With October upon us, MLS is once again launching their Soccer Kicks Cancer campaign to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer awareness and treatment.
What this means is the return of the pink balls, special pink MLS W.O.R.K.S. ribbon patch on every player kit, pink shoelaces, pink sweatbands, and more--potentially even pink goalkeeping gloves. All 19 clubs are participating and there will be limited edition Breast Cancer Awareness gear available as well.
Additionally, there will be an auction of the pink match balls and game-worn gear on MLSSoccer.com/works starting on October 15.
Learn more about the whole event here.
Yes, you can get your own Darlington Nagbe FIFA 13 cover. But did you know that among his many talents, he and Diego Chara are also expert surgeons?
The Chicago Fire help in an office while the San Jose Earthquakes show the dangers of two yellow cards and Sporting Kansas City explains the importance of player substitution in this new series of spots promoting Soccer 101 and the spectacular FIFA 13.
Want more Nagbe? Be sure to watch him on MLS 36 tomorrow at 4:30pm PT on NBC Sports Network.
— Sal Zizzo (@SalZizzo) September 25, 2012
Just picked up fifa. Hope everybody enjoyed their headstart.
— Andrew Jean-Baptiste (@ajeanbaptiste92) September 25, 2012
Heck, even @SnoopLion has.
For soccer fans and video games and all the fans in between, today is a particularly exciting day as it marks the release of EA Sports' FIFA 13. You can join in the fun with a special custom Portland Timbers Darlington Nagbe cover to insert on your copy.
Be on the lookout too for a special Nagbe and Diego Chara FIFA 13 promo video coming up in the near future as well.
What are you waiting for? Get playing.
-Visit this special Flickr album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/easportsfifa/8023605019/in/set-72157631621283005
-Then right click on image, select "Medium 640"
-Then click "Download the Medium 640 size of this photo" above the image
-That size will fit inside your copy of FIFA 13 though there are other larger versions available for download as well.
FIFA 2013 released Tuesday morning and is now available in stores and online.
Bright Dike's second half 61st minute header against Real Salt Lake may not have been enough for the win Saturday night but it was a tremendous display of skill. Check out MLSsoccer.com's special goal GoPro camera capturing the moment.
Dike's got hops.
If you want to see just how close we came to scoring on two other shots only to be stopped by crack RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, you can see his saves here (Warning: RSL's goals included in this collection too).
This one is for all the marbles.
The Portland Timbers head north to take on the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 7 at 6pm PT. Currently sitting atop the three-team standings for the Cascadia Cup between the Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Sounders, the Timbers could return home with the coveted cup if they draw or win at CenturyLink Field.
Unable to make it north for #SeattleAway? Do not fret, we'll be hosting a big bash at one of our esteemed Timbers Pub Partners but we want your help in deciding where. Vote on the poll at right to have your say about who should host and where you'll want to be when you watch this historic match.
The poll ends September 26 at 5pm PT.
Starting this Saturday, September 22 when the Timbers play Real Salt Lake (5pm PT NBC Sports, KXL Radio / La Pantera 940), fans will be able to receive automated text, score alerts on their phones. The free service (standard messaging rates may apply per your cellular provider) includes automated alerts for goals and red cards, as well as notifications for kickoff, halftime and the end of the match. The service is for all first-team matches and will send messages in real time.
You can sign up now; just text ALERT to 27299 to join.
In his latest Throw-in column for MLSsoccer.com, Jonah Freedman opines on how a precedent can set up a team's expectations. Whether it's the Cascadia Cup, Brimstone Cup, Trillium Cup, MLS Cup, U.S. Open Cup or more, Freedman posits that no matter the silverware, these trophies matter. They can help define, or at the very least, begin to define the direction a team aims to take. Given how close the Timbers are to winning this year's Cascadia Cup in what has been a difficult season, Freedman asks,
So what are fans supposed to make of these trophies? For Portland, it’s a sign of progress, a symbol of success upon which they can hang their hats in their second MLS season. It is perhaps a springboard to future glory, when a young team with a young coach can do great things as they evolve.
Former MLS'er, US international, and KICKTV host Jimmy Conrad who did such great work at Euro 2012 and the recent Mexico-USA friendly at Azteca, goes on location to examine the Portland-Seattle rivalry, the Kicking + Screening Film Festival and more. First up, he goes one on one with Timbers owner and president Merritt Paulson.
