Over the course of this season we've contributed a lot of flowery language to add to the hype heading into every Cascadia Cup clash. It was looking so promising at the outset -- the Timbers rose to each of the first four challenges, often in spite of what we might have expected from their recent performances. But then...
The loss at Seattle hit Timbers fans pretty hard, and we here at Stumptown Footy have been reeling emotionally in the aftermath. Clearly, would would have been fools to expect more than a draw -- a win, which would have been the team's first away from home, would have been sweet, but unfathomable. But to lose like we did, with a massive defensive blunder and a couple of own goals...
Yeah, I don't want to even talk about it. It's still too painful -- for everyone. Looking at the Stumptown Footy cover page for the past few days, you'd be forgiven for thinking we'd decided to cover the US Men's National Team just so we'd have a more positive, uplifting story to tell.
It's a very rare sports fan that is looking to the USMNT as a beacon of hope these days.
So yeah, we're pretty down on ourselves here. What's the use of talking tactics and analyzing performances anymore? We might as well get a jump on the offseason already.
At this point, the one thing the Portland Timbers have going for them going into Sunday's match is that the Vancouver Whitecaps have never beaten them in the MLS era. But by every other predictive measure, the Timbers look like they will have to wait another year for their next chance to hoist the Cascadia Cup.
But we're used to that, aren't we? The Timbers have only won the Cup when they haven't been forced to compete with the Seattle Sounders for it. The Timbers won the Commissioner's Cup, but by some cruel irony the only time we won it was a year before it even existed. The best the Timbers have ever managed during its whole existence -- even the NASL era, which under normal circumstances shouldn't have any bearing on this discussion -- is to fall just shy of winning anything significant.
After all, isn't that the reason we've been singing, "We're gonna win the league"? It's not because we actually think we will. The Timbers Army wouldn't be nearly so envied by the US soccer community if all it did was demand that its team win one cup after another, and go home if they don't.
On a certain level, don't we as Timbers fans take pride in the fact that we will continue to follow this team, one losing season after another? Don't we relish that this song heaps ever more meaning onto itself, while we wait, longingly, to win the league?
And what if we actually won the league? That would kind of ruin our cred, wouldn't it?
No, no, Andy: you've never written anything so stupid. Whether you consider the team to be eleven or thirty-seven years old, it isn't nearly enough time to consider ourselves the happy losers -- the Chicago Cubs of the MLS. Sometime in the next century, the Timbers are going to win the league, and the Cascadia Cup many more times than that. And it's going to be awesome.
True, it might take some significant changes in the organization to get there, and it may not happen for many years, but it'll get there eventually, whether by dumb luck or, hopefully, enduring, successful management.
Until that happens, we soldier on and continue to sing one of our oldest songs, which only grows more defiant every time we sing it.