The next time you feel like whining about how miserably your team is performing…well, I’ve got one that will top you- FOREVER. Wednesday night, the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer were competing at home in a US Open Cup match again Cal FC- a fifth-tier amateur club from Thousand Oaks, California. When I say “amateur,” I’m not kidding. Cal FC is so cash-poor that they can’t even afford to practice every day. Until recently, they were wearing soccer hand-me-downs, the same kit that the MLS’ Chicago Fire wore two years ago.
Understandably, no one here in Portland was anticipating that the local side would encounter any real difficulty. Jeld-Wen Field was only 1/4 full (MLS games and international friendlies normally sell out), and my girlfriend turned down free tickets. Hey, who wants to see a glorified exhibition match against a bunch of overmatched amateurs, right??
And then they played the game….
The short version is that Cal FC beat the Timbers 1-0 in overtime. The Timbers outshot their opponents 37-8, and they had 10 corner kicks to Cal FC’s three. The Timbers dominated play, controlling the ball for the majority of the evening and passing at will. Unfortunately, the Timbers offense was nowhere to be found, which has been the case for most of this season. Kris Boyd, who’s making $1.25 million to score goals, put a penalty shot 15 yards OVER the crossbar. Numerous other easy scoring opportunities went begging, so when Cal FC scored a cheap goal in the fifth minute of overtime, not even the urgency of 25 more minutes resulted in a Timbers goal.
Imagine the New York Yankees losing to East Barfly Community College, or the Miami Heat losing to Our Lady of Perpetual Motion H.S., and you’d have an idea of what went down here in Puddletown on Wednesday evening. When you feel the need to complain about pampered, unmotivated professional athletes…well, remember that no matter how bad things are wherever you may be, the Portland Timbers just took it to a new low.
Game on, eh? Or not….