So you may have heard there was some snow in Denver tonight for the USA vs. Costa Rica Hex World Cup Qualifier. Dempsey gave the U.S. the 1-0 win.
With the U.S. Men's National Team busy preparing for their World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica tomorrow night (7pm PT, ESPN), KICKTV has put together this very nice primer on just what the Hexagonal is. In short, it's the long and difficult pathway for CONCACAF teams to qualify for the World Cup.
Elsewhere in the Hex, Timbers forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts go to battle for Jamaica as they take on Panama in Kingston on Friday evening at 6:30pm PT. Updates throughout the match can be found via the Jamaican Football Federation's Twitter feed @ItsTheJFF.
Over in Africa, Futty Danso joined the Scorpions of The Gambia National Team for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday against Ivory Coast. In a tune-up friendly this week against Niger, Danso scored the second goal in a 3-1 win.
Also in action tomorrow is Timbers midfielder Will Johnson whose Canadian Men's National Team is in Qatar for a friendly against Japan.
Good afternoon from the Doha Sports City in Qatar. The facilities are immaculate. twitter.com/WillJohnson04/…
— Will Johnson (@WillJohnson04) March 19, 2013
Follow @CanadaSoccerEN for updates tomorrow beginning at 9am PT.
The Backcut Podcast: Oregonian's Geoffrey C. Arnold and his new book on the Portland-Seattle rivalry
As a Portland Timbers fan, there's really nothing like attending a rivalry match against the Seattle Sounders. It is fierce, visceral, loud, spirited, entertaining, awe-inspiring . . . and that's just the first ten minutes of the supporters groups' tifo unveiling.
The battle on the field can raise the stakes to a whole other level. This Saturday's clash between the Timbers and Sounders (Mar. 16, 5pm PT, NBC Sports Network, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940) culminates an entire day of Rivalry Week intensity. NBC Sports Network will air three of the games and have a special highlight show during the afternoon jumping from each of the other matches around the league.
This emphasis on MLS rivalries has grown each year but the Portland-Seattle clash has proved to be a premier event. And no wonder. The uniqueness of this soccer animosity goes back nearly 40 years skipping across NASL, USL and MLS editions of both teams.
Oregonian sports writer Geoffrey C. Arnold is the paper's primary Timbers and soccer beat writer. Covering Oregon sports for over twenty years, Arnold has attended MLS Cup, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, and much more. But it was the 2009 U.S. Open Cup match between the then USL-era Timbers and the then first-year MLS Sounders that piqued his interest around this loud and incredible rivalry. He set out to find more about the heros and villains, interviewed players past and present, examined the art of the tifo and much more. The result: Cascadia Clash: Sounders vs. Timbers.
On the eve of this next installment of the Cascadia Cup Portland-Seattle rivalry, I sat down with Arnold to find out more how he started his book, why he thinks such conflicth exists between the teams, supporters, and cities, and where he thinks the rivalry will be headed to next.
Be sure to sit back and take in all the league's rivalry matches throughout the day.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.
Earlier this week in the UEFA Champions League, Turkish side Galatasaray traveled to Germany to take on Schalke. It was a crucial encounter that Galatasaray eventually won 3-2 to move on to the quarterfinals. Their rabid fan base traveled en masse and though the away section was overflowing, there were reports of supporters attempting to carve a tunnel under the fence to get in.
According to The Guardian, "(Schalke Sporting Director Hans) Heldt confirmed the incident before the game, which ended with a 4-3 aggregate victory for the Turkish club, saying: "Yes, that's right. Some supporters have tried to dig a tunnel with their bare hands."
While we applaud the devotion of the traveling Galatasaray fans, for those of you who are contemplating heading north to watch the Portland Timbers begin their defense of the Cascadia Cup in a battle with the Seattle Sounders, all you have to do is get on the bus.
The 107 Independent Supporters Trust--the organizing group of the Timbers Army--is handling all Seattle Away day travel. Tickets are still available for public purchase and include a bus trip and game ticket option to get you there or just a ticket-only option if you want to drive yourself.
They're going fast but you can get yours now by visiting the 107ist.org site here. What are you waiting for?
"Communication, it's everything, on and off the field," Valeri says. "We go on the road and we can't learn. I want to start this month. I have coaching, an English teacher. She teaches me words and sentences, but I want to start. I want to watch films and read books. Only English."
If you want to learn more about what drives new Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri, why he came to MLS ("It's grown. I find a team, a club, MLS, that is spectacular"), how his family is settling into Portland (he's taken his four-year-old daughter, Constanza, to the zoo), how he's bonding with his teammates (he roomed with team captain Will Johnson in Tucson preseason), and how the Argentine is trying harder than ever to bring his English up to the same speed as his silky moves on the pitch (see above), then you must read this excellent feature by Brian Gjurgevich in this week's Portland Mercury. Grab a copy on your nearest street corner to save the artwork and read the piece online right here.
Vince and his family were recipients of the Spread the Love welcome packet for the March 9th match against Montreal.
We asked Vince a few questions about his experience at the match with his son Shaun and two daughters Alexis and McKenna:
What is your relationship to the Spread the Love ambassador?
“Suite Sue” Simpson was our ambassador. She actually gave the “welcome” packet to Neal Harrington, who unfortunately was unable to attend the match due to a last minute work conflict. In turn, Neal really embraced the “Spread the Love” mantra and shared the packet with my family.
What were you most looking forward to about attending a Timbers match?
We had never been to a Timber's game before so anticipation was high on what to expect. The kids really wanted to see Timber Joey!
