Hello again. While this is short turnaround for the Timbers, as well as yours truly, I have managed to run another quick FIFA simulation of tomorrow's game. This is because I'm a dedicated professional, and when I got my official SBNation(TM) blogging slacks by joining this community, by God, I made an oath to continually pump #content regardless anything else. So let's get this party started.
I intended for this simulation to go as quickly as possible so I could slip it in with enough time before kickoff, however, my PS4 had different thoughts. It froze for exactly 4 minutes 28 seconds on the screen below, with Liam looking all regal and off into the distance. If he wasn't wearing a soccer kit, it would look like an early 90s RnB/Pop album cover.
Ben Zemanski celebrated his birthday this week. He also received a card for a year's worth of free Chipotle recently. This guy is really living the dream. So, fueled by what powers middle class Americans everywhere, and because of a defense that has been woefully underperforming by conceding a league leading 20 goals, we (i.e. Virtual Caleb Porter) are going to shake things up and move to a 4-4-2 with the birthday boy to shore things up.
Federico Bravo will not be available to start in the middle against the Timbers due to yellow card accumulation. Do you remember that scene in Space Jam where Michael Jordan looks at his bench and would literally rather start anyone other than Wayne Knight, so he ends up choosing whatever the little mouse is called? Well, Manager Patrick Vieira is probably left to recreate that with Mix Diskerud:
Things go downhill soon after my PS4 finally moves past the picture of Liam as the game is bogged down in terrible midfield play from both teams. It takes Diego Chara, he of the famous bicycle kick that just doesn't have the word "no" in his vocabulary, to try this ridiculous attempt and actually wake me up. Bless his heart.
Diego Valeri is given a yellow for what should probably be a straight red. FIFA16 is so lifelike, it really captures the bumbling inconsistency of MLS officiating.
Inspired by Diego Chara (and really, who isn't?), Pirlo basically says, "I can do anything you can do better," and scores the type of absolute beauty of a goal that has defined his entire career. Normally, it's Kwarasey who gives up the long distance stuff, but Jake decided to also get in on that action. This is also totally a goal I can see the Timbers giving up IRL.
End of the half:
The half ends with NYCFC leading 0-1. The crowd grows restless. They can't lose 3 in a row, can they??
Diego Valeri remembers that there is a "Square" button and that can be used to cross the ball to teammates. He unleashes a beauty for a close chance. It is then followed up by two corners that are close, but no cigar.
When I think of Timbers that could potentially score by blasting a powerful, curving shot from 20ish yards out that just stymies the keeper, my list is as follows:
1) Diego Valeri
2) Fanendo Adi
3) Darlington Nagbe
4) Ned Grabavoy
5) Jack Barmby
6) Dairon Asprilla
7) Jack Mack
8) Jack Jewsbury
9) Diego Chara
10-15) All the of the defensive players on the roster
16) Adam Kwarasey
17) Jake Gleeson
18) Timber Joey
19) Caleb Porter
21) Lucas Melano
Despite his elegant gait and mind-blowing pace, every time Luca gets near the net his legs turn to jello and the ball is hit with all of the power of baby penguin; flapping its wings believing that it can overcome everything and be moved to flight.
Not this time.
What a beauty. Martin Tyler was so impressed by it that it sounded like he reached orgasm multiple times, and because he's British, you could immediately detect the shame in his voice at such a prospect despite his excitement. If I'm ambitious later I'll clip the audio of it, and label with an NSFW tag.
We've griped a lot about the heart and soul of the Timbers defense this season. "How many times will the defense cost us at least two points," has been the ethos of our collective metacognition. Well, Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers seemingly sense our despair and answered "Well mate, we're not only gonna protect one point, we're gonna grab two of them! Innit great!?"
Our dynamic duo put the team on their back and gave us that bumbling highlight reel of a goal. Who would have saw the Borchers header across net to Ridgy coming? With the Timbers up 2-1, the only thing left to do is clinch our sphincters and hope they can usher in the win.
Huh. Well, either Virtual Caleb Porter is a some kind of wunderkind, or someone has spiked his Gatorade bottle with some K2. Either way, if this substitution were to happen in a real game (and not as the result of a spate of injuries), I hereby promise to print this post out and record myself eating it. It's not like I couldn't use the fiber in my diet anyway.
AAAAAAAHHHHHHH. The ball is bumbling around the net.
Phew. It was kicked away to safety by Borchers.
The Timbers were able to come from behind and grab a much needed win from NYCFC. While it wasn't the most confident of victories, I think after losing two in a row it's a win we all will take. Hopefully, the improved D is a harbinger of things to come. And with that, I'm off to begin day drinking after losing this draft in the system a few too many times. May you do the same.