The second week of the off-season offered a bit more news than the first one. Let’s have a quick look at a few items.
1) Last week, we broke down Merritt Paulson’s end-of-season interview. This week, it’s GM Gavin Wilkinson and Coach Giovanni Savarese. Lots of good stuff, so give it a watch, then we’ll break down a few points.
2) A ton of interesting stuff, there. Here are a few things that stood out to me:
- The preseason tournament in Portland is coming back next year. Bundle up, it’ll be cold and rainy.
- Lots of talk about how difficult the schedule was this year and how much it exhausted the team. Having gone through it as a fan, with so many three-match weeks, I can sympathize. As I said during the season, I never thought too many home games would be a problem, but it turns out it is.
- I liked Gavin’s bit about how the team had to figure out how to win on the road, but then when they came home, that style of play no longer worked, so they had to change styles and figure out how to win at home.
- It’s clear they’re both really, really, really looking forward to a normal schedule next year.
- I am, too.
- As he did a number of times during the season, Gio used the expression “a united front.” I continue to wonder if he’s subtly referencing the Iron Front controversy.
- Nothing they said during this press conference made me more optimistic that Diego Valeri will be back next year. This makes me sad.
Did I miss anything that you found interesting? Let me know in the comments.
3) New topic: international call-ups!
Jeremy Ebobisse got called up to the USMNT pre-camp Nov 2-9, which means he’s there right now, doing his thing. It would seem that this is a pre-camp, rather than an actual, real-life camp. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a pre-camp before, but sure, why not? At least it’s a chance for the USMNT coaching staff to watch Jebo and be impressed.
Last time they called him up, they played him at left wing, same as Gio did for most of this season. Why does nobody believe in Jebo as a center striker? It seems like the perfect spot for him, and yet no one’s doing it. (I tell ya, when I’m emperor, some things are gonna change...)
My understanding is that this pre-camp is leading up to an actual camp, which will get the team ready for its next Nations League game on the 15th. If Jebo kicks ass in the pre-camp, will he get invited to stay for the Nations League games? Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Jeremy Ebobisse has been called up to the @USMNT for a pre-camp. Congrats, @kingjebo!— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) October 31, 2019
DETAILS | https://t.co/CqxpJWX5De | #RCTID pic.twitter.com/6TtdRVEIVO
Also worth noting, Andy Polo and Bill Tuiloma got called up for their respective national teams as well. Good luck, fellas. Make us proud.
4) We knew last week that there would be some major T2 news. I thought they might be stealing my idea of moving the team to Salem and re-branding them the Salem Salamanders. Turns out, we’re not so lucky. They’re moving to Hillsboro, instead.
T2 x Hops— Portland Timbers 2 (@TimbersFC2) October 30, 2019
We're thrilled to announce our new partnership with the @HillsboroHops!
DETAILS | https://t.co/RgOEK5wzV2 | #t2fc #AllHoppedUp pic.twitter.com/7oXiBiCW2k
The three most interesting things to me:
- T2 is not playing on the Hillsboro baseball field. They’ll be on the football field right next to it.
- That field will have new turf put in which is identical to what’s at Providence Park. And according to the article, there will not be football lines on it when T2 are playing.
- The Hops front office will be in charge of T2’s business activities, while the Timbers will be in charge of the soccer activities. This seems reasonable, though I do worry that at some point the lines of communication will get messed up and the next thing you know some promising Dominican shortstop will be out there playing defensive midfielder for T2, while Eryk Williamson will be the new Hops relief pitcher.
5) On the whole, I find this new T2 setup to be pretty good. My only real complaint is the name. I’ve always thought T2 was kind of a dumb name. Now that they’ll be playing their home games in Hillsboro, why not have a full re-brand?
And — would you look at that — I was kind enough to come up with some options.
Today's @TimbersFC2 news wasn't as cool as moving the team to Salem and calling them the Salamanders, but it's a start. To complete the move, what should the team's new name be?— C.I. DeMann (@CIDeMann) October 30, 2019
The Hillsboro HomestarRunners it is! Trogdor can be the team’s mascot, and when someone scores a goal, instead of cutting him a log slice, Trogdor will burninate some thatched roof cottages.
6) And finally, MLS Cup is this Sunday. It features, for the third time in four years, Toronto FC and... sigh... the fuckin’ Flounders. Even worse, the game’s in Seattle. Obviously, I will be the world’s biggest Toronto fan this weekend.
For most away games, the Timbers organize a watch party. The parties are usually at some local bar, but I remember one at the OMSI theater, and when we made the MLS Cup in 2015, the team rented out the Crystal Ballroom.
Do you think we could get the team to organize a hate-watch party for this weekend’s MLS Cup? I’m pretty sure we could fill Crystal Ballroom with Timbers fans willing to chant “Fuck Seattle” for the entirety of the MLS Cup. I’d do my part. What about you? Who’s in?