What was your favorite part of the match?
The kids enjoyed watching how the game was played, the intricacies of the sport and how quickly and skillfully the players moved on and around the field.
Have you ever been to a match? If so, what was the last time you attended?
No, this was the first Timber's game we had been to. It was cool experience and very exciting.
What was your reaction when you received the "welcome" packet?
It was great - we were excited about everything. We were all very excited that we had an opportunity to go!
Interested in nominating a deserving fan? You can, here. Recipients will be selected shortly for the two Timbers home matches in April.
Timbers Academy co-director wrapped up his trip to France as part of a special MLS partnership with the French Football Federation. After partaking in a number of classes at the FFF's Clarefontaine national training center, Smith was able to spend some time with Ligue 1's Paris St. Germain to observe their academy system.
The PSG website had an article about the Smith and the other MLS Academy coaches (FRENCH) but Smith's time there also included some opportunities to see the French club's first team in action as well as their dramatic UEFA Champions League victory over Spain's Valencia:
Started observation week at PSG and got tickets to see their away game at Reims who were near bottom of the French table. PSG lost 1-0 to 10 men. Great atmosphere of sell out 25,000 but not like JELD-WEN!
Met with the PSG Academy Director and head coaches and watched their U19 and U17’s train today. There was a unique session for 30 minutes on the beach soccer court they have next to their field to help improve their team strength. Today was the only day of the week that they do daily double, which was interesting to see the workload.
In between sessions we got to tour their residential facility and eat lunch in their player’s cafeteria. Tomorrow we are heading back to their regional training center to see the U15 Parisian Region play which includes 8 PSG players and 3 players from Clairefontaine--French Federation Residency program.
After that, we are heading to the Champions League game, PSG v Valencia! It has been an incredible trip so far and very worthwhile.
Big matches mean big tifo and this Saturday's Cascadia Cup rivalry match between Portland and Seattle should be no different (5pm PT, NBC Sports, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940). MLSsoccer.com takes a look at some of the past iterations of Portland and Seattle supporter-created tifo.
Wear headphones. Turn volume up to 11. Watch the video.
Sometimes that which is local goes global. This is particularly true of the culture of soccer and how it can reach around the world. For the Timbers and their fans, there is a special bond between supporter and club. One area where this is particularly true is how many Portland season ticket holders reach out to the club via their season ticket holder services representative to share their stories about their travels and experiences as a fan.
Case in point: season ticket holder Sean Ingersoll reached out to Timbers ticket services manager Leigh Calvert about his travels in Africa with some great pictures; pictures that had a particular Cascadian bent. An avid soccer player himself, Ingersoll and his friends have often challenged themselves to play soccer in remote environments. And when I say remote, I mean places like, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
Ingersoll picks up the story:
Some friends and I decided it would be fun to go to Tanzania and climb Kilimanjaro. We have all played on the same GPSD adult soccer team, FC77 Rangers, and we try to play soccer in some unique environments. In 2010 we climbed to the top of South Sister and had a 3v3 match in the snow-filled crater at 10,300’…which was awesome. This year we decided to go to Africa and climb the mountain with Zara Tours, maybe even kick a ball around on the top. Zara sponsors several charity projects in Tanzania, including an orphanage in Moshi. We thought it would be a decent gesture to bring some school supplies and soccer gear so we passed the word around to our kid’s soccer teams, friends, co-workers and the effort just exploded. I think we collected over 250 lbs. of paper, notebooks, pens, 50-ish pairs of used and new soccer boots, balls, pumps, socks, etc. So we paid for the extra baggage and shipped all of the goods with us to Tanzania for the kids at the orphanage. We met the kids and teachers--it was an incredible experience.
In the top picture, Jim Snyder and I are both from Portland and Timbers fans. My buddy Shawn Mulqueeney is from Issaquah and is a Sounders fan. I suggested we bring our scarves for a summit picture and he agreed that would be fun. About two days into the climb, we got out a soccer ball and invited the porters to kick around with us (middle picture). The elevation was 12,800’. What was amazing about that was the mood of the climb seemed to change after that, from clients/porters to friends. Ah, the power of football. We summited on the third day, got out the scarves, and proved that Cascadia has the best and most hard-core soccer fans around. I did have a ball in my summit pack, but I could barely lift my foot more than 3” to take the next step, much less juggle or head a ball. One kick and I’m certain it would have rolled all the wall back down to the Kenyan border! So we hung out with the glaciers for about twenty minutes, took our pictures, and came back down.
Between stoking a rivalry around the world as well as making a difference in a foreign community, Ingersoll is clearly having an impact. Got a story of your own Timbers fandom from around the world? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday’s featured Portland Timbers Food Cart Alliance member is Nong’s Khao Man Gai. Nong’s will be serving their signature chicken and rice dish with their famous ginger/soybean chili sauce as well as fried chicken wings smothered in Nong’s sweet chili glaze at the Soccer City Grill concession stand located in JELD-WEN Field's southeast corner above Section 93.
But beyond all the delicious food, soccer holds a special place in the heart of Nong. Originally from Thailand, she talks about her love of soccer and excitement at being a part of a Timbers match:
I grew up playing soccer. I was a foward. Soccer is very big in Thailand, not very big for women but I could not get in other kinds of sports teams. Training for soccer has changed my life and how I look at sports. It has taught me so much as a person. Portland is a great city with a variety of people. I want the Timbers fans to experience some really good food from Bangkok. We use good ingredients and strive to be the best. We all have something in common: we love soccer!
Interested in being part of the Portland Timbers Food Cart Alliance? Apply today.