Celebrating Cascadia with videos

26 06 2012

The loyalty of Sounders FC fans is a beautiful thing. They turn out game after game, season after season, the love for their boys undying.

Yet I wonder how many of them are content with early-round playoff exits. With U.S. Open Cups — nice, but not the ultimate prize. With frustrating losses every now and then to teams the club should beat.

I’m long removed from the day-to-day news and observing of the club. Three playoff appearances in the first three years of existence is impressive — a lot of teams would take that in a heartbeat. But I sense that Sounders fans expect more, demand more. And they should.

I do think the Sounders beat themselves, aside from a defense that has not played well of late. That Fredy Montero was sent off in the Portland game was confounding. Your best striker pushing off  — even if the Timbers’ David Horst flopped — and costing himself and his team with a suspension, at a time when the Sounders need to get back on the winning track. The Sounders have to do a better job of managing their emotions through this recent winless streak.

There were some needless, senseless fouls from both teams, Portland and Seattle. But my sense is that the Timbers, with less talent, were fine with turning the game into a physical tussle. The Sounders aren’t that kind of team overall, and really never have been.

Having said all that, Sounders fans, you still have a playoff team. The organization has made some fantastic calls with player personnel. There’s a ton of depth and Adrian Hanauer, Chris Henderson and Sigi Schmid reload with fresh talent each year. Some of that talent is guys who might not have gotten their chance as rookies or younger players — they have had to learn to be patient and wait their turn.

It’s a testament to the club that they are able to stockpile developing players. Seattle is an ultimate soccer destination for any professional player, it’s hard to leave once you get there. Ask Mike Fucito, Lamar Neagle, Sebastien Le Toux and James Riley.

Enough opinion. Let’s watch some videos.

Here’s a rainy night in Portland (Timbers-Whitecaps) last month.

Here is the Southsiders supporters group in song in Portland. What a season so far for Vancouver, congrats to them.

Speaking of Vancouver, these are SHARP.

Whitecaps third kits (new)




Are we in a golden era for American soccer?

29 06 2011

I watched the first half of the Seattle Sounders-Kitsap Pumas U.S. Open Cup match Tuesday evening via the Sounders web site’s video stream.

That morning I watched the U.S. women’s team beat North Korea, and the day before that I saw Mexico and England play in the Women’s World Cup.

Soccer seems as ubiquitous as baseball right now with the NBA and NHL playoffs and season over. In America alone, the Gold Cup just ended with 93,000-plus fans at the Rose Bowl, Major League Soccer is in full swing and a bunch of international friendlies involving English Premier League and other top European teams are coming to the U.S. next month.

The U.S. Open Cup is in the quarterfinal stage, even if it isn’t on TV until the final. Fox Soccer Channel and several Spanish-language channels show plenty of games (I’m fortunate to have both Telefutura and Galavision), and those you can’t see are often available over the Internet. The sport is everywhere, even here in soccer-desolate Phoenix, where two Mexican teams, Club America and Morelia, are soon to play in the biggest stadium in these parts.

Sign that the CA-Morelia match is going to be well-attended… I got an email recently from S.A.F.E. Management, the company that oversees stadium operations at University of Phoenix Stadium for NFL games and other events, calling for people to work at the stadium as ushers and support staff. Crowd control and stuff.

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Timbers game videos, and a thought on Mexico-Ecuador in May

28 04 2011

I’ve taken a few videos in the past couple of weeks that I never got around to putting on YouTube til last night, so here they are. The first two are from the Portland Timbers’ first home game on April 14.  Enjoy…

The beginning of the match…

…and the end of it. It really felt like I was back in Italy for that Serie A match I saw last year. The Portland fans were right up there with the Palermo fans from that game.

Also this one, from the Coyotes-Red Wings Game 3 of the playoffs on April 18.

Back to soccer, I feel bad for Real Salt Lake. No doubt they gave it everything they had but it just didn’t go their way in that CCL final last night. MLS will win the whole thing, and soon.

The Seattle Sounders announced that more than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the Mexico-Ecuador friendly on May 28 at Qwest Field. Should that surprise anyone? It is Mexico. That team is a big draw anywhere they go in the U.S.  I was there when they played China in Seattle and that crowd was bigger than for the Brazil-Canada match also held at Qwest that spring of 2008.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that crowd is up over 50,000. The atmosphere at the last Mexico match in Seattle was fantastic. The “futbol fiesta” outside the stadium was a big hit and even though it was a late arriving crowd, the only complaint I heard after covering the match was regarding the traffic flow heading toward and away from the stadium.

