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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 6, 2012 12:22 AM. The previous post in this blog was Couplet's done -- time for some apartment bunkers!. The next post in this blog is All of Japan's nukes are turned off. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Match report: Timbers 0, Crew 0, paint almost dry

It wasn't our idea, but the Mrs. and the kids were going to the Timbers game, and they had a ticket for us, and so away we all went. Our daughter who plays the beautiful game was part of the pre-game ceremony, in which local kids get to escort the players out onto the field. That in itself was a lot of fun. So was hanging out together as a family, along with many friends, for the game. Alas, nothing much happened on the field, or the pitch, or whatever the heck they call it. But it was still a thumbs-up night.

Our journey to Jelled-When? Field began well in advance of kickoff time, and it's a good thing, as there was a hefty crowd. We went in a car -- yes, a private passenger automobile, despite all the intense pressure from the City of Portland to get there some other way. We dropped off our party a half-block from the field and went hunting for a legal parking space -- any parking space, at any price. After some cruising, we found a free one on the street, 11 blocks from the stadium. It was a nice night for a walk. Score one for the grouchy old guys.

We would not have dared to leave our car on the street any closer to the stadium, where parking was limited to an hour, or 90 minutes without a resident permit, or two hours. The Portland parking enforcement pests were out in full force, on their sickly little scooters with their yellow lights blinking. They were ready to raise some revenue from the unsuspecting.

Once we got inside the stadium, it was slow going to our seat, as the main concourse is woefully narrow for the number of fans that the place holds. Matters were not helped by the tables that were set up along the perimeter to hawk worthless goods, like subscriptions to the Oregonian. Memo to Little Lord Paulson: Move that junk out of the way and let the people get to their seats.

We tried really hard not to think about it, but we couldn't help but do the math in our head as we crept along. Let's see, the city's taxpayers have thrown about $45 million into this building over the past decade or so. That's about $75 or $80 per resident, not including interest. And after all that, the older section is still an uncomfortably tight little place.

Once we reached our assigned location, things mellowed out quite a bit. We were close to the concessions, the vendors came around frequently (cotton candy $5; bottled water $3.75), and the restrooms, though tiny, didn't seem to back up much. Although we were not in the luxury seats that we had for the U.S. women's team a while back, we were still quite comfortable.

We beamed with pride at our girl when she appeared in the pregame walk-on, and we applauded the young gal who belted out the national anthem -- she nailed it. Then the soccer began, and it slowly went downhill from there.

For the first 20 minutes or so, the social misfits in the Timbers Army bellowed out songs or chants or something, at the top of their lungs. It was loud, unintelligible, and annoying -- a veritable Losers Tabernacle Choir. Eventually they got tired and simmered down considerably, which was a relief. Timber Joey came around the stands and revved up his chainsaw, which seemed a little hazardous, but he got a lot of high fives from the faithful.

The action on the field was spirited, at least for most of the first half, but neither team looked too good. The Timbers took a lot more shots than their opponents, the Columbus Crew, managed. But only a few shots by either team were great. And none of them went in.

We tried as hard as we could to stay focused on the play on the field, but after about 40 minutes of uneventful back and forth, our mind started drifting. We started missing baseball. No score halfway through a baseball game? Well, that's what they call a "pitchers' duel." Meanwhile, we weren't sure what this was that we were watching.

By 70 minutes of scoreless action, the cliches about the boredom of soccer matches were beginning to ring true. And when the match was over, and we inched our way out of the packed, cramped building, we were left to wonder why so much ado had been made about nothing. "Nil nil," indeed.

As we understand it, Columbus is an inferior team, and Portland's failure to win didn't do anything to help the Timbers coach, whose job may be on the line. But to the people in the stands, we doubt that it matters much. They mostly seemed happy to be there, to be Portland, to be Euro, to be weird. There will always be a following for soccer in this town. But we still honestly wonder how long the league can possibly last.

On the way home, we got to see the super moon, rising in the southeast. And we had shared an evening as a family, with good friends. We'll never get what the fuss is about the Timbers, but life is good anyway.

Comments (9)

Nil-nil means, "Hey, we didn't lose!" That's significant this season. (And hell yeah the coach's job is on the line.)

Did you see Peter Apanel there?

After the league folds in a year or to, I guess we'll have to pungle up more money from the taxpayers to re-re-renovate the stadium back into a baseball field. Oh well, at least we'll have baseball back again.

I can't think of any other sport where the game can be 0-0, and then everyone just quits and goes home. Did the players at least get orange slices and a juice box after the game?

I don't think the coach's job should be on the line. John Spencer has more soccer knowledge in the tip of his penis than Merritt Paulson has in his whole body.

That's why Merritt was such a spoiled brat to cover himself this week saying talent wasn't the problem. "I didn't fail, Daddy. It's not my fault!"

The team plays with heart. That goalie Perkins didn't have to be out there last night after nearly getting his nose torn off in Montreal.

By the way, the pitch in Montreal is on the owners. That was a disgrace.

Merritt is an American rich kid. Just imagine plunging into the global soccer scene not really knowing what you're doing. There's a reason the players in the Liverpool-Chelsea FA Cup final yesterday make gigantic amounts of money. Merritt wants to do it, paying some of these guys like they were chauffeurs. He wants financial help from the city too, while his family made hundreds of millions screwing up the world economy.

So Merritt Paulson should just stop whining like a little rich kid whose butler put together his shiny new toy wrong on Christmas morning.

Take some responsibility and stop selling out your team like you're afraid Daddy Paulson's going to take it back.

The team and the Timbers Army are doing what child psychologists call, "Parallel Play."

Jack: I thought the first 45 minutes were a bore, but there was a lot of action in the last 45, I'm surprised you didn't find that more interesting.

Most 0-0 draws are akin to a 0-0 game in baseball where there are lots of baserunners but nobody manages to come up in the clutch... not quite a pitchers duel but a fair amount of excitement because something seems like it's about to happen, and then doesn't. Soccer's not for everybody (nor is any sport), good on you for giving it a chance.

Bilbo: MLS isn't folding next year. The league signed a new TV deal with NBC, their average attendance has increased every year from 2009 forward, and currently sits at 18,368 a game, 2nd best in league history. The league might be less popular than the big four, but it's become increasingly healthy over the last five years and there's nothing that indicates that next year will be any different.

I'll happily put $100 on MLS still being a going concern in 2014 if you'd like to put your money where your mouth is.

It's nice people are so enthusiastic, but MLS is what it is. MLB? Best baseball league in the world. Ditto for NBA, NHL, and NFL, although our type of football is not played much elsewhere. MLS? Most of the players are not good enough to make it in better leagues, in other countries. The Timbers are like the Winterhawks; hope they win, good for them, but when you see them play you know you're watching a developmental league.

Kickball is a boring sport. It is like 90 minutes of foreplay and you never get to do the deed. Portland has grown into a mediocre European city. Our ecnomony sucks because we gave world class government bureaucracy, poverty and highest state income tax rate in US. Portland has become Portandia and the rest of the country laughing at our epic failure.

Soccer (or as Brian correctly identified it - kickball) = ZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzz. Only slightly less interesting than watching grass grow, on par with watching paint dry.


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