There are two types of games that end 0-0, the exciting games, and the 'utterly boring, tear your hair out, consider the possibility that the trolls might be right about this sport' games. Somehow, when the Portland Timbers headed to Cleveland to play the newly 'promoted' Cleveland City Stars on Saturday night, we saw a match that was both boring and exciting, frustrating and exhilarating.
The Cleveland City Stars were the USL2 champions last season, and after Atlanta folded, they were 'promoted' to USL1 for their efforts. Well, the team name was, because essentially the entire team bolted with the coach was hired to lead the Carolina Railhawks.
The Timbers headed to 'The Cheese' Stadium (which is actually Bradford High School's football field), to play a team made up of USL1 has-beens and USL2 talent who had failed to score a goal or win a single draw. The field was narrow and shit-turf, the the weather was shit and as far as anyone could tell, the Cleveland side hired a professional Soccer Mom to cheer from the sidelines.
Here are the some stats that should tell you everything you need to know:
Steve Cronin, Timbers GK: 0 saves, 0 goals. (Cleveland took 4 shots, but neither were anywhere near Cronin the Barbarian)
Timbers: 24 shots, 0 goals.
As Roberto put it: the biggest threat to the Timbers Defense was boredom.
Watching this game was both incredibly boring—there was no doubt from the beginning that the City Stars are not a threat to anyone but themselves—and very exciting because the Timbers took 24 shots, and at least 15 of them coulda woulda shoulda been goals. But they weren't. Thus, I am unhappy.
This Cleveland team is like the California Victory of 2007 and other crap sides that formed simply to be whipped, and we could only manage a 0-0 tie. EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE USL1 will beat Cleveland. They're going to have a goal differential in the -50s at the end of the season, and we couldn't score. You know why we didn't score? Our strikers kind of suck. We missed gimmies. Keita missed gimmies. Suzuki missed gimmies. Josten... was he playing? I honestly couldn't tell.
We need some help up front or we're going to have a lot of 0-0 ties in our future.
— Alex Nimo was on fire in his time on the pitch, with two really great shots that the Cleveland keeper barely kept out.
— I will never worry about our midfield as long as Claesson and McManus are holding down the fort.
Next game is this Thursday against the Rochester (no longer raging) Rhinos at PGE Park at 8pm (note the late start time). Former Timbers player Andrew Gregor will be riding the pine for Rochester, but I expect him to be taunted mercilessly.