clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Portland Timbers/Thorns Festivus Club

A year in review.

MLS: Western Conference Semifinal-Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Here at Stumptown Footy we’re deep into the holiday spirit. That holiday, of course, is Festivus. To celebrate, we’ve looked back at 2017 and aired our grievances, enjoyed some feats of strength, and appreciated the miracles of Festivus. If you’re not familiar with these Festivus traditions, or just need a quick refresher, here’s the cliffnotes:

Airing of Grievances

Katelyn Best - I was tempted to air my grievance with Jean-Michel Aulas, the man responsible for the best and most boring team in women’s football, Olympique Lyonnais—and one of the reasons we can’t have Amandine Henry anymore. But when it comes down town it, it’s not Aulas’s fault that he’s the only owner in the world who has the money, the desire, and the league sanction to pay his players as well as he does, is it? So I suppose my grievance, as usual, is with the patriarchy. May its downfall be swift and catastrophic.

Zach Kay - I don’t know who exactly is responsible for injuring all our players, but whoever it is, I’ve got a lot of problems with you people. And now you’re gonna hear about it.

Tyler Nguyen - Teams coming in to play the Thorns pressuring the refs. Whether it's getting up in referee’s faces during games and yelling at them, or leaking comments about their performances to the press before big games, people got away with an awful lot. Not that Thorns didn’t get one or two bookings for swearing at officials, but surrounding a referee and yelling at them is another step completely. Also, a system for fining managers trying to pressure referees through the media might just help a bit toward ensuring long term financial viability for the league.

Will Conwell - There have not been any new player rumors for the offseason yet!

Chris Rifer - The Timbers’ season ended in part because VAR Chris Penso couldn’t look at a slow-motion replay on a screen eight inches in front of his face and call a clear penalty. I know the “Are you blind, ref?” trope is kind of played out, but I’m actually curious here: Are you f***ing blind?

Matt Hoffman - ​At some point, Portland should have considered wrapping players in cellophane. Three games was Porter was able to field his top lineup in 2017. Three! Thrice! Whether it’s subbing out two center backs in a game or the training injuries then the whole Liam Ridgewell debacle. It was enough for Porter to muse, "It's not ideal. It does happen, but the re-injuries, that's one that doesn't happen a lot and you have to start to ask some questions... These are things we have to evaluate, we have to analyze." Possibly related: the Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer resigned the next day.

John Lawes - Christine Sinclair airing her grievance regarding her opinion of Chipalo Street’s what-the-hell-were-you-thinking-you-blind-porch-robber, no-goal call.

Still my favorite Festivus "airing of grievances": Christine Sinclair vs Chipalo Street.

Posted by John Lawes on Saturday, December 23, 2017

Charles McNeil - I’m a bit salty that Nagbe apparently asked for a ~100% raise during a season in which his play didn’t really improve for the Timbers, leading in part to no longer seeing him in PTFC green.

C.I. DeMann - Another year, another 1,000 injuries. Why hasn't the entire medical staff been fired yet?

Feats of Strength

Katelyn - The Thorns team outside observers know, and the one fans know, are two different entities. For most people outside of Portland, the names most identified with the Thorns are the ones in lights: Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Allie Long, Christine Sinclair. But for me, and for a lot of us, I suspect, the players that best sum up what this team was in 2017 are the ones in the back. Emily Menges—regardless of the fact that she got herself into this mess in the championship—is a hero and a role model for getting herself out of it. Beyond the obvious fact that the Thorns' biggest strength in the Parsons era is their defense, we can see this moment as the season in microcosm. She screws up, nearly lets Jessica McDonald get a shot on goal, then makes a mad scramble to fix her mistake. Tell your kids to work hard like Menges.

Tyler - The Thorns were 5-4-4, fifth in the table, and had one win in their last five games when the undisputed best team in the league came into town. North Carolina had been top of the table all season and beat us once already, and the European players were away at the Euros. No contest, right? Raso scored a brilliant header to win it of course, but what I remember the most is Sonnett’s tackle: North Carolina had a 3 on 2 break and Sonnett was caught up the pitch applying pressure and Lynn Williams made the fatal mistake of thinking she had any time on the ball. What resulted was the most beautiful tackle I’ve ever seen live. A perfectly clean one footed slide tackle from behind, all ball. The platonic ideal of a tackle.

Will -


Chris -

Matt - Blanco’s golazo against D.C. United was nice, but the space nerd that I am, getting a lecture on the Galaxy by Professor Wil Lamette of the Royal Cascadian Technological Institute of Discovery (RCTID for short), showcased the Timbers social media team’s credentials. "Scientifically speaking it should be called the Carson Galaxy. Los Angeles is, like, 13 miles away." Hashtag Science!

Charles - Valeri’s 10th(I think?) goal in nine games at the end of his nine game scoring streak. Nothing terribly fantastic about the goal, except that for once the Timbers were crashing the box. But it symbolizes quite the feat. Couldn’t find a gif.

John - I’ve seen ‘em side-by-side. Lifting this year’s cup took some serious upper body strength. Luckily, our keeper is up to it.

C.I. - Not just one guy rounding the keeper. Multiple guys rounding multiple keepers.

Festivus Miracles

Will - Diego Valeri won the MVP trophy?

Chris - The Sounders got out-shot 22-7, put two crappy shots on target, and lost MLS Cup! It’s a Festivus Miracle!

Tyler - Christine Sinclair had to reinvent herself, dropping into midfield, and still managed to be one of the best players on the planet? A festivus miracle.

Katelyn - Miraculously, it turned out the Thorns had more than enough quality to be a winning team without Tobin Heath.

Charles - 2.8 million in new TAM + GAM!

Matt - ​Portland really took one literally off the chin against SKC in April. Fanendo Adi called it "a very choppy game," saying: "[SKC] came to interrupt, destroy and just commit fouls. We had a lot of fouls, but they weren’t called." Stat Man Mike Donovan would note: it was just the third time in three years, the Timbers had 21 fouls or more called against them in a match. Drew Fischer was the referee in all of those matches. So such as it was, it was a festivus miracle for Matt Besler that Fischer called this match because no one else was going to miss an abundantly blatant handball.

John - Connie Valeri’s delighted reaction to learning dad had won the 2017 MPV award:

Diego Valeri reveals the big secret to his daughter Connie

"You need a TROPHY CASE!" Diego Valeri reveals the big secret to his daughter Connie, and it's the sweetest thing you'll see today. #RCTID

Posted by Portland Timbers on Monday, December 4, 2017

In an otherwise dark year for the Timbers, a teeny, tiny, bright little shiny miracle.

C.I. - Despite 1,000 injuries, despite losing our leading scorer for the 2nd half of the year, despite Roy Miller, Lawrence Olum, and Zarek Valentin having 65 combined starts, rather than the expected zero, the Timbers somehow won the Western Conference. No one's entirely sure how it happened, so let’s call it a Festivus Miracle.

What did we forget? Tell us your 2017 Festivus thoughts in the comments!