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This is the Rose City Riveters blog, where members can submit blog posts. 

  • 07/26/2013 4:44 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    We did this one for the first time at the last match. We’re gonna do it again this weekend. Couldn’t be simpler:

    (To the tune of “Those Were The Days”… no, not the Edith Bunker one)

    Come on you girls in red, come on you girls in red
    Come on you girls, come on you girls in red
    Come on you girls in red, come on you girls in red
    Come on you girls, come on you girls in red

  • 07/23/2013 4:42 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    The last game of this Inaugural NWSL season is nearly upon us. Fortunately, we can attend this game and cheer our Thorns on to victory over the Seattle Reign!

    We’ve chartered a bus to take the loud and proud Rose City Riveters north for what could be one of the most exciting and important games of the season. The way this season is shaping up, we could be playing for home-field advantage in the playoff match!!

    We have space for 50 supporters on the bus and each seat comes with a ticket to the game ($52 for the combo). Plus, we’ve acquired 10 extra tickets at the group ticket rate ($16/ticket) which saves you a few bucks off of the regular price . If you buy the ticket to the match and are not planning on riding the bus, your ticket will be with the bus, so just hang out at Starfire until we get there.

    The bus will be departing from the Oregon Convention Center on NE Holladay between 3:30-4pm on Saturday, August 17th. The itinerary is as follows:

    • 3pm-4pm – Load up the bus, depart for Tukwila (we will have a stop along the way at the rest area just outside of Centralia, WA)
    • 6:30-7pm – Arrive at Starfire Sports Complex
    • 8pm – Thorns v Reign kickoff
    • 10:15 – Load up the bus to head home (we will be stopping at a rest area on the way home)
    • 1:00am – 2:00am – Arrive back at the Oregon Convention Center

    The bus/ticket combos can be purchased at: rcraway.eventbrite.com

    Personal food and beverage is permitted on the bus. We will not be providing a keg on this trip, though adult beverages are permitted as long as they are not in glass bottles. No glass is allowed on the bus.

  • 07/22/2013 4:42 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Hi, I’m Luke and I had the privilege of attending the Thorns away match in Boston on July 21. It has been a whirlwind last two months, as I was on the road in Europe (check out a collage of photos with my By Any Other Name scarf around famous stadiums), but I wanted to make sure my return to the US coincided with a Thorns away match, and this one worked out perfectly.

    To begin, I should say that my college roommate Max and I were guests of Boston Breakers General Manager Lee Billiard, who is a friend of a friend. We originally had General Admission seats, but ended up sitting on the row right next to the field. Thank you so much, Lee! It was a wonderful day.

    The Breakers play at Dilboy Stadium (a multipurpose venue that has room for about 3,000 spectators), which is in Somerville, Massachusetts. A venue in a city outside of the namesake of the team usually prompts transportation worry for supporters. Fear not with the Breakers, because the stadium is easy to reach via public transport (a train, then bus, then five minute walk) and is about 7 miles from Boston city center.

    Max and I drove to the site and arrived around 3:00 PM, which was when gates were scheduled to open. We immediately noticed the positive sign that the parking lot was already entirely full (kickoff was an hour away). Outside the entrance to the stadium, multiple sales tents were set up:

    Once we came through the gates, we were greeted by another good sign: Ocean Spray (the primary kit sponsor for the Breakers) had a table and was giving out free packets of Craisins. I mean, how can you pass that up?


    We met Lee and were escorted across the track and the field seats. The stadium behind us filled up quickly, especially once the players jogged on the field.

    I know there was a lot of talk about the $4.99 livestream cost. It did look like a fairly professional production from being right next to the cameras and hosts.

    As the national anthem track was being pumped in over the loudspeakers (why not have former Thorn Jazmyne Avant sing?), I noticed a few other PTFC scarves waving around in the stands. It was quite hot in the Boston area over the weekend, so we were a bit worried about sitting directly in the sun to begin the match. Fortunately, the sun went behind the clouds for most of the match and I could see the entire field without shading my eyes.

    I would be hopeless at game analysis, so I will not try, but I did have a few observations that I picked up from sitting right next to the field that I otherwise would not have:

    • In the first half, it was very cool to hear Karina LeBlanc organize her defense. She does a lot of talking: “Right shoulder, Rach!” “Let’s go get another one!” (after the first goal)
    • Kat Williamson was basically slow dancing with Sydney Leroux all game.

