At times like this, I feel I am trapped in an alternate reality where Portland doesn’t suck. For the second time in three years, Caleb Porter has the Timbers in the Western Conference finals and Portland is one series shy of playing for MLS Cup. That’s vomiting inducing.
Our series with Dallas was painful, Oscar Pareja is an ass, but I’ll be a big Dallas fan tomorrow. As much as I am pissed at FCD, I can’t stand having Portland in MLS Cup. It’s bad enough that “Soccer for Dummies” Porter has 2 Western Finals appearances in 3 years, but if Portland beats Seattle to the Championship game, and somehow, god forbid, wins it?!, Hell hath no fury.
So much of sport is luck. Key fouls sometimes don’t get called. Key players fall injured at the wrong time. And backups can become studs. Sometimes all the tumblers of the universe click into place for a mad boggling sequence of events. The New York Giants dumbed their way into 2 mediocre Super Bowls because Tom Brady surprisingly withers under a strong pass rush. Schematically New England just doesn’t match up well with New York, and, if not for the wildcard Giants, every Bostonian would still be bragging about 2007’s perfect season.
Portland took their rabbit’s foot on a rainbow-braided, horseshow-paved Golden Stair into the Conference finals. Portland surged into the 3 seed in the West and found themselves matched up with out-of-form 6th seed SKC. Sure, SKC had just beat L.A but heading into Decision Day, the Sporks had only 4 points from their last 5 games and had suffered losses to Houston, San Jose and Colorado(!). If SKC had held on to beat Portland in that wacky, pure-luck, penalty shootout, Portland would’ve been cooked in the knockout round, Seattle would’ve drawn Vancouver and we’d be sitting pretty.
Sure, I am admittedly drinking the sour grape Kool-Aid, but the gap between Dallas and Vancouver was so large. Somehow Vancouver beat Houston on Decision Day, but before that match, the ‘Caps had only 2 points from their previous 5 matches, being outscored 2-8. Dallas themselves had manhandled the ‘Caps in two of those games and yet, on the balance of the season, Vancouver was somehow the second-best team in the West. Sheesh.
Us Seattle fans can wring our hands and decry the cake matchup with a fading Vancouver in the semis following a pure-luck shootout win over SKC in the quarters, but the Timbers are here. Dangerously close to a bile-inducing result.
BOLD PREDICTION: Portland is pretty happy about their 6 game unbeaten streak. The Hoops are streak killers, as we had an 11-game streak going into our second leg with them.
Nagbe in the middle has gotten a lot of press, as it’s coincided with Nagbe on the USMNT. But the most creative player on the pitch will be Dallas #10 Mauro Diaz. Portland has a better chance of containing him Chara than we did with Rose, and Portland does have speed on the outside. But Portland isn’t an ironclad defense, and Dallas will score an away goal: 1-1 Draw.