The end of the 2012 MLS season draws nigh as the LA Galaxy host the Houston Dynamo in tomorrow's MLS Cup. A rematch of last season's final, this version presents plenty of drama.
Tune in at 1:30pm PT on ESPN to find out. Have your say on Twitter with hashtag #MLSCup.
Looking for a place to watch? The Timbers Army are hosting a viewing party to benefit AC Portland at Alberta Substation. Suggested donation of $5 gets you in with things getting rolling around 1pm.
While the US Women's National team was busy last night at JELD-WEN Field tallying up 5 goals in their win over the Republic of Ireland, the US U-17's have been busy this week at the Nike International Friendlies in Florida.
Yesterday, the Yanks played to a thrilling 4-4 draw against Brazil and Timbers U-16 midfielder Rubio Rubin--who's been training at the US U-17 Residency Program--was particularly busy with two goals and two assists.
Backheels, throughballs and more. Rubio was busy.
Now that Caleb Porter's time at the University of Akron is drawing to a close, Marla Ridenour, a sports columnist with the Akron Beacon Journal, sat down with soon-to-be new Portland Timbers head coach to ask him about his time with the Zips, his plans for Portland, and why he made the big move west.
In short, he was looking for a new rush.
The turning point came when he coached the US U-23s national team last spring.
“It gave me a taste of that rush and it’s unlike anything else,” Porter said Wednesday during a half-hour interview in his UA office. “There’s more pressure, but there’s more reward, too. I like that. I like a challenge. I’m not afraid of pressure.
“Even the rush of having to finesse the players, the management. I need that. I need to wake up every day feeling nervous, almost like I’ve got to be at my best, otherwise I get bored. It was very different the way I was feeling; it was like when I came here seven years ago.”
It's an excellent read to learn more into the insight of the new Timbers coach and what makes him tick as well as what his hopes for the future are.
“I try to be the best I can be. I try not to give a day away. I try not to slip,” he said. “In some ways it’s a madness, but that’s the way that I live. I don’t want to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and think, ‘I wasn’t good today.’ I try to instill that in my players.
“I’m very uncomfortable being comfortable. I want to grow, I want to get better, I want to push myself, I want to be challenged, I want to feel pressure, I want to wake up every day knowing I have to be at my best. That’s what makes me tick.”
Go read the whole thing at Ohio.com and check out the photo album of Porter in his UA of Akron office as well.
Though perhaps not quite as popular as the addictive FIFA 13--at least not in the US--Sega's Football Manager has it's very dedicated followers. A complete front office simulation game, Football Manager lets the user be the coach, technical director, and everything in-between to control all aspects of your favorite side.
For one such VERY dedicated and talented player of the game, he received the ultimate opportunity. FC Baku in the Azerbaijani Premier League turned over their head coaching duties to 21-year old Vugar Guloglan oglu Huseynzade, a young man with no head coaching experience other than what he has learned while playing Football Manager.
As stated by sports business contributor Jed Hughes on Bleacher Report:
“Well, there’s a lot of pain in that locker room over there, a lot of emotion. I feel the same. I don’t think this is anything we saw coming.”
Those were the words of an emotional University of Akron head coach Caleb Porter following his Zips' suprise 5-4 loss on penalties to Creighton in the 2012 NCAA College Cup third round match at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes via an Akron 12th minute goal from 2012 Zips breakout star Reinaldo Brenes and a Creighton 83rd minute equalizer from Timo Pitter, neither team was able to find another goal after the two overtime periods. Despite outshooting the Bluejays 31-11 for the match and 11-2 in the extra periods, the Zips could not pull out the win. Their best chance came in the first overtime period when Akron was given a penalty after a Creighton handball in the box. Zips captain Scott Caldwell struck the ball well only to be foiled by a strong save from Creighton's keeper.
It was a surprising and abrupt end not only to the Zips’ incredible season but also to Porter’s seven years in Akron.
Though the match meant the end of this phase of Porter’s career and he will be met by an eager Timbers fan base excited for his time to begin in Portland, it was a loss that was definitely felt hard.
To put Porter’s accomplishments at UA in perspective, here’s some numbers to consider:
-He finished his Akron career with a seven-year record of 123-18-17
-During his watch, Akron posted the highest winning percentage among all Division I schools
-Porter led the Zips to the school's first team national championship in any sport in 2010 and became one of the fastest coaches in NCAA history to reach 100 career wins in 2011
-The Zips' 18 wins in 2012 included 16 shutouts
-Akron allowed just eight goals in 22 matches this year
Needless to say, Porter leaves behind a formidable legacy. The Akron Beacon Journal has a nice recap of the match as well as a photo gallery of the difficult night in Akron.
But Porter wasn’t the only Timbers connection in the match. The 12th seeded Creighton side that beat the Zips featured two Timbers U-23s players in senior co-captain Andrew Ribeiro—who assisted on the game-tying goal and converted his penalty kick in the shootout—as well US U-20s defender Eric Miller. The Bluejays now move on to face 4th seeded UConn.
That duo, along with Louisville’s Brock Granger, are the only remaining Timbers U-23s left in the tournament. The Cardinals eliminated Northwestern 2-1 on Sunday and next take on 2nd seeded Maryland in the Elite Eight.
