Recently, the Oregonian described how Diego Valeri and other Timbers have been using futsal to stay sharp during the offseason. A fast-paced game typically played on an indoor court, futsal is a great alternative to outdoor soccer during the cold and rainy months. Futsal courts are typically smaller than indoor soccer fields, and the futsal ball is smaller and heavier than a soccer ball, leading to tighter footwork and shorter passing than in soccer.
The Timbers Army FC, a network of official Timbers Army soccer teams, held its third annual Winter Classic futsal tournament this weekend at Rose City Futsal’s Portland location. The Winter Classic is the cold-weather counterpart to the Donut Derby, an outdoor soccer tournament the TAFC hosts in August. Even though many TAFC teams compete in these events, they invite non-affiliated teams and individuals to register and participate.
This year’s Winter Classic featured three divisions; Co-Ed, Men’s Competitive, and Men’s Recreational. The TAFC organizers had the venue festooned with green and white balloons, and fans were able to cheer on their team while enjoying a pint from Clive’s Public House, which overlooks the courts.
Ten teams vied for the co-ed trophy on Saturday. The top two teams, Thundercats FC and Beer Pressure, made it to the final undefeated. Beer Pressure opened the scoring in the final when their player put away a well-executed cross just inside the goal box. Then, things got chippy, and the Thundercats’ keeper received a yellow and was sent off temporarily for dissent. The Thundercats tied the score just before when one of their players drove to the corner and passed back to the top of the goal box to a waiting striker, who slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.
After the half, the competition heated up and the two teams battled it out until Beer Pressure slotted a ball into the upper corner of the net with only six minutes remaining. Beer Pressure held onto their lead to the end and won the co-ed division.
Three players in the Co-Ed division, Juan Cruz, Jessie De Leon, and Katie Dolphin each finished the night with five goals, the most among players in the Co-Ed division. However, De Leon and Dolphin each played three games, while Cruz only played two, giving him a higher goals-per-game stat and landing him the top spot in the players’ table for the division.
Just six teams entered the competitive division, and there were two clear front runners throughout the night. Miles Davis FC and The Lads entered the final game +17 and +13 goal differentials, respectively. They faced off in their final qualifying match, where Miles Davis FC carried the game 6-4, so The Lads were looking for payback.
The two teams traded goals in the final and ended regular time tied at 4-4. The first team to score a goal in the five-minute extra time would win the gmae. If the game went scoreless after the extra time, it would go to penalties. However, penalties were not needed as The Lads scored off a corner only one minute into extra time to win the trophy. Davis Strawn of Miles Davis FC finished the night with eight goals, the most in the competitive division.
Finally, six teams faced off in the men’s recreational division on Sunday night. The final game was between two teams with strikingly similar names: Bridge City FC v FC Bridge City. FC Bridge City scored the only goal in the first half with a direct drive and shot at the top of the net just over the keeper. Bridge City FC started the second half much better and scored the tying goal in the third minute. However, FC Bridge City took the lead again on a breakaway goal after a questionable no-call when their keeper carried the ball outside the box, and they spread the lead with three more goals in short succession. Bridge City FC pulled one back late in the half, but it was too little too late. FC Bridge City won 5-2. Rafael Alaniz of Neophyte United finished the night with five goals, the most in the recreational division.
The event ran smoothly, and the competition rarely overshadowed the players’ enjoyment of the event. Further event information and photos can be found at the Winter Classic website.
[Edit 5PM 1/25: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Beer Pressure’s keeper received a yellow card in the co-ed final when it was in fact The Thundercats’.]