Portland soccer fans often have the opportunity for double features--sometimes even concurrent features--on the weekends when the Timbers and Thorns both have games. This weekend is no different, with the Timbers and Thorns both playing at 8pm on Saturday night.
In addition to two Portland matches, soccer fans are looking forward to the beginning of the Barclays Premier League season. It’s been a long three months since Manchester United took last season’s title and fans of the other 19 teams have been chomping at the bit for their shot at redemption. On the eve of a massive soccer weekend, we look ahead to the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season.
First thing is first. No team looks the same at the beginning of a new season. The Guardian has compiled a quick infographic to illustrate which clubs have made the most moves during the transfer window. Check it out here.
NBC Sports Network debuts their coverage of the EPL this weekend. They recently did an interesting "documentary" on the difference between football and . . . football with friends from Tottenham Hotspur.
On this side of the pond, our friends at KICKTV have debuted the first episode of KICKTV Live with Jimmy Conrad in which they addressed several headlines surrounding the BPL season. You can watch the full episode here:
Finally, NBC Sports’ Pro Soccer Talk can get you all caught up on everything you need to know heading into this season. Check out their preview here.
And, if you happen to be one of the few who doesn't yet have a favorite EPL club, Joe Posnanski from NBC Sports has you covered.
As you know, Portland Timbers team captain Will Johnson took part in last week's 2013 MLS All-Star Game activities in Kansas City. Over the course of the week, Johnson trained with fellow All-Stars, helped out at an MLS WORKS event and was part of the Starting XI in the All-Stars 3-1 loss to Serie A's AS Roma.
Late night host Jimmy Fallon took notice. Rather than go the traditional route of naming an MVP award, Fallon took a different tack:
NBC Sports Network debuts English Premier League soccer in just a few weeks.
The Backcut Podcast: Taylor Twellman on USMNT, Gold Cup, MLS & his organization Think Taylor. Also: Big Heads vs. Red Heads
Taylor Twellman. The very name evokes images of MLS Legend and flair as a 5-time MLS All-Star and 2005 MLS MVP who scored a whopping 101 goals in 174 matches for the New England Revolution.
Since retired, Twellman has become one of the top analysts for ESPN soccer broadcasts alongside Adrian Healey—you heard him this past weekend on the Timbers-FC Dallas match—as well as the equally opinionated Big Head to Alexi Lalas’ Red Head on the aptly named ESPN Big Head Red Head Podcast.
But Twellman has also become a leading spokesperson around increased awareness of and improved care around traumatic brain injuries through his foundation Think Taylor. During the course his time as a player, Twellman suffered a series of concussions that curtailed his soccer career. Think Taylor looks to help tell his story and provide a support system for athletes across all sports and ages who suffer concussions and their after effects.
I sat down with Twellman this past weekend to talk about his thoughts on the recent run of U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifiers that he has been covering for ESPN, how he thinks Jurgen Klinsmann will utilize this summer’s Gold Cup tournament in furthering development around the U.S. team and how the Think Taylor Foundation is changing people’s perceptions around concussions. We also discuss the three biggest stories in MLS so far (Spoiler: The Timbers are one of them) and renew the age old debate: Big Head vs. Red Head.
Be sure to tune in to tonight’s U.S. – Honduras match at 6pm on ESPN and don’t forget to get tickets for the USMNT when they come to JELD-WEN Field for the Gold Cup on July 9.
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.
After hearing about about Atticus and Green Machine's memorable Make-A-Wish 10-9 win over the Timbers, ESPN's legendary sportscaster and fellow cancer survivor Stuart Scott spoke on SportsCenter tonight about the game and announced it as the No. 1 ESPN Top 10 Play of the Day.
"That is my new hero: Atticus."
After a record breaking year, FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi won his fourth FIFA Ballon d'Or award today recognizing him as the best player on the planet.
But how did he get so good?
The venerable icon of broadcast television, CBS' 60 Minutes, takes a close look at the phenomena that is Barcelona and, in particular, they examine the strength of the legendary La Masia football academy that produced Messi. A rigorous institution, La Masia also produced Timbers midfielder Franck Songo'o who came up through the ranks with the likes of Messi, Gerard Pique, and others.
