up to expectation. Maybe.
Today we play Colorado in Colorado. Immediately, our away form comes into question. First, the good news: we have won exactly 2 fewer matches on the road this year than last. Next, the bad news: we won only 2 matches on the road last year. That is right: we have not won on the road at all this season.
Consequently, it is a good thing we are playing the Colorado Rapids. While it is true the Rapid’s recent form is not unlike the Timber’s, to predict a win tonight would be as easy as predicting the winning numbers of Powerball. But looking at the recent form of the Rapids, I can see how they earned their abbreviated name: C.Rap. Since they trounced us 3 nil in their house back in June they have won only 1 league match and compiled a total of 4 points in 11 matches. The recent failures of the C.Rapids does not mean that they will roll over like flea bit dog--the Timbers present the only legitimate chance remaining to earn 3 points, so I expect them to come out fighting.
Leading the C.Rapids will be chief thug, Conor Casey. While he was relatively silent against the Timbers on Friday, he does seem to present an issue for our defense. I expect him to use his oafish weight to his advantage. If the C.Rapids find themselves down a goal and fighting Mr. Clean will probably hurt somebody. Hell, he might hurt somebody anyway.
Matt Pickens is a stingy goalkeeper and he may have just won himself save of the year on Friday night. He is good.
More interesting to me is the fact Honduran, Hendry Thomas, will make his home debut. sunshine has instructed me Thomas played rather well for Wigan FC, but failed to get much time recently. I guess he even got a Man of the Match award when he first arrived in England. The C.Rapids used him and Larentowicz in the middle of their formation last Friday. I expect he should remain there, preventing much movement from the Timbers offense. Keep an eye out for him--given Omar Cummings is with Jamaica, he might be the only bright spot on an otherwise struggling side.
Now for some noobness from the noob. Moving on to the C.Rapids home support, i was shocked by their supporters club name: The Pid Army. With very little research in this department that is without question the worst name for a supporters group in all of MLS. I like supporters of this beautiful game, and especially in a struggling US environment, but wow. So far I have not been able to come up with a reason for this disgraceful designation. Someone with the answer please share it with me so I can stop giggling.
(oh, probably short for Rapids. Still awful.)
Enough about them. Now us. The Timbers have a chance to win 3 in a row for the first time in their MLS history. Again, my hopes are not high, but they are not dashed all together either. Finally a solid starting 11 has emerged. They are a cohesive group, who seem to work for the team. It felt, from the upper 210’s, that last Friday night’s match vs. Colorado was the first in which our back 4 were communicating with each other well, talking AND listening, as well as the first time both sides of the pitch were primed for attack. Magadh and sunshine would do better in analyzing, breaking down and explaining these changes. All I know is that it looked good and it seemed as if we had more options on the field than we have had in a while. I sure hope to see something similar tonight. My feeling is that if Gavin messes with what has worked of late then trouble will ensue. By this I mean if our boys come out with a formation and attitude that seems to be playing for the draw then we will lose.
With the playoffs out of reach (do you really need a spoonful of sugar?) the Timbers have very little left to lose this season. As many have said recently, 2 wins at home does not portend a sea change for our boys in green. A win tonight would do well to change that, but I expect a draw.
And finally, a piece on the C.Rapids would not be complete without a call to Stan Kroenke to open up the coffers and start spending to the benefit of our Gunners. The money is there, silent one, and it does not play well in the bank. .