By now, you've seen Off Pitch with Hermes. If you haven't, catch up. You may also be somewhat aware that Jimmy Conrad was here for the last time we played Seattle interviewing Merritt Paulson, chainsawing, joining the Timbers Army, going to Kicking + Screening Portland, and podcasting with the Backcut.
What you may not know is that somehow KICKTV got Hermes and Conrad together for a unique Portland mashup all about soccer in Oregon and the importance of Cascadia.
Here's the weird, wonderful and magical result:
There are Timbers fans everywhere. Portland, Gresham, Bend, New York, New Zealand.
Being a Timbers fan deep in Sounders territory is no easy feat. Do you wear your Timbers kit to Pike Place Market? How do you get down to JELD-WEN Field for games? Are there others out there like you?
We found one. However, he would only agree to an interview if we picked a pseudonym. Settling on the name "Mr. Pine"--chosen after the street of the same name that runs through both downtown Portland and Seattle--I spoke to him about the difficulties of rooting from afar, how often he gets down to Portland for games, and what it's like when the Timbers Army comes north to the Emerald City.
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 last time around we faced Seattle, the Portland Timbers helped host a unique event known as the Kicking + Screening Film Festival. Set to the theme of rivalry, K+S Portland had films exploring the USA-Mexico rivalry, the long battles between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, panels with directors, producers and our own Mike Fucito--who has been on both sides of the Portland-Seattle divide--and much more.
Missed this one? Never fear. Rumors abound that K+S will return in 2013. Moreover, you can have your own mini K+S Festival courtesy of KICKTV as they stream online the full versions of The Ref (El Árbitro), about the daily life of a soccer refereem and FC Barcelona Confidential, a film with unprecedented look into the first season of president Joan Laporta's reign as president at the Spanish giant.
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.
Darlington Nagbe has had a very busy couple of weeks. His former Univ. of Akron head coach, Caleb Porter, was named head coach of the Timbers. He had a camera crew follow him around for MLS 36 for NBCSports. He helped out with a special project with MLS Digital and EA Sports that will air soon. His jersey is one of the top selling kits in MLS. And he came in at #15 on the MLS 24 Under 24 list.
But Saturday presented a rare opportunity to reunited with an old friend in Seattle Sounders midfilder Steve Zakuani. Both teammates under Porter while at the Univ. of Akron, the two had yet to actually take the field with each other due to Zakuani's leg injury that had kept him on the shelf for almost a year.
In a great article on SoundersFC.com, Zakuani spoke about playing against a friend with whom he shares a long history:
“It was great, you know. Last year, I didn’t get to play against him, so this year it was just good seeing him out there, and getting the chance to go against him,” Nagbe said. “It was fun. We both had fun.”
Like Zakuani in 2010, Nagbe is having success in his second MLS season. Zakuani was tied for the team-lead with ten goals in 2010, while Nagbe has six goals for the Timbers with still six games left on the schedule.
The success comes as no surprise to Zakuani, who has been carrying the Nagbe flag for years.
“I’ve known Darlington for a very, very long time and always said he’s a great player. He’s maturing more and more,” Zakuani said. “I still think he has a long way to go, because I think he has so much quality. I was happy to, for the first time, play against him at this level. I wish him to continue to become a good player.”
Zakuani goes on to talk about his friendship--he'll be in Nagbe's wedding in the offseason--and says that he'd like to share the pitch with him some day again on the same side:
“He’s someone I like to always look out for and I wish him to keep playing the way he’s playing right now,” Zakuani said. “I wish maybe one day in the future we can play again together. But at this point he is with Portland and I’m with Seattle.
The Akron roots run deep for many players across MLS. Nagbe was reunited with with another former Zip and close friend, Teal Bunbury, earlier this season both for an adidas commercial and on the field. Moreover, wunderkind Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks, yet another former Akron teammate of Nagbe's, tweeted today about his thoughts on Nagbe's inclusion in the 24 Under 24 list.
@darlingtonnagbe should be in the top 5 easily for 24 under 24. Just saying
— Darren Mattocks (@DarrenMattocks) September 17, 2012
Perhaps the biggest moment of all was Conrad actually attending the Cascadia Cup showdown between the Timbers and Seattle Sounders at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday. There were bagpipes, there was facepaint, there was yelling and as part of his indoctrination to the experience, Conrad became a full fledged member of the Timbers Army, No Pity scarf and all.
If you were watching the Timbers 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Wednesday night, you may have noticed Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy not with the team. This was due to both men being away with their respective national teams as Purdy was with El Salvador and Palmer with Jamaica. With both national teams matching up against one another Wednesday evening at RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington D.C., there was a unique Timbers intrasquad rivalry at play with Palmer’s Jamaica beating Purdy’s El Salvador 2-0.
Palmer and Purdy both started and played the full 90 minutes battling against one another. Jamaica’s midfielder Luton Shelton would give The Reggae Boyz the win as he put two goals into the back of the net. Now not only does Palmer have a little bit of bragging rights here in Portland, but he also gets a nice home cooked meal of his choice made by Purdy due to a bet placed earlier on Twitter.
