Timbers here, there, everywhere. Loads to talk about what they've been doing, where they are, and where they're going. Let's get down to business.
Speaking of business, the Timbers continue to get down to some with their epic road trip tonight against AC St. Louis at 5:10 p.m. Pacific Time on the internets and radio as per usual. St. Louis as been at or near the bottom of the table for much of the season, had some financial issues from the get-go, and have already had a head coaching change mid-season. They are ripe for the picking and the Timbers should win this match thus continuing their great run of play.
Speaking of great run of play, the Timbers started it up last Thursday night with a victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in Vancouver, BC. Victories for the Timbers in the cosmopolitan Vancouver have been few and far between so the fact that a win occurred AND that it wrapped up the 2010 campaign for the fan-driven Cascadia Cup was all around pure excellence. Kip Kesgard took his yearly pilgrimage north to write about it here. Penalty Kicks, Futty Danso goodness, and all kinds of fun can be found in the video highlights:
Speaking of more news; coin tosses, coaches, and Man City craziness all follow through the jump . . .
Speaking of the Whitecaps, representatives of their team are joining Timbers owner Merritt Paulson and Head Coach/Technical Director Gavin Wilkinson in Houston tonight at the MLS All Star Game for the Expansion Coin Toss. Other than throwing pocket change into the air, what does this mean? At halftime of the All Star Game between the MLS Stars and Manchester United—a fun match in its own right—there will be a coin toss to determine who gets first pick in the 2011 Expansion Draft, SuperDraft and priority in other player acquisition mechanisms for the Timbers and their expansion cousin Whitecaps. The winner of the toss picks first priority of acquisition mechanism and then, according to the press release, "it alternates through the priority list, which also includes USL player priority, allocation ranking, designated player ranking, discovery ranking, lottery ranking and waiver/re-entry draft ranking."
So it really comes down to getting first shot at the SuperDraft pool of top college players vs. first crack at the veteran MLS players left unprotected for the Expansion Draft. Last year, Philadelphia Union was the only expansion team and chose the SuperDraft option thus selecting Oregon State's Danny Mwanga. While both drafts could produce good players for the Timbers, I'm hoping they get the SuperDraft option.
The Oregonian's Geoffrey C. Arnold is in Houston and giving updates on all the All Star Game happenings, parties, and what-have-you's. MLS Insider's Twitter feed is pretty good too. The MLS All Star Game itself is on ESPN2 tonight at 5:30 p.m. which means the coin toss would happen at approximately 6:15 p.m. (Side Note: Why the USSF Division 2 Pro League, in all its wisdom, decided to schedule league Timber matches on the night of the MLS All Star Game is anyone's guess.)
Speaking of Houston, the buzz continues over ex-Dynamo assistant John Spencer becoming next year's Timbers Head Coach. The eminent Bruce McGuire of super soccer site du Nord pretty much says it's a done deal. Scroll down to "MLS Team and Player News" here. That said, Diego Maradona is now looking for a new job . . . . And yes, that's him and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the link.
Speaking of Manchester, the other Manchester team—that would be Manchester City—left their friendly training confines at Nike a few weeks ago to continue their American tour. Given their sojourn here in Portland and fun match against the Timbers, I thought it interesting to revisit the point that they have spent upwards of $121 MILLION DOLLARS in signings just THIS SUMMER ALONE. For a fascinating discussion on what that does to a team and to why European teams go on overseas trips to the USA and elsewhere, listen to this past Monday's BBC 5 live Football Daily podcast. It's a great listen into how a team tries to win, how do they balance players' playing time and egos, and how does the system stay sustainable. Insane amounts of money, people.
Finally, speaking of soccer, which I've done all post here, there's another one-off screening of the excellent documentary PELADA Thursday night at the Hollywood Theatre at 7:00 p.m. Go. See it. You'll be glad you did.