While the 60 Minutes treatment can be a bit simplistic to the experienced soccer-phile, there's no denying that is a unique look into one of the best soccer factories in the world.
Also of note is 60 Minutes' Overtime section where they talk about how they put this particular episode together. It gets a bit deeper into the how they brought it all together as well as how La Masia works and a bit on how MLS is developing their own academies:
Another exciting development at the FIFA award ceremony was U.S. national team women's striker Abby Wambach winning the Women's Ballon d'Or. It is the first time the award has been won by an American since Mia Hamm received it in 2002. Wambach was recently in Portland in November as the USWNT crushed the Republic of Ireland 5-0 in a friendly at JELD-WEN Field.
Will Bright Dike make his international debut tomorrow in Nigeria's friendly against Venezuela at Marlins Park in Miami? Watch the match online at ESPN3.com (4:55pm PT--certain cable subscriptions required) to find out.
Can't wait till then? Then be up and at 'em early tomorrow to watch the USMNT take on Russia on ESPN2 (7am PT). You can also watch the match stream on ESPN3.com. In the meantime, check out this USsoccer.com piece on Dutch-based American forward Jozy Altidore who made his way back into Jurgen Klinsmann's side for this upcoming friendly:
You may recognize the voice of Brian Dunseth as it has become fairly ubiquitous across the American soccer spectrum. A soccer analyst on NBC Sports, Fox Soccer—often paired with our very own John Strong—as well as on Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas games, Dunseth has become a keen observer of Major League Soccer which should come as little surprise given his long playing career in MLS.
The first ever signing to the Project 40 initiative in 1997—now more commonly known as Generation adidas—Dunseth went on to play for the New England Revolution, Miami Fusion, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, and Real Salt Lake. After his playing career ended, Dunseth got into broadcasting but also teamed up with his old college teammate from Cal State Fullerton, Ben Hooper, to start a clothing company called Bumpy Pitch that bridges soccer, culture, history, and style. That same theme led their foray into an online “magazine” of sorts called The Original Winger that collects stories about soccer, shoes, watches, fashion, movies, music, and more.
But Dunseth also has a unique affinity to Portland. In 2000, he was the captain of a loaded US Olympic U-23s team that featured the likes of Frankie Hejduk, Ben Olsen, Conor Casey, Danny Califf and Landon Donovan as well as Timbers Alumni Ambassador Adin Brown. The head coach of that team was none other than Timbers legend Clive Charles who had a defining impact on Dunseth as a player and as a person.
In this episode of the Backcut, we talk about soccer in Portland, the influence of Charles both on a personal level and on American soccer, and much more. It’s an illuminating and emotional conversation.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, 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.
The ambitious community outreach event known as Stand Together Week affected many non-profits and organizations across the city of Portland at the beginning of October. Close to 1,000 community volunteers, including 80 members of the Portland Timbers staff, coaches and players donated over 1,400 hours of service to the Portland community.
KPDX were at many of those events and tonight, Shauna Parsons and Wayne Garcia host a special about how the unique week all came together. There will be stories from across the various locations as well as an interview with Timbers COO Mike Golub about how and why the Timbers became involved and just what it meant to the Portland community.
Tune in at 9pm PT tonight on KPDX to watch and if you miss it, KPTV will air a repeat at 4pm PT on Nov. 4.
With the San Jose Earthquakes coming north to Portland on Saturday afternoon to take on the Timbers, their home field of Buck Shaw Stadium will hardly be quiet.
Timbers U-23s teammates Steven Evans and Erik Hurtado will find themselves on the opposite ends of that pitch as Evans' University of Portland Pilots travel south to battle the Santa Clara Broncos on the NSCAA Game of the Week on Fox Soccer at 7pm PT Friday night.
Evans has been having an excellent season in his junior campaign with two WCC Player of the Week Awards, 11 goals (a real stunner here) and two assists. The senior Hurtado has also been on fire with 11 goals and four assists for the Broncos as they look to win the WCC title and vie for an NCAA Conference berth.