So much a part of being a Seattle Sounders fan is being a Portland Timbers hater. Today I have a hankering to clown on Caleb Porter.
One of my favorite games to play with Porter is the weekly “Wheel of Delusion.” After every Timbers game, usually a draw, sometimes a loss, Porter says something along the lines of, we played well enough to win or we deserved to win. Maybe Porter is fibbing to protect his job, or hoodwink the casual (i.e. ignorant) Portland fan, but I think he actually believes it. I am mesmerized, like a moth to flame, to see how piss poor Portland has to perform before Porter says, You know what? We played like crap and didn’t deserve a result. Frankly I think the man is incapable of anything resembling such a grip on reality.
You’d think this weekly parade of could’ve, should’ve, would’ve would be getting old for Timbers fans. But this is some of the tamest crap he babbles. I started to dig into more of Porter’s press conferences and interviews, and that man says the darndest things.
In his postgame interview following the Vancouver draw, at around the 3:20 mark, Porter talks about how his team could possibly score and says, “You’re only gonna score a goal 1 of 4 ways… You’re gonna score on a long build up, which rarely happens…”
Maybe it rarely happens if you’re Portland. Didn’t Seattle just string 18 passes together before putting one in the back of the net? Justsaying.
Then Porter, apropos of nothing, compared his woebegone Timbers to the surging Sounders. Porter responded to a reporter regarding the return of DP midfielder Diego Valeri with the odd, “How would Seattle do without Clint Dempsey?” Actually Porter, we’d do really well without Dempsey (more on that below).
Porter was interviewed by the Oregonian’s Jamie Goldberg following Monday’s practice. Around the 2:10 mark he obliquely goes back to the Seattle-without-Dempsey narrative, saying, “There’s no team in the league that would play as well without a DP.”
I think that’s a 10/10 on the Wheel of Delusion! Portland was 2-3-3, earning 9 points in 8 games, without Valeri. That’s playing well?! Seattle missed Dempsey (and DeAndre Yedlin) for 6 games during the World Cup last year. We went 4-0-1, 13 points in 6 games, during that run. At least do some homework before trying to weave a narrative. And keep Seattle references out of your mouth man, you just don’t compare.
If you dig further into the video (though do watch the very beginning when he doesn’t seem to actually believe his team is improving. He has to think to answering that softball question), Porter deftly cooks the books to better represent his team’s performance so far. At around the 9:05 mark Porter says, “11 out of 20 teams in the league have 10 points or less…4 teams in the West are on 10 points or less… We’re right where everyone else is.”
Porter has the numbers dead on, 11 teams are on ten points or less. However 6 of those teams have games in hand on Portland, tricky Porter. According to points-per-game, Portland sits in 15th place on the entire table. You are not “right there.” Also Portland plays in the Western Conference, the honor division of MLS, and is currently in 8th place out 10 teams. Furthermore, 6 of those 11 teams on 10 points or less are in the abysmal Eastern Conference. Portland is essential lumping itself in with also-rans like Philly, Chicago, the expansion clubs and Montreal. Really Porter, you make this too easy.
Last one, I promise (but jeez it’s like shooting fish in a barrel). At around the 9:47 mark, Porter says, when discussing the number of points the Timbers earned last year, “49 [points] is usually good enough to get you in [the playoffs].”
Porter is kinda right here. SKC (2014) and Montreal (2013) made the playoffs on exactly 49 points. And they both immediately got whupped in the play-in game. The last time 49 points punched your ticket in the West was 2012 when Vancouver made the dance with only 43 points (before being whupped in the play-in game). Maybe Portland secretly wants to rebrand his team the Portland (Maine) Timbers because that’s the only way he’ll have a shot at saving his job.