MLS All-Stars Shine Against Bayern

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by Magadh 4 Comments

 

bayernI didn’t really have anything much to say in the wake of the loss to L.A., and since sunshine is on some kind of hush hush assignment down near the equator nothing got said. The match was hard for me to watch. The absence of Darlington Nagbe had a profoundly negative effect on our ability to transition the ball out of defense. We lacked pace and this allowed the Gals to smother us in midfield. By the end of the first half it really looked to me as if the end result was a foregone conclusion. We’re playing better than we were a couple of months ago, but we’re still a ways away from being the kind of side with serious pretensions to compete. More on that a bit later.

 

 

In more recent news, I am pleased to say that the MLS All-Star Game was just about the most entertaining iteration of this fixture that I have ever seen. Not surprisingly, Portland put on a top notch event. Also not surprisingly, Clint Dempsey got booed during the playing introductions. Too right. I’d boo that guy at his own funeral if they held it in Portland.... Read More →

In L.A. Everyone is a Star…

Posted on: August 2nd, 2014 by Magadh No Comments

 

flailI’m getting back into the swing of writing, but obviously I haven’t quite fully gotten back on the horse. It’s not, please believe, that I’ve lost my passion for the team. Rather it’s that I’m kind of short on passion for everything in life these days. But I’m coming around and hopefully that will be more evident soon.

 

 

As part of my therapy I went back and watched L.A.’s recent match with the Flounders. As an aside, I like reading Seattle fan pages. It makes me feel a bit crazy and that keeps me warm at night. In the lead up to that match there was a lot of confidence among the slime green faithful that they were going to put the boot into the Gals, especially given that L.A. had been on the receiving end of a comprehensive whupping from United fairly recently. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, L.A. pretty much dominated Seattle. Frankly I thought the scoreline flattered Seattle. Not that it wasn’t ugly, but it could have been even worse. Seattle had one of those nights where nothing worked and on which their defensive flaws were laid bare for all to see. Truth to tell we laid those flaws bare as well, but we had quite a few of our own on the night that we drew 4-4 with them. But that’s another story.... Read More →

an impactful win…

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by sunshine 2 Comments

 

The Timbers pulled off another road win in the most typical of Timbers ways. They controlled possession, dominated the midfield, passed the Impact off the pitch, and gave up the first goal against the run of play. The narrative of this match was written well before the game began. Thankfully it turned out happy because after the 14 minute things felt like they were going to turn horribly wrong.

 

picture perfect positioning...

picture perfect positioning...

Going up against the worst team in MLS is never easy for a team like the Timbers—they have an uncanny knack of making life harder for themselves simply by stepping foot on a pitch. Winning a game against the worst team in MLS only gets harder when that team scores first. Until last night, Montreal has not lost a match at home after scoring the first goal. Hidden within that meaningless little statistic is found the heart of a wounded lion—I am certain of this. They may have only 14 points on the season thanks in no small part to the limited ability spread along their back line, but when given a lead they work hard to retain it (if only for a short time). The same cannot always be said about the Timbers.

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Things Are Looking Up

Posted on: July 27th, 2014 by Magadh 1 Comment

 

ridgeI’ve been perusing the results of the friendlies between European teams (mostly from the EPL) and those from MLS. Obviously the one that jumps out is United’s 7-0 hammering of the L.A. Gals. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t experienced a pleasant bit of Schadenfreude when I read that. L.A. is constantly being thrown up as one of the flagship sides in the league, so it was nice to see than get dropped down a peg or three. But all gloating aside, you could look at that and wonder how much progress this league has really made.