    • Everyone calls Tobin Heath “Tobs” on the field.
    • No real chants to speak of from the stands, though there was a very fired up woman behind us with a Timbers Army scarf that was obviously quite into the match. Lots of youth soccer teams were announced, as well as a few birthdays.

    At the half, the Thorns did not go back to the visitor’s locker room – they stayed on the far side of the field and found a place behind their bench to sit on the ground and talk. For the halftime entertainment, a youth soccer team tried to kick balls as close as possible to the center of the pitch, while the Breakers guest drumline (they were great!) kept the crowd into it.

    In the second half, the elements became a much bigger factor. It seemed to me like both teams were pressing and it started raining fairly hard. Of course, this was interspliced with the sun breaking through the clouds, which definitely reminded me of home in Portland. Mana Shim scored in the 86th minute – one of those shots that went off the inside wheel, so it was initially difficult to tell if it had gone in at field level – and prompted a euphoric reaction from the Thorns supporters in the crowd (there were quite a few wearing Portland gear).

    The Thorns held on for the win and then I stuck around on the field to clap both teams off. Alex Morgan ran off right after doing a few interviews (she tweeted that she had to catch a flight). My ultimate PTFC highlight was seeing Christine Sinclair and Dani Foxhoven walk off the field together and thanking the University of Portland duo. I became a fan of women’s soccer after my friend Ruth was a goalkeeper on the 2005 National Championship team – she would give me her player’s allotment tickets frequently, so I saw Christine all the time. Being able to meet her in person was such a pleasure. She could not have been more gracious – came over, shook my hand, asked my name, and beamed when I talked about watching her at UP.

    I was quite fortunate with meeting players and coaches, but I know almost nobody wants to see loads of pictures (if you do, they are on my twitter). I will say that in particular, it was amazing to finally meet Joanna Lohman in person. Joanna wrote this absolutely must-read article in the prelude to the NWSL, which delves into how to grow and sustain a professional women’s soccer league – Joanna Lohman: How to market our new women’s professional league.

    It was this article that had me fired up from the very beginning about Portland having a NWSL franchise, due to everything Joanna wrote about as being necessary to grow the league. I felt confident that Soccer City, USA would rise to meet the challenge and I was inspired to help in every way that I could. This is especially important for me, because, as a high school teacher, I have students write to me all the time about wanting to follow their dreams and play sports professionally. In order for that to be a possibility for many, this league HAS to be successful. Thus, meeting Joanna and her family after the game was an incredible treat.

    The Breakers have a place called “Autograph Alley” (which was announced multiple times during the run of play – I found this to be off-putting and slightly disrespectful, but I know that the current audience for much of the league is quite young) where players go after the game to sign autographs and take pictures. Max and I were standing in the area between the alley and the locker room, watching players get besieged with requests. Every single one that was asked for something in the area obliged, from what I could see. All the players I talked to could not have been nicer.

    All in all, it was a fantastic experience, especially coming away with a sorely needed win. It has been so much fun to follow this team and help create support along with so many others. Hopefully, the ride continues all the way to the inaugural NWSL championship!

  • 07/18/2013 4:39 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    The last regular season home game vs. FCKC is on Sunday, 8/4. We’ve got exciting things planned. Want to be a part of it? Here’s your chance to get stuck in!

    We need painters all day on Saturday, July 27. If we’re still at it by the time Timbers vs. SJ airs, we’ll stream the match.

    If you’re interested in participating, send an email to twoflagladies@gmail.com with your availability, and we’ll be in touch about location and start time and all that.

    If you’re good at detail work and are available on any evenings before or after the 27th, please let us know that too.

  • 07/10/2013 4:36 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    There are four home games left in the season.

    There are eight games left in total.

    And the Portland Thorns have seemingly fallen apart.

    Goal Sidney Leroux, Goal Sidney Leroux and a second loss in a row.  The most in-form striker in the league hit twice against a Thorns side that barely looked to threaten at home.

    The previously decent defense has started letting in goals. The offense is non-existent even with the superstars on the field and even the marquee players are second guessing themselves. What then can happen at this point in the system?

    Enter Tobin Heath.

    Well, let’s look at this without Tobin for a second.

