Commentary Page

January 10, 2003

"The Little People" Hold Their Own - Unlike the US, where a sports franchise is a movable commodity, the English football teams all are connected to origins that are community based. A sports setup composed of Green Bay Packer-type teams, if you like. The most disgraceful attempt to subvert this has come at FC Wimbledon, in south London. Rich teamowners from Norway decided to do the commonplace in the US - move the team to an affluent suburban, new town called Milton-Keynes, with no regard for the existing fans' wishes. Read here how it has turned out, so far.


December 21, 2002

Promotion/Relegation - the bullet that no American sport ever bites. That, unfortunately, includes the MLS and it's (non)arrangement with the A-League. Here's a great web article giving the argument for adoption of this system.


November 2, 2002

Here's a news item that we can all relate to when our match referee has a poor game:

Madagascar team scores 149 own-goals in a game November 2, 2002 ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) -- A soccer team, protesting what it called partial refereeing, scored 149 own goals in one game. Stade Olympique de l'Emyrne scored into its own net time after time on Thursday against AS Adema in response to what it felt was biased officiating. SOE coach Ratsimandresy Ratsarazaka reportedly orchestrated the game plan after arguing with the referee. It was the final match of the season for both teams. Adema clinched this national championship last week. SOE won it last year. Madagascar's national soccer association is considering sanctions against the team, but hasn't decided how to punish SOE, according to the online version of Saturday's Midi Madigasikara newspaper. The newspaper also said fans asked for their money back.


September 27, 2002

Here's a great news item -
The former coach of the Libyan national team, the Italian FRANCO SCOGLIO, said he was dismissed because he had kept AL SAADI EL-QADDAFI, the son of the country's ruler, Col. MUAMMAR EL-QADDAFI, on the bench. ``As a footballer, he's worthless,'' Scoglio told the Italy sports daily Corriere dello Sport. ``I'm a football manager, not a puppet.''


September 14, 2002

The 2002 Timbers are gone like a cool breeze. They lost their final play-off game with Vancouver on the road, so suddenly the season was over this past Monday. Almost immediately, an Oregonian article appeared, explaining to us how it was the nature of A-League to lose all your good players each season. This to prepare the fans for the departure of most of our quality players.

One question for the Timbers staff - Can I expect our strongest rivals, the Sounders and Whitecaps to be equally gutted? After all, the Sounders only lost four games out of twenty eight. Everybody on that team should be playing in the MLS or Europe next year, right? And unlike the Timbers who drew an average of 6000 fans a game, the other two teams drew typical crowds of 2500. So, if income relates to ability to pay players, we should have some advantage, right?



August 31, 2002,

My Timbers are doing the right thing for a play-off system for the A League Championship. They're peaking at the end of the season! Whether Jim Taylor the GM or Bobby Howe the Coach should get credit for it, the find of the season has been Fadi Afash. He now is tied for the A League scoring title with 18 goals. This is the guy that the LA Galaxy should be trying to pick up at the end of the A League season! On the other hand, I want him back next year with the Timbers.


August 23, 2002

The answer to my August 8th comment has been revealed. The US government wishes our backward, third world Afgani allies to take up the game of "bessbol". That way they can join Cuba and Venezuela in the groundswell of interest in America's pastime. Here's the real sports interest of the Afganis.


August 18, 2002

I'm reading a Timbers Forum discussion as to whether the Shed (Portland's equivalent of the terrace supporters) should indulge in any cheers that make good use of the "F" word. On one hand are a group that rightly state that at least they don't sit on their hands like the passive majority. Unlike this majority, they at least cheer louder for the Timbers than they do for the free baseball caps recently thrown to the crowd.

The opposing group believes that if we can just get those fabled soccer moms here each week with little Todd and Kristen in tow, the Timbers will be lifted by the tide of gate revenue to a secure, happy state. (A word of caution - the 10,000+ crowd on Friday was puffed up by free tickets given to lots of youth players.)


August 12, 2002

Major League Soccer has ten teams. Phillip Anchutz owns six; Lamar Hunt owns two. There's a certain WWF/ Vince McMahon quality to that arrangement, don't you think? Well, even this cozy arrangement has its problems. Read an interesting article in SoccerTimes online about a struggle with another promoter group for use of the Meadowlands for competing exhibition matches. This group just had 70,000 paying customers watch a Real Madrid v. AS Roma exhibition match.


August 10, 2002

The Portland Timbers keep in the playoff hunt with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. A-League leading scorers are: 1) Ching, 2)Afash and 3) Tennyson. Press here for a shot of one of Tennyson's two goals.


August 8, 2002

Peace through footie. The Guardian reports that Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair is actively encouraging the formation of an Afgani Football League. To that end equipment and team strip are headed to the warlords. President Bush is reported to be slightly puzzled by this. Perhaps an NFL exhibition game would be his preference?


August 7, 2002

Kudos to the webmaster of the GPSD site. The lead headline actually refers to this fall season, not some previous year! There are even a few players who are posting their interest in finding a team on the bulletin board. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the OASA (or our own FC 77 main site). The OASA site on the SoccerOnLine site was last updated in 1999! The Oregonlive site isn't dated, but is so generic it also could have been created and last updated in the late 90's.


July 27, 2002

The MLS seems to be far more cautious that the NASL in providing a retirement home for burnt-out, aged stars from Europe. Here's a good article from the London Times about Paul Gascoigne's tryout with D.C. United.


June 25, 2002

Letterman's World Cup Top 10 List:


June 20, 2002:

Old Nicks ended another summer season last night at Reynolds HS. It feels odd to be ending in June instead of August, but the toll vacations take on player count usually means that the team in late summer with the least vacationers wins. So, this year that was a non-factor.

We lost 3-2, but it was not a match with a residual bad taste. In fact, a very near miss at game's end by Jim H. nearly tied it up for us. Reynolds is a converted American football field. It's small and seldom-mowed. A great crop of clover is awaiting harvest. Its location in Gresham means that the customary beer afterward is problematic. McMinniman's Edgefield is the closest purveyor of micro brew. The worst part is that most of the team then faces a 20 mile drive home.


June 21, 2002:

The Brits and Yanks both go down in flames in the overnight quarterfinals of the World Cup. My prediction - the Final is Germany vs. Brazil. I watched the first half of the USA/ Germany match. I didn't watch the second half because Germany scored first. The USA is not yet the team to come back from a deficit against a team of grim efficiency like Deutchland.

The encouraging statistic in the first half was the even split of possession time between the two teams. The USA used the width of the field and passed the ball on the ground. They actually did a lot of attractive, composed passing.

Television sports paid some attention to World Cup soccer - at least through this morning. It's probably true that if the USA had a successful, national mudwrestling team there'd be heavy ESPN and Fox Sports coverage. It's mind-boggling the degree of ignorance shown by sportscasters about soccer. We shake our heads at medieval peasants who didn't know about the world beyond a fifty mile radius - but are American sports reporters any different? We invent sports that nobody else plays, then proudly crown our "World Champions". Is there some basic insecurity at work here? Anyway, time for true Amurricans to get back to the endless cycle of the baseball season with its 162 game season of three and a half hour games.