good morning and a happy friday to you all. thanks to the interlull, there has been a real dearth of football related news. that is typically the case with interlulls and even more so given the limited number of timbers players who find themselves called up to join their respective countries to be embarrassed on the national stage. as you know, mags and i struggle to not beat our heads to a mushy pulp every time these lulldrums come around. for us, it is strictly club before country--that always has been and always will be the case. too many unfortunate things occur during the international breaks and too many careers have suffered serious injuries and setbacks.
as expected, there have been the usual absences in beaverton this week. but one absence has been unexpected. when informed of his continued absence from training, i entered the information through my active imagination center, plugged in new characters, and filtered out some wonderful scenarios--all involved gavin never returning to the organization. as much as i want that, it will never happen. but then i did say spencer would not be given his walking papers until the end of this season--so a small sliver of hope does exist within those wildly imagined dreams. whether the interim ginger was performing his general managerial duties or spending long moments alone in the unisex bathroom at starbucks we may never know. but one thing is certain is that he was not at practice.
as usual, practice was closed. so, as far as we fans are concerned, nothing happened and nothing was discussed. however, certain spies i have working within my web of influence have informed me that our favorite million dollar scot was seen running laps, doing drills, and taking proper english lessons. do not consider the fact he was performing these remedial duties as any sort of suggestion he will be in portland next season or even playing a part in the auditions to be held during the remaining games. however, one thing is certain: more boyd and less gavin is as good as a snickers bar deep friend in butter, wrapped in bacon and then dunked in a big old glass of milk. yes, milk it does a body good and hopefully kris boyd is drinking it daily by the gallon.
gavin’s absence sure means more insight into the role of sean mccauley. since his arrival i have been flummoxed and hard pressed to understand his role within the organization, especially now that caleb porter has been hired on as the new boss. he has taken on the roles of sideline manager and talking head, and i wonder if he was simply brought in by gavin to buffer him from any real responsibility for the increasingly poor results since spencer was jettisoned. with that conspiracy theory now out in the universe, i have to say that i honestly enjoy reading his interviews. he adds a real scottish feel, and is deadly honest and forthright--qualities often missing in gavins "little bit" sound bites.
speaking about last sundays humiliation, mccauley did not minimize his description of the result and the likely effects on the team that could result:
It was a terrible trip for us. It was one that you can't forget. We may use that as an opportunity to motivate the players because I don't think it is one that you sweep under the carpet, although you don't want to reflect on negatives too long because they can become the thing that kills you. It was a terrible trip though and we need to motivate ourselves to make sure that we are right to go at it against the other rivals…They have got the opportunity to go out and put right what was wrong at the weekend, so we are quite fortunate that we have that big game for the next game.
with one exception, i could not agree more with his statements. after suffering through the hangover of heartache and disappointment, i have now made it through the dark days and i expect the squad to do the same. on sunday, they were handed their hats and told that little boys do not get to play with the big boys. they can either accept that fact or not. this is a real gut check time--they had the opportunity to close out an important award, if only to continue the rivalry, and did everything wrong in their attempt. sure, they were hamstrung by the unpredicted and devastatingly bad player decisions made by the interim ginger, but the least they could have done was made a show of it--they did not.
the only remark i took an exception with was the need to find motivation. it is a little thing, likely not worthy of much space on this blog, but i cannot resist. there should never be a need to motivate a team--this is their job. if a side requires motivation, extra motivation, pressure to do well, then that says more about their character and leadership than any expose' could ever do. the teams primary goal, their only goal, should be to win games regardless of whether it is seattle away, vancouver away with the chance to win a cup, or a chivas/fc dallas roadtrip. we can moan about seattle as a truly poor loss, and it was for many reasons that have been discussed, but that game was not as bad as the 5-0 loss away to dallas away. in either of those matches the efforts did not elevate to that directive. i doubt the issues will be solved in the remaining two games, but something must be accomplished regarding the guts of this squad. perhaps, in his positive but very honest way, mccauley is making that point.
at any rate, it is friday and the rain is to return.