To begin with, there was Bafana Bafana’s Siphiwe Tshabalala scorcher starting the party off right . . . France and Uruguay putting up a total snoozer . . . Dark horse South Korea making themselves known against a messed up Greece . . . Maradona’s Argentine boys taking it to Nigeria . . . Keeper Robert Green’s butterfingers giving the US 1-1 a tie with England . . . Algeria’s Abdelkader Ghezzal pretending to be a wide receiver thus giving him the fastest two yellow cards in World Cup history . . . Serbia’s Zdravko Kuzmanovic’s spot on imitation of Ghezzal and gifting Ghana a PK and a win . . . and finally, Germany’s utter mandhandling of Australia.
The US turned in a spirited effort producing a 1-1 tie against a loaded England squad. It was a story of two goalies with the Americans’ Tim Howard stalwart play giving him Man of the Match honors vs. England’s Robert Green having some handling issues. The US could have won it all with Jozy Altidore’s shot being knocked off the woodwork late in the second half.
Having said that, the two favorites to progress from Group C managed to escape each other without too much of a problem. For the US, a tie felt like a win (Thank you NY Post). For England, the tie felt like a loss and led to the requisite national handwringing. Also notable was ex-OSU Beaver Robbie Findley and ex-U of Portland Pilot Steve Cherundolo both being included in the starting eleven.
Back in Stumptown, the game was broadcast in Director Park in front of a merry World Cup crowd who also witnessed the unveiling of the new Portland Timbers crest at halftime.
More on the logo reaction after the jump.
To say that this unveiling was met by the crowd with some mixed reactions would be diplomatic. At best. (If swearing is frowned upon at your workplace, then I suppose this is NSFW-ish.)
As it was, the logo actually leaked via the internets the night previously when Timbers fan Steven Weldon walked into a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Tualatin looking for a US team jersey. “However, when I walked in, the new Timbers logo shirt was staring me in the face. I knew that this was not supposed to be shown until tomorrow, so I had to have it being a Timbers fan,” he said. After getting home, Weldon tweeted a photo of it with Timbers related hashtags. Before long, the tweet had been spread around Timbers fan message boards and reactions were swift.
By the time the logo was revealed in Director Park, there were many in the crowd who had already made up their mind. Negative spirited and NSFW-ish chants came flying out from certain areas, countered by positive chants led by the team’s Timber Jim and Timber Joey. The Timbers Army fan message boards lit up for pages and pages of comments, suggested tweaks, confusion, rage and frustration with issues ranging from color selections, to choice of designer, to historical reverence, to overall graphic layout. However there were some fans in various corners of the boards and on Facebook that liked the logo or felt it was growing on them. Given the overwhelming number of negative comments—including many on some national boards and blogs—those liking the logo would appear to be in the minority.
Logos are tricky things—for any organization—let alone a sports franchise. They can communicate brand, emotion, and connection to an audience. In the case of many expansion sports franchises, logo unveilings can be met with much trepidation and wariness in part because it's the first public presentation of what a team will hope to aspire to. There is no history. There are no memories. There are no victories. Yet. So when one sees the logo, no one knows what to expect and the feeling can be a bit hollow. There is no actual team built to inhabit the new identity.
However, the Timbers are not an ordinary expansion team. They are not starting from scratch. There is some thirty-five years of Timbers-lore and with that comes history, memories, and victories. Add to that some of North America's most passionate fans and changes can sometimes feel, well, difficult. That said, logos come and go. The team remains.
Other changes were presented over the weekend with the Timbers launching their 2011 season ticket set-up with a very snazzy stadium view feature on a new website. Ticket packages range from $99 for the nosebleeds, to $360 for the raucous Timbers Army sections, to $1500 for posh east stands and many more options in-between. Plus, in a Portland-esque touch, you can select transportation preferences between game day all zone Tri-Met passes, buying a parking pass for $85, using secure bike parking, or electing to walk to matches and having the Timbers contribute $25 in your name to the Timbers Community Fund.
The new website provides simulated seat views as well as showing where the angle of sun will hit at various times of the day or season. There are virtual walkthroughs of the new stadium club and more detailed views of the whole new east stands.
As I look at this overall layout, what I find most exciting is the re-positioning of the field. With no need to accommodate baseball anymore, the north end of the pitch can move closer into what was the old home plate area and former third base dugouts. Also, the transfer of the old west-end beer garden—presumably over to the soon-to-be built east stands—means the western sideline is un-obstructed and more in view of the action. There’s some south end seats too and I love the P-O-R-T-L-A-N-D along the east stands. All in all, it’s beginning to look and feel like a real soccer stadium.
But with all this going on this weekend, perhaps lost was the fact that the current USSF Division 2 Timbers were defeated by Miami FC Blues 1-0, which dropped them to fifth place in the division. That development in and of itself leaves me ponderous and fretful. And yet, there's plenty more World Cup to watch . . .
*Special thanks too to our new Timbers photographer Alex McDougall.
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