while one can have too much of a good thing, too much of a bad thing is never better–it is likely to drive one close to insanity. because of that threat i am going to attempt an interim ginger free post. after all, this is the day before the day that defines the timbers season. and while i feel like have written that bit before, tomorrow really is the last hope for a hopeless 8 months. 8 months! if this last cascadia match did not remain i too might say stick a fork in them.
sunday sees the timbers arrive in vancouver. no, not the vancouver where large trucks and romney ryan signs litter the front lawns of the neighboring homes. no, this is the vancouver with robson street, stanley park, and where people say eh! it is also the vancouver with a side that is still in the running for the mls playoffs. unlike the timbers, the whitecaps can secure a first post season birth in their short existence. the timbers? well, they are playing for pride and the hope of bringing the cascadia cup back to portland.
the timbers have several obstacles to overcome. but none greater than the road duck. that animal will have to be shived, gutted, skewered, and roasted on an open firepit of robert bly proportions, because winning on the road is the only, let me repeat, ONLY way the timbers travel home with the cup. the timbers, with a game in hand, rest at 8 points against seattle’s 9 points. unfortunately, they have a goal differential of -1. unless some funky maths are performed, where quantum leaps are made across folds within the fissures of the universe, a draw will not close the 5 goal gap between the timbers and seattle. of course, all of this calculus could have been avoided had a side worthy of the cause been started against seattle two weeks ago. woulda. coulda. shoulda.
the timbers face a legitimately better side in the whitecaps. vancouver look to have the majority of their regular starters back and in contention to make the push for post-season. while kenny miller has returned from the embarrassment he and scotland suffered during the interlull, the greater concern is that dane richards is fit and bouyant after jamaica’s qualification for the next rounds of concacaf world cup qualification. darron mattocks is fit again and will likely feature in some way on sunday. i am sure he will have something to prove after suffering the humiliation of a quick red card against the timbers last round. sure, mattocks can be a douche, but he is deadly. he leads the whitecaps with 7 goals on 16 shots on goal, a conversion ratio better than 1 in 3. that is math i can do and it suggests we need to break his leg when he comes on. mattocks has been suffering from the old “tight hamstring” and will likely start from the pine. that means the threats will come from either camillo sanvezzo or, well, camillo sanvezzo. encouragingly, camillo has a mere 5 goals from 23 shots on goal–a conversion rate similar to that of kris boyd.
the timbers are likely to still be without their leading scorer. not that playing the leading scorer was ever an option these days, similar to the option of starting the assist leader. for some reason, or reasons, or non-reasons, eric alexander has fallen out of favor and sees more time on the pine than he does as a hopeless and useless substitute. as we all know, in order for alexander to play effectively he must be involved from the outset or his inclusion is pointless. mags has argued this until his fingers automatically type the keys upon first thought of alexander. aside from those two, it looks as if the regular starters will be included tomorrow. smith’s “tight hamstrings” have loosened. i expect kimura to get the nod now that facepalmer has shown that being a passenger on international duty is far easier than being a passenger domestically. the rest of the starting eleven writes their own names on the lines for the simple fact the timbers have nothing better.
one thing i am interested in seeing is whether fucito actually makes the trip north. he was more effective at pissing off every timbers supporter in 2 minutes than he was playing for 45. based on his performances in seattle, i cannot conceive any reason other than market window shopping to put him on the pitch. if i were to remove my emotions from my assessment i would still not include him in the plans for vancouver away. the whitecaps have a physical side with brutes in the center of their back line who will likely walk of the pitch fucito stuck to the bottom of their boots. his impish play may cause problems, but we have yet to see any results from his reputed tenacity other than a missed chance from an offside position two yards out.
regardless of who actually starts and who actually makes the bench, it seems the message that this match is important has been communicated through new technology in order to avoid the mixed messages of seattle away. evidently, the side did not realize that match was important and that the objective of playing football is to win at playing football. as the interim ginger said “something was lost in translation going into the seattle match.” my high-strung mind cannot grasp the difficulty faced when standing amongst 18 footballers in order to embolden them with gipper like speeches when bill murray singing karaoke while clutching a pokemon doll has more respect than the manager, but it must be hard. so, expressing the importance of winning, something those 18 footballers are paid by the club to do, something that the interim manager is paid to do, must be made even more difficult when the best 11 are not considered an option for success. what does that say to those 18 players? hopefully the same message is not conveyed tomorrow.
alright, football is back! enjoy your day.