Monday, December 7, 2015

Congratulations, Timbers!

Sunday sports means football, and yesterday it was the kind played with the feet. Plenty of the forward-pass variety going on too, of course, but I was happy to be able to watch my Portland Timbers play the Columbus Crew in the MLS Cup final.
I don't get to watch the Timbers very often. I did get to see a game last year in person with my brothers out in Portland, which was great fun. And very occasionally there's a game on a TV channel that I have access to. It's nice that this match ended up on ESPN (which has a non-cable access option via Sling TV) instead of FOX Sports (which doesn't) so I could watch it.

The match was played in Columbus, which is actually within day-trip driving distance from me. As with most large sporting events, though, I didn't have much interest in attending in person. It's so much more comfortable watching from home, as well as cheaper and less stressful. Post-season games are especially bad in terms of being crowded and expensive. Might consider a regular-season MLS game in either Chicago or Columbus at some point, though.

Sadly, Timber Joey wasn't allowed to bring his chainsaw, but the Timbers Army was nevertheless out in force. ESPN showed quite a few shots of the stands behind one goal, filled with folks in green. Heard from them, too; good in-stadium audio work by the TV crew.

The match itself was certainly exciting, but it showcased some of the things I like least about soccer in general. There were a whole lot of missed calls by the referee, most notably a handball on the Columbus goal-line that should have awarded the Timbers a penalty shot. There were several instances of player-writhing-on-the-ground-in-pain then miraculously recovering a few seconds later. And the biggest suspense in the last few minutes was when the game would actually end, rather then what the players were doing, due to the odd "stoppage time" rules that mean only the head referee knows when the game is over.

But hey, the Timbers won, so I'm loving the "beautiful game" right now, strange rules and all. Congratulations to the first MLS champions from the Pacific Northwest!

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