Portland Timbers take on League Leading Vancouver Whitecaps - The Offside

Bob Kellett

If you were a doctor trying to cure the Portland Timbers current goal scoring maladies, your prescription would probably not include sending the team on a trip to Swangard Stadium for a game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Over the years Swangard has been a veritable graveyard for the Timbers’ hopes and dreams. Portland’s record at Vancouver is a dismal 1-11-1. It won’t be easy this year, either. Vancouver enters Saturday’s contest on top of the USL-1 table. The Whitecaps defense has been nothing short of impressive. We’re talking Portland 2007 impressive. The Caps have allowed just three goals in nine games. They have won three straight. They haven’t given up a goal in 263 minutes. They beat the Timbers 1-0 at PGE Park just a few weeks back. This doesn’t look very promising for the boys in green and white.

Taking credit for other people’s work
Long-time reader, frequent commenter, and all-around super guy Jon (that ain’t his really name) confirms what we all know about this 2008 USL-1 season: teams are struggling to score.

Here are some figures from the just finished season in a few of the top division Euro leagues…

Spain: 2.81 goals/game
England: 2.64
Italy: 2.55

Compare that with USL1 so far this season: 1.84 goals/game (after 50 games played so far). MLS this season is at 2.84 per game (after 71 games), exactly one more goal per game than we see in USL.

Friendlies, friendlies, friendlies
We know the Timbers will play Juventus Primavera on June 14 and Monarcas Morelia on July 3. Apparently a couple more friendlies are scheduled in July with July 26 being a date to keep open (unless you are my wife and are already scheduled to fly to Malaysia with me that day). I also have heard that the Timbers may be playing on the road against a Northwest PDL team in an exhibition in early July. And there are those rumors about a game in Boise on July 6. This is getting crazy. Stay tuned…

First we take on Hollywood United and then the world
If the Portland Timbers defeat Hollywood United on June 10 in the US Open Cup (a big IF considering their current form), the team will play the winner of the Seattle Sounders-Arizona Sahuaros game in the second round on June 24. The game against Seattle would be in Tukwilia. The game against the Sahuaros - an extremely large treelike cactus of desert regions of southwestern United States having a thick columnar sparsely branched trunk bearing white flowers and edible red pulpy fruit - would be at PGE Park.

The game against Hollywood United, by the way, will be broadcast on USL Live. It won’t be live, but it will be on demand after it is finished. Bruce of The 107 Report fame and some tosser named Bob Kellett will be your broadcast announcers. And, yes, I do plan on smoking a carton of cigarettes and shooting up with testosterone before the match so that I don’t sound like a pubescent boy in heat.

Being Gavin Wilkinson
Boy, it sure does suck to be in Gavin’s brain today. Nothing has worked this season and Vancouver is a mighty tough place to play. Too bad that visa situation has been sorted out. This would be a great game to not be allowed to travel across the border. Magic 8 Ball sez:

James
S. Thompson Knowles J. Thompson Griffin
Brown Gregor Higgins Guante
Suzuki Jordan

Bryan Jordan will be available for this one and based on his performance on Thursday I think the Timbers will spend most of the bus ride to Vancouver trying to clone him. The fact he will be missing a Galaxy game that evening makes me hopeful he might stick around a little longer. At least I hope that is the case. I also am hoping for: world peace, a Thighmaster for my birthday, a fridge that is always full of beer, and the possibility of actually watching this game on USL Live (there’s a decent chance I’ll miss it and you’ll miss out on my post-game bitching analysis. Here’s a tissue. Wipe away those tears).