    Yes, the Thorns are still in second place. Yes, the top four teams in the NWSL go the playoffs. YES, the Thorns have only played 14 games to Sky Blue FC’s 15 and FCKC’s 15. They also still have some fantastic players. However, that is just about as many positives as can be mustered right now given the current state of play on the season. Now, let’s notice something here. The previous statement made by me says “On The Season.” The Thorns’ struggles in midfield are nothing new, they have just recently finally had the poor results to go along with the poor play in midfield. As was stated before, “I have intentionally avoided trying to make comparisons between the Thorns and the Timbers as I think it behooves us to have the Thorns stand on their own. However, I think it is very helpful now for us to compare the tenure of John Spencer to Cindy Parlow Cone in terms of play style.“

    Well, not much has changed and there have been some recent writings on the long ball futility problem that illuminate the similarities. I forgot something important in the comparison between the 2012 Timbers and the 2013 Thorns. Rather, I forgot something in terms of players. Basically the only way to compare the 2012 Timbers and the 2013 Thorns is if somehow you transported Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi onto the 2012 Timbers and then watched them struggle to get goals and chase down hopeless balls launched up field from Lovel Palmer. Whether you place them #1 and #2 or whether you just place them in the top 5, not many would argue against Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair being two of the best female players on the planet.

    On this team they are merely the #8 (Morgan) and #10 (Sinclair tied) goal scorers in the NWSL. Neither of the two players are in the top 9 of assist makers in the NWSL. There are actually no Thorns players in the top nine players for assists in the NWSL. Morgan is tied for 10th with three on the year. These goal numbers just show how stranded the players have been for service up on the front line. In the case of Sinclair, the player has been played out of position almost the entirety of this year. In the case of Morgan, what was originally a punt and score offense has slowly been shackled as the defenses have caught up with the Thorns. Morgan has looked increasingly tentative and clearly was out of sorts as she passed up a golden scoring opportunity late in the second half of the Boston Breakers game in a moment of pure “lack of confidence” that echoed throughout the stands.

    As close as the Thorns are to first place (four points) they are also that close to being out of the playoffs (four points). Given that the current schedule has the Thorns playing Western New York Flash (4th), Chicago Red Star and Sky Blue FC (1st) in the next few weeks, this time is starting to edge towards crunch time. The Thorns simply need to find a way to pick up wins against the better teams in NWSL. It would be very difficult to imagine the Thorns actually being out of the NWSL playoffs, but, given their current form and playing style, it is also becoming difficult to imagine their fortunes hanging on the acquisition of one player.

    Yet, that is really where Portland is right now. They are tied for the least goals allowed in NWSL but they also have only scored 18 goals, which gets them right at 5th in the league. For a team that acquired some of the best offensive talent in the league they are in desperate need of someone in the midfield who can set up the ball.

    And….Now…..?? Enter Tobin Heath?

    As bad as it seems to pin the entire hopes of a fanbase on one player to revamp the style of a team has been playing long ball for an entire season, that’s where Thorns fans are at this point. If anything, this stretch of play has proven that you can’t simply play well in the NWSL by lining up two world-class players and telling them to run at competent defenses over and over again. Will Tobin Heath be able to impact the Thorns positively? Well, that is the three-point question.  The idea of freeing Christine Sinclair to play forward next to Alex Morgan with Tobin Heath feeding them the ball sounds something out of a dream. Yet, given the amount of talent already on the Thorns, the question that hovers around Cindy Parlow Cone will always exist until the team shows that they have a different tactical style than those espoused by Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City.

    Watching the Boston Breakers versus Portland Thorns game, I was convinced at the end that Cone had reached her “Dreaded Vote of Confidence” moment, but with the arrival of Tobin Heath, the steady attendance of 12,000 fans and the Thorns stuck at #2 in the standings, I would hazard a guess that the fans will see a few more attempts at what Cindy Parlow Cone can do with a team. A fan for the Thorns can hope it is four points north in the standings rather than four points south.

  • 07/02/2013 4:34 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Drawing inspiration from the Portland skyline, our crest was created by local designer Matt Leamy.

    Thanks, Matt, for the work you’ve put into this. As promised, I owe you a beer.


  • 06/28/2013 4:33 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    The Cheerful Bullpen will be hosting the Riveters as we watch our Thorns take on FC Kansas City!

    Drink specials will be posted soon on the Facebook event page. As always, there will be special discounts for 107ist members.

    And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for….

    This will also be the first opportunity to purchase Rose City Riveters scarves at noon before the match. They will be $15 each; cash only. See you there!

  • 06/09/2013 4:32 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Coming off a lackluster performance against Chicago Red Star, the Thorns looked to turn around and win against FC Kansas City. Now that the perfunctory initial sentence is out of the way, lets get to the point. If the Chicago performance was akin to the offense wandering around the Sahara, then the FC Kansas City game was the attacking equivalent of hitting the lottery.