More to come as KICKTV goes through the huge Cascadia Cup clash.
Lies, damn lies, and statistics: How adidas' miCoach could change MLS (plus a cameo from Jean-Baptiste)
The Backcut has talked about the growing importance of statistics in soccer before. Manchester City is busy crowd sourcing ideas by releasing reams of stats from last year's campaign while MLS has already made much of the same information available through their excellent Matchcenter Chalkboard.
But now none other than the immenent tech geek bible Wired takes a look at the new adidas tech wizardry behind their new miCoach system and its potential impact on the league through their excellent Playbook blog.
Starting off at the 2012 MLS Combine in Florida, the article talks about how a number of draft eligible players taking part in drills and scrimmages--Portland's eventually drafted Andrew Jean-Baptiste among them--were outfitted with prototype miCoach trackers that fed information about speed, location, heart rate and more.
It’s far flashier than such antiquities as a timed 40, but not much different in that the athletic attributes it measures have little to do with sport-specific skills like, say, passing the ball.
Still, proper dribbling technique is more easily taught than absurd acceleration through a defensive alignment, which is why University of Connecticut defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste started turning so many heads.
Jean-Baptiste was among those participating in the miCoach trial ahead of a league-wide rollout next season. As four Adidas reps roamed the sideline holding iPads displaying real-time readings from the field, coaches and team officials filtered by with raised eyebrows and the occasional question. Everything was proceeding as expected until Jean-Baptiste took off on a sprint across the pitch and his measurements exploded.
“Ten to 12 teams’ staff people crowded around me at once,” said Jan Mueller, a manager for the miCoach line. “They were watching intently, and then began asking a lot of questions.”
Given the long established importance of statistics in sports such as football, baseball and basketball, MLS is looking to push the envelope as to what kind of stats become more important for soccer. And not just for coaches and players, but for fans as well. The aforementioned Chalkboard feature is already readily available for fans and writers alike to breakdown certain elements of a game with heat maps, pass completion rates, shot locations and more.
miCoach adds another layer into the player performance aspect by breaking down individual elements to a very specific level. And while much of that in-game analysis of miCoach may not be something that fans will have immediate access to, MLS Digital general manager Chris Schlosser says in the article, “We’re working on what we feel like is a game-changer in the digital match experience — a whole new way for consumers to experience the game."
And even coaches who are intrigued with the possibilities of what miCoach could bring to the table such as Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth, there's still a belief that not everything seen on a computer screen tells you everything you need to know about a player.
“We’ve always had lies, damned lies and statistics,” said Timbers assistant coach Amos Magee. “For example, just because a guy is covering a lot of ground, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s smart running or that he’s in the right place at the right time. That’s a statistic that needs to come with experience. So some of these measurements are going to be useful, but some aren’t. We’ll just have to see which ones fill a void.”
In that capacity, miCoach readings will fit right in with the rest of soccer’s statistics. There’s another school of thought, however, that presents an even warier eye.
“Soccer is so much art, and art is impossible to measure, like music or dance or paintings,” said Hackworth. “The beauty of our sport is that there are so many creative, imaginative and skillful moments, and you’ll never be able to truly quantify that.”
It's a fascinating read about some great tools MLS is leading the way with. Read the whole piece here.
How do you see the focus on statistics changing the game? Let us know in the comments below or send us a note at thebackcut(at)portlandtimbers.com
The Oceania Football Confederation--home federation for New Zealand Football--wrote a nice piece about new Timbers signing Ian Hogg recently that makes for a good read. A starter in all three matches for the Oly Whites at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Hogg played alongside Jake Gleeson who was also a member of the team.
"I'm just looking to take any opportunities I get given," said Hogg. And with Timbers GM/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson and assistant coach Cameron Knowles also being veterans of the All Whites New Zealand national team, Portland has a growing Kiwi contingent.
Read the article here.
The article refers to Hogg's first goal in his senior national team debut during a friendly against El Salvador earlier this spring in Houston. It's a pretty quick run down the left flank that leads to a confident strike. See it here (Fast foward to the 29:41 mark, commentary in Spanish).
Then watch Hogg's first training with the team from last week.