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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PTFC2k9: Beachfront Points and Burnley cometh

Posted by Mark Evans on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 5:07 PM

I'd feel guilty about not getting these match reports out sooner, but I waited long enough to have news to break!

The Portland Timbers headed for a weekend of games in Puerto Rico last weekend (sorry I'm late!) and played extremely well given the conditions (hot and muggy) and the stadium (crap pitch).

Also, the Timbers FO announced a friendly with Burnley, a Premier league bound Club, on July 25th.

Game notes and fun facts about friendlies, below the fold.

The Timbers came back from their road trip exhausted, but with 4 points, froma a 1-1 tie on Friday and a 2-1 victory on Sunday. The Timbers, until this last weekend, had a pretty dire record on the road in Puerto Rico, so these points are a fabulous pick up for the team.

- Keita broke his cherry! Keita scored on a header in the first game, and again in the second game! Here's hoping the goals will now flow like rum-based libations on the beaches of PR.

- Both goals against the Timbers came from loose ball goalmouth scrums after set-pieces. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but our set piece defending sucks.

- Our midfield still rocks. Their defense was as stellar as their control of possession—I really like this crew.

- At the end of the Sunday game, the Timbers were hit with 6 inexplicable minutes of injury time, during which the ref gave 3 inexplicable yellow cards. I think the ref was suffering a bit of heat stroke; none of those cards were earned.

- Gavin Subbed well! Gav the Gaffer has never really abused the 5 sub rule in the USL (which no one really likes), but given the heat and humidity of Puerto Rico, he subbed early, often and well. The starting line-ups from Friday and Saturday varied as well. This trip really showed how deep our squad is, and showed that Gavin might actually use it.

- Nimo, Josten, McLaughlin and Savage really didn't show up in their time on the pitch. Three of them are rookies or below 22, so let's hope they'll round out soon enough.

- DAAAAAANNNNNNSOOOOOOUUUUUU!!!!!! The big tree in the back crashed through the crowd on a corner kick for his first goal in the USL. I like this guy and I hope he gets more playing time. He's dangerous going forward.

Burnley's flying home in a Portland Ambulance.
I'll let Matt Davis clue you in on where Burnley is, but this is a huge friendly for the Timbers (much more challenging than, say, Munich II). Burnley just earned promotion from the Coke Championship to the Barclay's Premier League.

For those unfamiliar with how Soccer works EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD, the teams at the top of a league at the end of a season will move to the league above them (promoted) for the next season, and the worst teams from will drop to the league below (relegated). At the top of the top, the best teams are rewarded with beds made of money covered by many beautiful ladies. Tickets will go one sale sometime soon.

US Open Cup
To say last year's showing in the US Open Cup was embarrassing would be a gross understatement. Now, with the depth of roster, I hope our boys step up and go far in this competition. The Timbers' first USOC Qualifying match is against the Kitsap Pumas, in Kitsap on June 9th. The USOC situation I'll fly home for: Seattle vs. Portland USOC final. That would be epic.

Next Up:
The Timbers host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday the 30th at 7pm, and the Club America Reserves on the 31st in a friendly.

Until next time folks.

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