 

 

Well, the answer is: a lot. Let’s be clear, the EPL is one of the top three leagues in the world and the talent level there is very, very high. Too, the Gals ran into a United side coming back from their most disappointing season in 20 years or so. This wasn’t your garden variety friendly. Van Gaal in the process of cutting away the dead wood, and pretty much everyone in a United shirt is out to prove that their wood isn’t dead. You could tell that they were bearing down in a way that a touring side will seldom do in a late summer friendly, and a number of United players had been at the World Cup, and thus a little closer to match fit than they might otherwise have been at this time of year. So while there is still a gulf in quality, I don’t think that this result is necessarily the kind of black eye for the league that some might think. But still I gloat.... Read More →

The New Order

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Magadh 5 Comments

 

valeriJust a few little bits and bobs for today. We’re still in the process of getting ourselves sorted out after the World Cup. Oddly so, given our professed disinterest in the international game, but at lot of that (for me at least) has to do with my perpetual state of irritation at the disruptions of the club season for international matches. Truth to tell, I watched a lot of the World Cup, and quite enjoyed it. It would be dishonest of me not to admit that I get a great deal of joy at seeing a very overrated Brazil team receive their comeuppance from the Germans.

 

 

I suppose I might mention the following as well. sunshine and I are in the process of revising our publication patterns a bit. In part this is due to the fact that neither of our wives feel like they want to be married to the team as well as to us, to which I say fair enough. But also I think we both felt like the aggressive schedule that we’d committed ourselves to (1100 words every day and pretty much just the two of us doing it) had gotten to be a bit burdensome, but also was compelling us to publish columns that were not up to the appropriate standard. We pride ourselves on offering something a bit different than some other sites. Obviously, one point of comparison here is Stumptown Footy. I read SF a lot and I think it is a fabulous site. If I say that I (or we) want to be different than them it’s not out of disrespect for the quality of their product, but rather an expression of the feeling that they have their niche and fill it quite excellently.... Read More →

The Comeback Kids Strike Again

Posted on: July 19th, 2014 by Magadh 3 Comments

 

ridgeThere is a lot that could be said about the match with Colorado last night. I’ll put together a full post a little later on, but I thought that I would just mention that, aside from all of the other interesting stuff, it was simply one of the fastest paced matches that I have ever seen in this league. Both teams were well up for it and there were acres of space for play in midfield. Partly that had to do with the fact that our lads had pretty clearly been instructed to adopt a very attacking posture. We moved the ball around quite quickly last night, and that in itself was an improvement. It kept our play dynamic and engaged and forced Colorado’s forward and central players to cover a lot of ground as they had to get back to address our counterattacks.

 

 

Given how much room was involved, I thought that Johnson and Chará did an exemplary job of tackling when they got the opportunity. To my eye we were, generally speaking, more solid at the back than we have been (at least in a lot of this season’s matches). We did give up another utterly preventable goal, but other than that we managed to keep a very aggressive Colorado side off the scoreboard for the rest of the match. It didn’t hurt that Deshorn Brown got hurt, but at this point it’s probably best not to quibble.... Read More →

as good as you get…

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by sunshine 8 Comments

 

to avoid a deucebration, you must defend intelligently...

to avoid a deucebration, you must defend intelligently...

Last night the Timbers took on their Cascadia and bitter rivals for the second time in less than a week. The last time the Timbers played the Sounders in quick succession the results were much different. However, unlike this year’s version of the Timbers, the discipline and resolve of that team was never questioned. After putting up a good fight throughout most of the match, the Timbers character flaws were exposed and exploited.

 

With the exception of Chara, the Timbers line-up was largely unchanged from the earlier loss to the Sounders. As we all know, Chara was unavailable for yesterday’s Cascadia match for yellow-card accumulation, not for the deserved straight red for a rash and stupid challenge in the mid-week meeting between these two clubs. Justifiably, many were left concerned by his absence—he has been the engine and the combative thrust to the Timbers midfield for so long that to consider the team without him, especially against the Sounders, was unthinkable. Even more concerning was the return of Jewsbury to his original role as the holding midfielder. But any concern over the loss of Chara was soon put to bed—Jewsbury brought a balance and maturity to the midfield that, surprisingly, has been missing over the last 19 games. I am not suggesting that Jewsbury should retain that role as an answer to ongoing problems, but lessons can be learned.

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