For a full bracket of the tournament, visit NCAA.com.
Caleb Porter and the Akron Zips began their quest for the 2012 NCAA Championship with a 2-1 victory over the Univ. of Michigan Sunday afternoon in front of 3,264 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
Led by goals from Eric Stevenson (right) and Thomas Schmitt, the victory kept UA undefeated at home this season (10-0-1) as well as a perfect 6-0-0 against Big Ten schools. They have not lost at home in five years.
Porter spoke postgame about what it meant to win this game:
Senior Zips goalkeeper David Meves made four saves on the day and with a full 90 minutes on the pitch, he became the NCAA's all-time minutes leader with 8,498 over his four-year career. Meves already holds the NCAA the record for all-time shutouts.
The Akron Beacon Journal’s Marla Ridenour has a great profile on Meves. In her observations of the game, she wrote about a diving stop Meves made early in the match on a shot destined for the upper corner, “If keepers could fly, Meves had wings. ‘Yeah, I got up there a little bit,’ Meves admitted.”
Next up, on Nov. 25 Porter and the Zips host 12th seeded Creighton who defeated the University of Washington 4-2 yesterday in Omaha. Timbers U-23s Eric Miller (also a US U-20 national team member) and Andrew Ribeiro featured for the Jays in that match as did goalkeeper Spencer Richey who started for UW.
Tomorrow marks an entire day of high school soccer as all soccer classifications from 1A to 6A and from boys to girls will gather at two different fields in Hillsboro to crown a slew of Oregon state champions. With games kicking off as early as 10:30am you'll be able to see some of the top teams in the state battle it out at Hillsboro Stadium and Liberty High School:
@ Hillsboro Stadium
» 10:30am - 5A Girls - Sherwood vs. Summit
» 1pm - 5A Boys - Woodburn vs. Mountain View
» 3:30pm - 6A Girls - Thurston vs. Clackamas
» 6pm - 6A Boys - Lincoln vs. Jesuit
@ Liberty High School (Hillsboro)
» 10:30am - 3A/2A/1A Girls - Valley Catholic vs. Oregon Episcopal
» 1pm - 3A/2A/1A Boys - Riverdale vs. Oregon Episcopal
» 3:30pm - 4A Girls - Mazama vs. Gladstone
» 6pm - 4A Boys - Philomath vs. La Salle Prep
Lincoln High School--just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Timbers home field of JELD-WEN Field--will take on Jesuit in the 6A Boys championship at 6pm. The Cardinals had a wild ride to the final and if you want a taste of the fun and exuberance that is high school soccer, watch this postgame video filmed by Oregonlive.com after Lincoln defeated Clackamas in the semifinals on Tuesday night:
Tickets are only $8 for adults, $5 for students and can be purchased on-site at the stadium.
The opening matches of the 2012 NCAA College Cup tournament got underway today--Michigan State beat Cleveland State 2-1 while Virginia downed Lafayette 1-0--and there are numerous teams in the full field of 48 that are the beloved alma maters of Portland Timbers players:
Eric Alexander - Indiana University with the No. 16 seed
Freddie Braun - Louisville with the No. 10 seed
Bright Dike - Notre Dame with the No. 1 seed
David Horst - Old Dominion
Andrew Jean-Baptiste - UConn with the No. 4 seed
Jack Jewsbury - Saint Louis University with the No. 8 seed
Kosuke Kimura - Western Illinois
Darlington Nagbe - Univ. of Akron with the No. 5 seed (more on that in a bit)
Brent Richards - Univ. of Washington
Chris Taylor - Univ. of Tulsa with the No. 11 seed
Rodney Wallace - Univ. of Maryland with the No. 2 seed
Clearly, the college game is still churning out talent.
But in that mix of seeds, the placement of Akron at No. 5 did leave some scratching their heads. Future Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter's Zips finished ranked No. 1 on numerous national polls and yet still missed out on a Top 4 seed. While they will host their first match and possibly second, to get to the final four, they'll have to go on the road--most likely against UConn. Their seeding has drawn some questions--most noticably from the Akron Beacon Journal.
While Porter was a bit "ticked off," he's focused on winning the whole thing,“Once that wears off though, it is back to business. For me it comes down to we have to win five games to win the national championship. It just so happens the road could be a little tougher.”
(The initial post listed 10 mistakenly omitting Eric Alexander's Indiana. Thanks to @IUMensSoccer for the correction.)
The USMNT battled back to pull off a 2-2 draw with Russia in a friendly early this morning--well, early in Portland anyways. The draw was due in no small part to Roma midfielder Michael Bradley who scored this beautiful volley via Chivas USA's Juan Agudelo to pull the Americans even at 1-1:
But then Bradley also played this incredible ball forward in stoppage time that Mix Diskerud eventually got on the end of to pull off a miraculous draw:
Plus, don't forget, Timbers forward Bright Dike will be with Nigeria today as they take on Venezuela in Miami at 4:55pm PT on ESPN3.com and midfielder Franck Songo'o's Indomitable Lions of Cameroon take on Albania in Switzerland at 11:45am PT.