This past Sunday, Purdy and La Selecta took to the pitch in the first of their two matches this week as they played Guatemala to a 1-0 victory at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Purdy started and played the full 90 minutes while teammate Nelson Bonilla scored the only goal of the game in the 28th minute to give the Central Americans a boost ahead of the next round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Jamaica will play Kenya next in a friendlyl on Aug. 25 followed by a World Cup qualifier against the U.S. on Sept. 11 in Columbus. El Salvador will play Guyana in a World Cup Qualifier on Sept. 7.
RECAP in Spanish: La Prensa Grafica – El Salvador lost 0-2 against Jamaica
Timbers teammates Lovel Palmer and Steve Purdy are in the interesting situation this week of coming face-to-face with each other on the pitch far from JELD-WEN Field. Both players were called up to their respective national teams--Palmer for Jamaica and Purdy for El Salvador--to take part in an international friendly on Wednesday, August 15 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. at 5pm PT.
As both players are quite active on Twitter, the chatter began after Purdy's La Selecta beat Guatemala 1-0 in a friendly Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. Palmer noticed the win and tweeted a question about having a friendly wager for this week's match.
@spurdy25 congrats on the win against guatemala. Tweeps what you think the bet should be wednesday night when JA play El salvador.
— Lovel Palmer (@palmerboy30) August 13, 2012
After some good-natured jibes back and forth the best idea was presented by a fan: The loser must make the winner dinner.
— Steven Purdy (@spurdy25) August 13, 2012
Now with both teams training in D.C., the two have run into each other as part of the preparations.
— Lovel Palmer (@palmerboy30) August 14, 2012
— Steven Purdy (@spurdy25) August 14, 2012
While the game does not count in any CONCACAF standings anywhere, it should present a great tune-up ahead of September's World Cup qualifiers. And for one of two Timbers teammates, it means a hearty meal and bragging rights.
Begun in 2009 in New York City—the center for all things independent film-related—the Kicking + Screening Film Festival set out to merge the art of the beautiful game with the art of cinema. Branching out to satellite editions in Washington, DC, Houston, North Adams, Mass., London, Amsterdam and, most recently, Liverpool, K+S presents films that examine the culture of soccer both on and off the field.
And now, they bring their cinematic and pitch artistry to Portland.
Arriving September 13-14, K+S Portland, presented by KickTV and presented in partnership with the Portland Timbers, takes on the theme of “rivalry” all in the build-up to Saturday’s Sept. 15 Cascadia Cup clash between Portland and Seattle (NBC, 12:30pm PT).
Along with the two headlining films, Argentina Fútbol Club—about the battles between Boca Juniors & River Plate—as well as Gringos At The Gate—a look into the U.S.A-Mexico soccer border clash—K+S Portland will also feature panels, gatherings, and all kinds of other engaging events.
With the Timbers looking ahead to Saturday's match with Colorado Rapids (6pm PT, KPDX TV, Timbers Television Network; 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940), many corners of the media are still talking about the incredible environment on display last Sunday in Portland's 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.
The Portland Business Journal took a look at how MLS worked to promote the game on a national scale and how they're looking to further expand rivalries across the league.
Today, The Guardian in England published a great examination of the constant game of tifo one-upsmanship between the Timbers Army and Seattle's Emerald City Supporters. With the Timbers Army's massive banner fresh in Portland fan's minds, Graham Parker writes,
[As] the latest banner was raised, and the latest visual gauntlet laid down, it was hard not to respect the sheer dedication and commitment the Timbers Army had put in to honoring one of their club legends [Clive Charles] this Sunday, whatever the origins of the art form in the US. Multiple hundreds of hours of labor go into producing an image that may appear only momentarily, but that has the potential to leave an indelible memory.
Speaking of the hundreds of hours of work put into creating the tifo, be sure to watch this Friday's June 29 Timbers in 30 (6:30pm PT, Fox 12 Oregon) as they'll have a special behind-the-scenes look into how the latest banner was constructed.
The Sporting News sent ace soccer writer Brian Straus here on Sunday to cover the Cascadia Cup battle. Calling the rivalry "among the most intense in American sport," Straus goes in-depth to try to figure out why our corner of the country has bred such an undying competition between the two communities. Comparing the Portland-Seattle clash to other rivalries from around the world doesn't quite work as its roots lie in a different area.
The Glasgow neighbors are divided by religion -- the Protestants support Rangers and the Catholics back Celtic. Elsewhere around the world, great (and occasionally violent) soccer rivalries revolve around politics, economics or geography. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s about civic identity.
Want to know more about how that civic identity operates within the larger ideal of what the very term "Cascadia" means? Portland Monthly's Martin Patail goes behind the deeper concept of the term and how "The Doug"--the green-white-blue flag with the massive Doug Fir emblazoned in the center that can be seen flying at all matches between Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver--is really part of a bigger discussion about a region's "independent state of mind."
It's clear the Cascadia ideal and rivalry therein--be it on the field or off--is stronger than ever.