Now is the winter of our discontent (well, okay, it’s supposed to be winter – freaking 62 in my yard yesterday, WTF’s up with that..?) as we have a whole freaking month to sit around and worry if RW can assemble a functional team around the lean roster she’s been left with after the high-profile departures.
(Except sit around and tube the winter Olympics, which as far as I can tell is hours of curling and the occasional actual sport, although I insist that as fun as it is biathlon would be vastly improved as entertainment if the IOC took the sport back to it’s roots and awarded extra points to the Finns if they set up a motti along the course and sniped at the Russians. Old school!)
I see two distinct but related issues here with Portland (because the backline and goalkeeping look solid).
The midfield, where the loss of Horan and Salem leave two disparate but big holes to fill, and up top, where the same cast of characters (less Charley) will return…but with the same finishing issues, or not?
If the former…ugh.
Without Horan passing out of midfield and with Everett and Sinc invisible and Smith and Weaver shanking shots all over SW Morrison, that could be ugleeee fast.
But if RW finds some combination of returnees and rooks to muddle through in midfield and has unlocked the scoring mojo between the forwards?
We might be okay.
But for a month?
We got nothin’. Not even a scrimmage with UP at Merlo or OSU in Corvallis.
We can still discuss.
So consider this a February-March open thread.
Update 2/15: Here’s an odd bit in the letter USSF President Carlos Cordiero sent in reply to the open letter from the USWNT players regarding the recent youth coaching abuse news:
“Finally, The Washington Post has reported that Christen Press raised her concerns about coaching abuses with U.S. Soccer in 2014 and filed a complaint in early 2018…while I was U.S. Soccer President, I was not aware of either Christen’s allegations of abusive coaching or any investigation into her allegations by the Federation.”Cordiero letter, Feb. 14, 2022
Okay, that’s weird. The guy is the boss of USSF – is running to be the boss again – and says that he was just kind of hangin’ out there and didn’t know any of this stuff?
This is where the Yates investigation HAS to come through and HAS to be released to the public in full. No redactions, no “summations”. The whole business HAS to be laid out.
And that is – assuming that the people like Cordiero and Merritt Paulson are telling the truth – in the best interests of the league and club leadership…even if they don’t seem to believe that.
Because now the default position of many fans is suspicion and condemnation. It’s far to easy to just assume that “you knew” if the entire issue is shrouded in mystery, much of it generated by the club or league being silent.
I’ve already seen #PaulsonOut petitions, and as a long-suffering Newcastle United supporter I’m here to tell you that Mike Ashley and the fucking oil sheiks make Paulson look like a goddamn choirboy. Be careful what you ask for. A post-Paulson owner might just decide that a Las Vegas Thorns looks reeeeeeal profitable…
But Yates has GOT to bring the receipts. The story needs to be told, and if that story condemns Paulson, or Cordiero, or Gavin Wilkinson?
Then pitchforks and torches, yes.
But until then…
Let’s not be entirely grim…
I want to open the discussion to the songbook.
Let’s face it; the songbook is stale. We haven’t had a new song since “Iko Iko” three years ago, and that one barely gets sung anymore. We have NO player songs.
So I’m gonna start by suggesting this one: adapting “Clean Up” by Charmaine Neville for a 90th minute song, something we sing to wave goodbye to our defeated opponents:
Clean it up! (you gotta go now!)/
Clean it up! (we don’t want no more now!)/
Clean it up! (you gotta go now!)/
We gotta clean up after you go home…
So what you got? Let’s come up with some ideas for the new season!
Update 2/16: So…nothing? No song ideas? Not a thing? Okay, then.
I know we’re tired of the drama, but I wanted to note this, from Timbers gadfly Chris Rifer:
I think he makes a very good point. A crap-ton of what’s driving all this fan ire is the club’s silence. As Bolt’s Thomas More says; “silence implies consent”, and the implication from the Peregrine FO’s silence is that someone or ones in that organization actively consented to Riley’s and Polo’s criming.
If they did not – and, surely, I hope they didn’t – but were simply stupid or clueless or distracted and let matters get out of hand, I think they’d be better off coming forward and saying that: “Yes, we should have known. No, we have no excuses. We’re sorry and want to do better, and here’s how we will.”
