Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

And several months of a game wearing me out (when I'm not even PLAYING it) begin...

Soccer causes screaming and swearing. It also causes cringing, yelling, whooping, and (you hope) cheering. The Timbers began its third major league season tonight, and I did all of those except the swearing, and trust me, I'll swear plenty this season. I listened to the radio play-by-play of the opener against the New York Red Bulls -- the first major-league season opener when the Timbers weren't getting rained on, by the way -- and, like many sports fans, I rode on a roller coaster without ever leaving the ground. A deflating goal by the Red Bulls within 9 minutes of starting -- making Jeld-Wen Field and the 20,000-plus people in it deeply quiet -- was answered in minutes by one of the earliest goals the Timbers have managed at home. Single points can make such a huge difference, especially in soccer when ties are such a part of the game, and keeping it even is so important. Which the Timbers, for half an hour, seemed to forget by making defensive mistakes that allowed the Red Bulls to go up 3-1 -- and more silence! This is not supposed to happen at Jeld-Wen except when it's closed -- which inspired me to write this on Twitter:

Go Cubs!!! Wait.

I mean, the Timbers need to build a reputation, and the players and those of us who are fans don't want it to be that. Thank goodness the players started playing like that for the rest of the first half and the rest of the game, getting a second point then causing a Red Bull own goal. The final: 3-3. A tie. A draw. I know that's not a win -- I've watched the NFL without ties for long enough that I get confused when NFL ties happen, and those definitely don't feel like wins; I can just translate that feeling to the more tie-friendly game of soccer. And hope for wins, like the team and the new coach Caleb Porter (debuting as a major league coach tonight, don't forget) are hoping. The team knows defense is its bugaboo -- it can score, but it's allowed too many other points, especially in their sloppy and awkward second year -- and the problems were still there tonight, causing such quick first-half points. Other times last year, the team deflated at that and were hopeless for the rest, running and fretting and not doing much else. Now, they're doing better than that.

Not a loss! Not a loss!

I'm looking forward to getting out with people to see other games -- I listened from home this time -- and maybe I'll get back to the stadium for a game this season, and be part of that noise. Soccer fandom is a performance art, and it's a performance art I can do. And have a blast doing.
Tags: sport!
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