Plus there is a wide area to draw from as far as selling tickets. There will be a ton of people from Oregon and the other side of the mountains in Washington at that match.

Something old yet something new

17 04 2011

Now that I am only able to afford no more than four trips back to Oregon per year at this point, it seems every time I return to my hometown there is something new to see and experience.

Let’s start with the new from my trip to the Portland area, which ends Sunday afternoon.

The "new" home of the Portland Timbers. I was there for Home Game No. 1.

Real nice to see my cousin, also named Jose, at the Timbers game and I’m proud of him doing so well with his career.

I moved out of town in 1998 and after I left, the city’s most famous doughnut shop came into existence. I went with my wife there on Friday. This is Voodoo Doughnuts and it was a day away from a remodel so we got our donuts just in time.

I also saw this famous slogan actually not on a bumper sticker.

There’s a new sports bar/bowling alley by my parents’ home in Tigard, called Big Al’s. Note to self: Go there one day.

And last but not least in the new category, I have been to the Portland Art Museum before but not the screening auditorium. It was there on Saturday that I saw a very gripping film about the Holocaust from the French Jews’ perspective, “Sarah’s Key,”

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I need a mileage allowance

3 03 2011

For  real.

The week so far: Mariners game in Peoria. Dodgers game in Glendale. A’s game in East Phoenix, featuring photo by Marcio Sanchez, one of the best in the business and a guy I know. Giants vs. Diamondbacks game in Scottsdale. And today, spent the morning with the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear.

Also, I got a chance to talk to Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson last weekend, and here’s the Q&A I did with him in Casa Grande. He’s an enthusiastic guy who is passionate about his soccer team; nevertheless, I had to give him a bit of a hard time about his other team, the former Portland Beavers of minor-league baseball, who left Portland when no deal could be reached to build a ballpark for them. Paulson was a good sport about it all, and a good interview.

Putting in work, trying to get paid. Here are some photos from yesterday and today.

Cleveland pitcher Justin Masterson vs. the A's on March 2.

Tim Lincecum (guy with long hair), SF Giants pitcher

Above is Cleveland’s facility. Had never been there until today.


Timbers-Sporting KC photos

27 02 2011

A somewhat cool and cloudy day down in Casa Grande yesterday. As is normally the case when I go to a game, I took a lot of photos form the match between Portland and Kansas City (a scoreless draw).

Portland is my hometown but I tried to remain as impartial as possible. Sporting KC has some very good attacking players but needs Teal Bunbury back at forward as soon as possible. With the ability that Omar Bravo and Kei Kamara have to do some damage, this will clearly be the team’s strength.

I expected to see more on offense from the Timbers. Kenny Cooper is a bonafide threat, so is Darlington Nagbe on the wing, but it took some time in the game before Portland began to make some good runs into the KC box. The Timbers’ defense was also shaky at times until the defenders really had to make a play in the box to avoid a goal. Solid goalkeeping from Troy Perkins. You can find my match report here.

Photo time.

Portland rookie Darlington Nagbe pregame stretch.

Kenny Cooper and Brian Umony (right), who started the match at forwards.

Owner Merritt Paulson (left) and technical director Gavin Wilkinson watching the match.

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The Portland Timbers’ new kits

9 12 2010

Love ’em.

The green one is nice. The red one, however, is even better. It’s a source of pride for any Portlander.

(photo courtesy of Oregonlive.com. Randy L. Rassmussen)

Oregon is synonymous with green. There is green everywhere. Portland is synonymous with red. The Rose City, The Rose Garden (building and actual test garden), Royal Rosarians, Rose Festival, the Trail Blazers, etc.  The colors are right.

The red jersey is an ode to the city. Which makes it great, and if you are from the city like I am, then you know. If you’re not, maybe it isn’t for you. But my soccer jersey collection is in need of some red, and I’ve found the perfect addition.

When you break it all down, it’s all about the marketing right? Of course the Timbers weren’t going to go the conventional route. The Seattle Sounders didn’t, now their kit is one of the most recognizable brands in the country, even the world I dare say.

The Northwest, and yes I’m biased, is home to the best soccer jerseys in North America. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Love the Vancouver Whitecaps’ blue. Dig the Sounders’ new shale shade, even if its just a fourth option.

I guess I better start putting aside some money. The Portland red and Vancouver blue are the ones I gotta have.