The Playoffs

…begin this weekend.

Kansas City at Houston.

Chicago at San Diego.

The latter match is what the Thorns (and I…) will be looking at, since the winner comes here 10/23 for the semifinal. The Tsunami is looking a bit less tidal-wave-y; Abby Dahlkemper is out, Alex Morgan and Taylor Korneick are questionable.

The Current versus the Dash? Who the hell knows – talk about your NWSL After Dark. Dunnent matter; the winner won’t get by the Damndelions.

Still…this is pretty damn awesome:

The real question is can a starless Wave get past the bible-black hole that is Chicago. Which Red Stars will show up? The ones that imploded here on Matchday 21? Or the ones that calmly did business against the Fallen Angels on Decision Sorta-day? Which Wave will be there, the one that casually whipped us 2-nil? Or the one we tied down for 80 minutes before our defense shit the bed and they snatched a point?

(Well…THAT one ain’t showing up if Korneick is out…)

(Which reminds me; this season was perhaps the best example I can think of that the NWSL reeeeeally needs to synchronize the final matchday kickoffs. Knowing that the Damndelions were spanking Orlando early might have been the tiny kick in the ass the Thorns needed to keep their boot on Gotham’s neck. C’mon, NWSL. Think about it.)

Since all we can do this weekend is watch and wait, I thought I’d just throw out some random jauntering around the intertoobz.

Golden Boots

Here’s a fun little piece about Sam Kerr, Goal Machine. Ignore the title; it really doesn’t tell you shit about how Kerr became “the greatest striker in women’s football”. But it does have a nice recap of Kerr’s career, and the animated graphics are big fun.

Oh, and I say this and had to wonder…how will we think of Sophia Smith as she approaches 200 games?

That’s some pretty select company right there.

Postseason is Awards Season

Here’s the NWSL site for voting the postseason awards. I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend going to vote for Sam Coffey for Rookie of the Year.

Much as I love her, it’s hard for me as an honest fan of the sport (as opposed to a prejudiced fan of the Thorns) to pick Smith over Alex Morgan for MVP, and I’m not sure how ‘Brunn got in there alongside people like Naomi Girma for Defender.

And I will just post this again…

…to piss and moan that the goddamn Goalkeeper of the Year is always the worst-preselection process of any of the postseason awards going back to Michelle Betos’ win in 2015. Kailen Sheridan is a lovely person and terrific keeper, but this season has been decidedly mediocre, and A.D. Franch – love ya, A.D.! – is a skosh better but nowhere near the best on the business.

I voted Tullis-Joyce despite her flaw of being a Plutocratte because she IS the best of the three. But both Didi Haracic and, yes, goddamn it, our Bella Bixby are the two top keepers in the league this year and are going to get jack shit out of that.

Rrrrrrrr…

The dominoes are falling…

Key Bank withdraws it’s sponsorship from the Timbers…but directs it towards the Thorns in 2023.

Hmmm.

It’s also intriguing that the ticket proceeds for the semi are going to player-selected charities. I’d say that Paulson is in Survival Mode if I could figure the dude out, which I can’t. But I think we’re headed for a very turbulent off-season.

And it’s finally Autumn…

Tho you’d never know it from the afternoon temperatures, but the leaves are finally falling, which means that…

this little guy is on the hunt!

His name is Drachma (blame my kid – he was in a Percy Jackson phase when we adopted the little furball…) and he’s not just any small domestic predator.

He is a Leaf Hunter.

Every autumn he stalks the fattest, juiciest leaves that spiral down from the huge bigleaf maple in the neighbor’s yard. He seizes them – note the toothmarks inside the circle – and carries them home in triumph.

Which means, of course, that our floors are littered with the damn things until they’re too dry for him to want, when we can sweep them up.

I love the fall. I love the cool and the burgeoning clouds. I love sweater weather, and the close of the soccer season here as it begins in college and in Europe. I even love the dark mornings as the days grow short.

But the leaves, dude. C’mon.

How come you can’t bring us dead birds like other cats?

And speaking of college soccer…

How ’bout them Pilots?

Under head coach and former national team player Michelle French the Pilots are posting their best season in years. The 9-0-4 Pilots are second in the West Coast Conference and are nationally ranked for the first time in seven seasons.

The Bluff has seen some lean years since Clive Charles went to the Big Pitch in the Sky. His legacy Garrett Smith started well with a national championship in 2005, but the program started to fall behind; Smith wasn’t the recruiter Charles had been, and his teams lost ground, first nationally, then regionally.

The Pilots were knocked out in the quarterfinals for the four years after the national title. Then, starting in 2008, the teams started to go out in the low rounds.

In 2014 the Pilots fell off the table, missing the postseason the next four years under Smith, and then the first four under French.

(A reminder what a young Christine Sinclair could do…)

This season the Pilots came roaring back.

Behind forwards Cally Togiai and Nedya Sawan (4 goals each over 12 games) and in front of keeper Bre Norris (3 conceded in 1043 minutes, 0.25 GAA) the Pilots are a lock for the playoffs. C’mon up to Merlo this coming Wednesday night to cheer the Pilots on against the mighty Gaels of St. Mary’s, currently tied for fourth in the WCC alongside the Sisterwives of Brigham Young.

C’mon, you North Portland!

It’s playoff time, and I dunno about you, but I’m more than ready for soccer.

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