This past year was an eventful year, if nothing else. Even though it's been a slog on the field, it would be difficult for anybody to argue against that. Luckily, we're venturing into a bold new 2013 with an exciting young head coach and some excellent new players to boot. And with the off season not even done yet, there's bound to be an even bigger story just around the corner.
But right now, let's take a look at the top ten stories here on Stumptown Footy for 2012:
Stories were ranked by unique pageviews.
When John Spencer was fired during the summer, the entire MLS-centered internet was focused on who would be the next man to be in charge. There were rumors cropping up seemingly almost every day and we even speculated who could possibly be the next head coach for the Portland Timbers. Our guesses ranged from Claudio Reyna, to Steve Nicol to even Erik Wynalda. Of course, we also included Caleb Porter at the top of our list.
A constant hassle for everybody involved, MLS took a big step into 2012 with the removal of one of the bigger headaches for MLS fans in 2011: silverlight. Additionally, the entire MLS online streaming package got a complete face lift as MLS moved away from it's former hosting partner Neulion to create it's own platform. Despite some minor hiccups and a continuing problem with scores being shown, the new site and design are far more functional.
8. James Marcelin Waived for "Non-Soccer-Related Reasons"; Replaced on Roster by Fullback Steven Smith
A dual announcement article this story was very interesting in hindsight mostly because Steven Smith turned out to be the Timbers' best defender. However, one of the juicier bits and pieces was in regards to Marcelin and his supposed waiving due to "non-soccer related reasons." Not much was ever revealed with regards to that last bit, but it still made for some interesting speculation by fans.
Another big trade this one a bit more recent, however. Early in December, the Portland Timbers traded Kosuke Kimura to the Red Bulls and received Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake, a very exciting midfielder. While we weren't able to break the story, we were able to reveal more details in that Johnson apparently had as many as five suitors and opted to play for Portland over any of them.
The media has made constant references to soccer hooliganism as a main complaint against soccer in the United States, despite other American sports fans behaving equally as bad. Unfortunately, a similar occurrence almost happened in CenturyLink Field earlier this year when Seattle's security stewards attempted to create problems for the visiting Timbers Army fans.
It was one of the hottest rumors in all of MLS and, unfortunately, we still don't know if it's off the table or not. With a bit of tea-leaf reading on my part I surmised that the rumored deal to bring Diskerud to play in MLS had tanked. We'll have to wait until next year to see if anything comes of the deal between Diskerud, MLS and the Portland Timbers, but in the mean time this is the latest information we have.
If there was ever a low point in 2012 for Portland Timbers fans this was it. The Timbers officially hit rock bottom when they managed to lose 1-nil to Cal FC in the US Open Cup. From Kris Boyd blowing a penalty kick to capos yelling at players and players yelling back, it was a dark time indeed. This thread was created to allow fans to blow off any and all steam needed.
Ives Garlarcep broke the rumor about the Portland Timbers lining up a deal to bring USMNT creative midfielder Mix Diskerud to play in the United States, we simply ran with it. In truth, it was probably the most exciting rumor concerning the Portland Timbers in, well, ever. Given that it came with it an air of legitimacy, to which Mix's father eventually confirmed, and that he's an up and coming player not a retiring one, it's easy to see why the rumor was incredibly exciting for Timbers fans.
The MLS SuperDraft is always an exciting time for fans as each team is able to select a top college prospect based on their performance in the previous season. The Timbers, as lack of skill would have it, managed to snag the third overall spot in the draft, a good spot to be in. While we know now that the Timbers FO didn't see anything they wanted or needed in the SuperDraft, it was still exciting early on in the off season to guess who they might pick.
A huge amount of momentum leading into the 2012 season and a new team in the league almost guaranteed that MLS would have a banner year for attendance. Perhaps it's not surprising then that our biggest story of the year was not a Timbers-focused story at all, but rather a league story. Above all the rivalries, the clubs, the games, the players, the coaches... we're fans of the sport in America and Canada. Our top story of 2012 proves, if only a little bit, that we all have great interest in seeing the league grow for the benefit of all, not just our one club and city.
So there were our top stories. While technically the year isn't yet over we feel pretty confident that nothing between now and January 1st will break into the top. Though please feel free to prove me wrong!
What were your top stories from 2012? Is there anything missing that you expected to make the top 10?