Saturday, May 13, 2006

Miami FC Takes Down the Timbers

Like Timbers fans all over the Portland area, late yesterday afternoon I shut out the sun and huddled over my computer to follow their match against Miami FC. In the absence of Andy McNamara's sorely-missed away radio broadcasts, the official Timbers website provided live updates--until it appeared to crash (which was nostalgically reminisicent of the tendency last year for the broadcast to dissolve inexplicably into salsa music). Through the magic of cell phones and text messaging, faithful fans saved the day over at the Timber Mill till the updates reappeared.

Miami are my bad guys for the new season: not only was one of their goals decidedly dodgy (hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced off? Oh please!) but in the first minute someone sent our skipper and poet-warrior Scot Thompson home in a Florida ambulance! Or, to be more accurate, his head was gashed badly enough that he had to be stretchered off and taken to a local hospital for stitches. Now our defense is far stronger than they were last year, but one can't help utter those saddest words of tongue or pen and wonder what might have been had he remained in the match.

The new lads continue to impress: Zimbabwean forward Mamba Chisoni has arrived at last, and with a bang, scoring the first goal of the match six minutes in. The buzz is all about Chisoni, who I can't wait to watch, and I continue to be thrilled beyond words (hence why we seem to keep recycling the same words here to describe them) at how fast and creative and energetic this new squad is shaping up to be. Perennial favorite Hugo Alcarez-Cuellar was our other goal-scorer with an 84th minute equalizing penalty kick. I was hoping for another goal and counting on at least a point from this match until former Brazilian national Romario broke our hearts in the 89th minute. 3-2 Miami FC.

Chisoni won't be able to play in tomorrow's match against Puerto Rico due to still-pending visa issues and I've heard no further updates as to whether or not Scot will be fit. The Timbers are 1-1-2 now and it's time for their record to start reflecting their strong play. Next weekend they're home again to take on Rochester and Toronto; let's hope that with the support of a home crowd they can take away six points.

In other news, West Ham succumbed to Liverpool in the FA Cup finals following an agonizing series of penalty kicks. Last night I seriously considered an early morning wake up call to trek over to the Horse Brass for the broadcast on PPV. However, the knowledge that I actually needed to accomplish some things today coupled with the certainty that spending much of the morning in a smoky pub where I would find the full English breakfast well-nigh irresistable was likely to lead to an afternoon of grease-induced sloth and possibly even self-loathing, kept me home. I did manage to catch a bit of the final minutes of the actual match on the Guardian's live updates and saw them head into penalty kicks; the suffering was all over by the time I checked in again later. Despite my love of Steven Gerrard (who was, reportedly, magnificent), I was rooting for the Hammers on this one, so a disappointing result--but it still sounds like a fantastic match and I'm looking forward to seeing it repeated later this week on FSC.

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