In The Cold Light Of Day: Portland Turn Up Heat

The only thing that wasn’t hot in Portland on Saturday evening was the Whitecaps performance.

It’s got to the stage now where there’s not really any point in analysing what went wrong with the Caps any more.

Well, it probably got to that stage many weeks ago if we’re being honest. We all know where it’s going wrong, both on and off the pitch. I’m sure even Tom Soehn does. He must have a mirror in his house after all.

It’s all just depressing and with only nine games remaining, further critiquing of our weaknesses and what we need to fill those gaps are as fruitless as an orange tree in the Arctic.

I just can’t wait for this MLS season to (officially) end and then for the new U18 and U16 ones to start. At least when they lose, you know they’ve learned a lot from the game and will move on from that and develop.

All we’ll say on the game is that how we came away with just a one goal defeat is baffling. Another four goal drubbing looked on the cards, with the defence looking like their footballing brains had melted in the heat, but yet, if we’d pulled a goal back a little earlier, we could have salvaged the most unlikely point we would have earned since Kansas City in game three.

Dominating possession at times counts for nothing if you don’t actually do anything with the ball in front of the net. As John Spencer said post game, they were comfortable knowing we had the ball in front of them, as we posed no danger with it.

So with that said, let’s look at everything else from the Portland weekend.

What an amazing turnout from Caps fans. We brought 50 or so for previous Portland playoff games in D2 in recent years, and that was always a blast, but with those numbers on Saturday and the roof to help the noise, what a loud and fantastic atmosphere we generated. A far cry from the midweek game last season when there were three of us!

Most of us were on the same songbook but there were some logistical problems that need to be looked at.

The Timbers FO didn’t want General Admission and that’s fair enough. Their home, their rules.

That is why it is imperative that tickets for Whitecaps get allocated in a proper way, especially if they are to be trusted to a company like Uselessglobe (who, as one fan counted, had an embarrassingly small number travelling down on their bus).

People need to be sat together with their friends. Older couples and people that want to just sit and quietly watch the game, should not have to endure being sat next to a drummer.

Sort out stuff like that and it’s a win-win for everyone. It was pretty much all good on the day, bar a few minor grumps, but it would be so much easier if this was all taken care of beforehand.

Also what was the deal with sitting a bunch of Timbers fans at the front of the upper 222 section? Mostly family types and a number of kids from what seemed like a school or a camp. Who sold them those seats? Were these unsold tickets sent back by Uniglobe? And whether they were unsold tickets or separately allocated tickets, why were they taking up premier real estate in the Vancouver section?

I sincerely hope these weren’t unsold tickets from Uniglobe and that tickets were allocated from the back down.

The travelling blue and white hordes all seemed to have a great time down there, with many tales of how accommodating the Timbers Army were, something that those of us that have made previous trips already know, love and admire. Everyone seemed well behaved, with praise coming from security on the Southsiders forum. It was nice to have security with a full understanding of what a football crowd is all about and how to deal with them. BC Place should send their security down there and Seattle to take in a game. Too late for the PNE numpties.

Rival fans mingled before, during and after both Saturday first team game and Sunday’s reserve game, without incidents. Many Southsiders went to a Punk concert post-game and pogoed the night away with TWO rival supporters groups – Portland’s Timbers Army and Victoria Highlander’s Lake Side Buoys, the latter of whom had made their way down as friends of the TA.

The concert was a benefit for long time TA member Abe, to help fund some medical costs he incurred. The true spirit of Cascadian fans right there.

It was a long journey down to Portland for many. The Southsiders bus got caught up in border traffic for over three hours on Saturday morning. Going back was even more horrendous for some, with two hour border waits to get back into Canada at Peace Arch and Pacific Highway. I thankfully chose to go via Abbotsford, but even with that half hour wait, a couple of horrible heavy traffic delays between Olympia and Seattle and a blown headlight to be fixed meant a nine hour return journey, an 11.15pm arrival home and getting up this morning at 4.30am for work!

So why do we do it? Why do we spend so much time, money and effort to go and watch two games and two defeats?

Because we love our team and we will support them through thick and thin. Or thin and thinner, as it is this year.

That’s not to say that we’re going to follow them like blind mice or like sheep. We’ll criticise, and rightly so. Some criticism will come in veiled ways, like the singing of “Teitur Tots” or “Martin Rennie’s Blue and White Army”. The increasing amount of Scottish saltires that will be coming out to the next few games will remind us that Tommy’s days, as manager at least, are numbered.

Rennie may or may not turn out to be the great white hope that we’re wanting, but at least it’s a change and right now, the more changes behind the scenes and on the pitch the better.

Having the double header with the reserve game on Sunday was particularly fantastic and helped make the trip even better.

Even though we saw two defeats, there were two very different team performances. The reserves had fight and gusto and were clearly devastated at their late collapse. Sitting in my hotel room on Sunday morning, watching highlights from the feisty Sunderland-Newcastle game the day before, it struck me that some of the players should watch these games to know how they should contest a derby.

Despite being down about the actual game, what needs to be instilled into our players right now is that they can still win the Cascadia Cup. Two victories at home and it’s ours.

If that can’t lift them, then they may as well start packing their bags now.

[*** You can see AFTN’s pictures from both Saturday’s MLS game and Sunday’s Reserve League game on our FLICKR account ***]
Authored by: Michael McColl

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. JES at 15:31

    Good to see the anti-TS flag is up and running in full force. But it must becoming increasingly clear to even the most delusional anti-TS critic that the problem runs much deeper than TS. They know that Martin Rennie is watching video of all of the games (& probably the training sessions too). They know that they are playing for their jobs/contracts/soccer careers. Some of these players know that if they do not pick up their socks they will be playing in D2 (or lower!) next year Yet this is the best effort that they can put forward!

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