February has come and gone, and with it, so too is it time to pass judgment on a certain blog writer’s incredibly foolish and/or astute predictions for the month. We (still) didn’t get our left back, and the Timbers are somehow not going to play Saprissa in the Concacaf Champions League (although they might have to play this small team named Club America).
But Merritt Paulson did retroactively make everyone mad in the wake of the new Timbers jersey drop as they revisited a tweet he made singing the praises of the new Timbers jerseys back in May, so I’m giving myself credit for that one, because it’s my column and I get to make the rules.
And never mind that the month of March is nearly a third of the way done — I’m taking this .333 average and powering on, throwing out three more predictions for the world of Portland Timbers soccer. As always, these are my thoughts on three things that will most probably definitely maybe happen in the next four weeks. Believe them (or not) at your own risk:
Eryk Williamson will help the U-23 USMNT finally qualify for a gosh dang Olympics.
Last week, the United States men’s national team announced their preliminary roster for the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship tournament. It was significant because of who was on it (Portland’s very own Eryk Williamson), who wasn’t (Portland’s very own highest-profile snub, Jeremy Ebobisse), and the tournament’s stakes (qualifying for the “really still not sure if this gonna happen” Tokyo Olympics).
While the US women’s team has been out here consistently qualifying and medaling at the Olympics for more than decade now, the men’s side hasn’t sent a team to the Olympics since the year that the iPhone 3G was the hottest new thing on the market: 2008.
Well, I think this is the year the USMNT finally breaks that duck. The talent level of the mostly MLS-based player pool is the highest it’s been probably since that 2008 squad.
And who is going to be a key member of this year’s squad? Portland’s midfield revelation, Eryk Williamson, that’s who. While not on the official squad list for the tournament yet, Williamson was on the aforementioned preliminary squad, and stands a decent chance to make the final cut. He is arguably the most complete midfielder in the group, and brings a skillset that will undoubtedly be useful in the wilds of Concacaf.
By the time this month is out, the USA will finally be sending a squad to an Olympic games, and Williamson will one of the ones who helped the young Yanks get there.
Jeremy Ebobisse will score a banger — and none of us will see it.
Remember how I mentioned that Jebo was the highest-profile snub from the Olympic qualifying roster? While that is a serious disappointment for Ebobisse — and a definite surprise considering his form in relation to the rest of the forward on the roster (he’s been quite a bit more productive than the field) — my hunch is that it will add more fuel to the fire for Portland’s young forward.
In addition to motivating him for a pivotal 2021 season, one of the ways it may fire him up is by causing him to do something spectacular this preseason.
And we know that he’s capable of busting those out. Exhibit A:
And exhibit B, from the USMNT January camp:
And if you were able to catch his post on Instagram, apparently Jebo is also out at Timbers training volleying in scissor kicks as well.
During one of Portland’s preseason matches this year, Ebobisse will score some type of spectacular goal. It will warrant a Diego Valeri “hands on head” reaction, or a Diego Chara “polite golf clap out of respect” recognition — and none of us will be able to see it live when it happens.
The Timbers announced that their preseason slate of games will not be livestreamed this year, which kind of sucks. I won’t speak for everyone, but after three long months off, I sure was looking forward to watching some Timbers soccer, even if it was inconsequential preseason games.
No streams means we will be deprived of amazing preseason moments, like the time Sebastian Blanco was sent off, then chilled in the stands, and got scarfed by the TA Desert Corps, or like the incredible moment that one time Freddy Adu played for the Timbers. And it means that we will unfortunately miss the forthcoming Jebo banger.
May we enjoy it as a dramatic clip on Twitter (or from the phone lens of a dedicated Timbers fan in Tucson who can get in to the games safely and become a hero).
Something dumb will happen in the Portland vs. Seattle preseason game.
I feel like this is just easy money.
There can never be a normal Portland vs. Seattle ever, even when it’s in preseason. And with the teams set to face off at the end of the month as Portland’s final tune up before heading down to Honduras for the first leg of their CCL matchup against CD Marathon, you know this one will get spicy as well.
Will there be tackles way too hard for the preseason? Probably. Will we get red cards? It’s within the realm of possibility. In fact, will we get the Red Card Wedding Part 2 after someone lets slip a “3-0” jab alluding to December’s MLS Cup stomping? I’m not ruling it out.
The point being that the final preseason game for the Timbers will be anything but a friendly, and inevitably something will happen that will stir some controversy.
Without a livestream however, we won’t know what that thing is until potentially well after the fact. But if it remains a mystery, like any rational person, I’m just going to pretend that Dairon Asprilla dropped a hat trick in the first half, and Seattle walked off the field in disgust/rage/terror.