Unfortunately I think the silence is baked in. They FO has been so tacit for so long they literally can’t think of a way they can apologize and accept responsibility without bending the knee to the ultras.
So on and on we go.
Update 2/17: So look who showed up on my Facebook page this morning!
Our youngest Thorn is also the first to get in the “monetize my image!” door! She’s a “premiere athlete” for this fish outfit.
Now I may be a crusty old commie but I can still give some love for a youngster out selling lemonade to make money. Or, in this case, pitching fish.
And more power to her for turning 264 minutes over nine matches into an “NWSL Star”! Y’gotta give it up for the kid; she’s got chutzpah and she’s not shy about making a buck.
Because did you check out the “Premier Catch” site and look at the price for the salmon she’s hawking? $68 for two and a quarter pounds? Dude! That’s thirty bucks a pound! No disrespect, Moultrie, but Freddy’s sockeye is, like NINE bucks a pound. I loves me some capitalism, too, but, c’mon!
At this rate I predict in thirty years she’ll OWN the damn team. Watch and see if that happens…
Update 2/17 p.m.: I tuned into the Zoom Q&A tonight with RW and KK. Missed the first 20 minutes or so (traffic, %#&!#!%!!) but caught most of the rest.
Frankly, a lot of it was painfully excruciating; fans asking “How will you regain our trust?” as if either woman had had anything to do with 2015 or the Iron Front or Polo or what-the-actual-fuck (Wilkinson reminded the questioner that she’d been here in 2015 and had seen nothing – which makes total sense, given that Riley was a slimebag not a fool and so he’d be sure that everyone but his victims saw nothing…).
- I have no idea what the questioner expected either one to say. “Oh, yeah, Merritt said that he knew that Riley was all rapey but, hey, shit happens…”? The point is that they don’t know, we don’t know, all our reactions at this point are formed from our prejudices, suspicions, and biases. I wish one or both of them had had the sack to just say that: “We don’t know and neither do you. If that makes you distrust us, nothing we can do will change that.”
- I’d have paid good money if KK had answered the one questioner’s cry of “How will you restore our trust?” with something like “Fucking A, I will slay Gavin and drink his heart’s blood. That work for ya?”
I heard two things I was unaware of, however.
First, that the entire reason that the club did not invite any non-rostered players was the COVID. Wilkinson answered that one, saying thar they had relied on host families in the past and couldn’t do that due to the plague. And that omicron AND the CBA made things even more complicated, so the club just didn’t think it was worth it.
Second, that Wilkinson (who kind of ducked and dodged around this question) thinks that the team needs to attack with more width. I asked about a 4-3-3 and didn;t get an answer, but the implication of the answer she did give is that while she sees a lot of continuity with Parsons’ 4-4-2 diamond she wants more width.
She also denied that there are any concerns about thinness in the roster.
How realistic is all this?
We’ll see in March…
Update 2/20: So apparently these things turned up in a Dick’s Sporting Goods outlet:
Now the FO immediately warned that they aren’t official, and the white shirt looks suspiciously washed out – the blue on the collar and badge are funky and weird – and that the actual kits may look a little different.
But given what we know from these;
- I like hoops. I’m one of the few people who didn’t haaaaaaate the “tire tracks” alternate kit from 2018. But I’m betting that, like the tire tracks, the hoops don’t go all the way around. C’mon, Nike! Show some courage; hoops go all the way around! The blank back thing is lame.
Plus the thin red thorns pattern is too finicky. I’d like to see the hoops bigger and bolder. And why a gray background? Hopefully that’s just a preseason goof and the actual kit will be red-on-black.
- The alternate? BO-ring. Even with a bolder collar and cuffs and badge, this is just WhiteTShirtFC. I realize that coming up with an interesting light-colored kit isn’t easy – it’s gotta be white but “plain white” is just drab – but there has to be a better alternative than this.
Go to the post at the “tire tracks” link above and look at the 2015 second kit. That was the one with the black sleeves and shoulders, red hoop, and white body. It was (mostly) light colored but striking. Fun kit, and I thought the club gave up on it too easily. Certainly there’s no reason not to do something like that here. Or revive the thorns-ring pattern from the 2015 reds only in dark gray on white with a black thorns-loop strip down the sides! Something, almost anything, would be more interesting than this.