    With Kansas City coming into the game with one of the best defenses in the NWSL, the game seemed like it had the potential of turning into a test to see if the returning national team players could break the defensive solidarity in the middle of the field. Instead, the game changed quickly 12 minutes in with a FC Kansas City defensive mistake as Becky Sauerbraun failed to collect the ball, fell down and Alex Morgan rifled a shot past the outstretched hands of Barnhart. Has to be said that Barnhart awkwardly reached over her body with her right hand instead of trying to use her left. While the goal was a shot with a ton of pace on it and perhaps unstoppable, certainly it seems that a left hand in that particular situation would have allowed her a chance to deflect the shot.

    This series of events was then quickly followed up seven minutes later by a Dougherty to Wetzel combination that was finished off with aplomb into the lower right corner of the net. Wetzel has definitely been playing herself into the lineup with solid performances, assists and now goals. Down 2-0, Kansas City couldn’t rely on staying defensively compact and hoping to bury the game in a quagmire, they had to attack and so happened an enthralling back and forth affair between Portland and Kansas City that wasn’t over ’til the final whistle blew.

    While the statistics prove that a 2-0 lead is an extremely advantageous position to be in for the team up two goals, Kansas City decided to test the theorem that there is always a chance. Attacking down the right side of the field, Kansas City began creating chances and seemingly had one penalty shout denied that appeared from the stands (at least) to not be an overt foul in the box. KC kept coming at the Thorns defense as both teams traded blows. Then, Rachel Buehler made what was very poor challenge from behind on inaugural NWSL goal scorer Ranae Cuellar giving away an absolute stonewall penalty. Buehler stood up and walked away without complaint knowing full well that a penalty kick was coming. Lauren Cheney converted the chance from the spot and Kansas City pulled back a goal and the score was 2-1 Portland with only 33 minutes having gone by. Cuellar, incidentally, was worked on behind the Thorns goal for a number of minutes before finally being loaded into a wheel chair and taken off the pitch. The report on her, currently, is that X-Rays were negative and her injury is believed to be an ankle sprain.

    The half came and on the restart the two teams were back at it again. With not even two minutes gone on the clock, Morgan sent in a beautifully weighted pass into substitute Danielle Foxhoven who converted and the Thorns were back up by two goals.

    Kansas City and Portland then traded possession as the two teams seamed to believe they could score at almost any time.

    Less than ten minutes after the goal by Foxhoven, Kansas City came down the right side of the Thorns defense and another beautiful ball sent into Lauren Cheney resulted in a goal for Kansas City. Suddenly it was 3-2 and once again Kansas city and Portland swarmed forward looking for another goal.

    Ten minutes later, at 65 minutes into the game, Christine Sinclair sent in a cross that was collected by Morgan who rounded the Kansas City defense and sent in a shot that deflected off Allie Long and in for a Thorns goal putting Portland up 4-2.

    Yet… The game was STILL not done with twists and turns.

    At the 80th minute contact resulted in Alex Morgan being on the ground next to the corner flag of the North End. While the trainer came out to investigate her, even making the sub sign with her hands, the referee would have nothing of it and motioned to Morgan to get up. When Morgan did not get up immediately the referee brandished a yellow card, which was either a card for diving or a card for time wasting. Either way, Morgan jumped up and ran back onto the field smiling at the referee.

    A few seconds later, Kansas City came backdown the field and scored again off a slow bending ball that beat Karina Leblanc into the far corner of the goal sending the game to its eventual 4-3 conclusion.

    A wild game was over and Portland certainly showed that it could keep up offensively to both score goals and win the game. While the statistics show that Kansas City had more shots, less fouls and more corner kicks on the night, they lacked the ability to finish the shots when needed.

    Between this game and the last I had the privilege of speaking to a number of people about the Thorns, their style of play and building something from the ground up.  There are a lot of stylistic differences between this team and the one that shares the space in which they play, and we should not use these to compare as the play, the movement, the style and the players are different. What we can use are our eyes, the history of the game, tactics, and the players available to determine what could be happening. In order to do that though we must also look at the way in which the players respond to a coach and the way in which they respond to the other team on the field. The Thorns showed, in this particular game, the ability to respond to what the other team was giving them (at least offensively, defensively was an entirely different proposition). This was not something that they were able to do against Chicago for a full 90 minutes. If we look at the differences between how the team played and who was available for Chicago, versus who how they played and who was available against Kansas City we get at the heart of the matter.

    Simply, talented players matter in the system that Cone wants to use. This isn’t something that she should necessarily be blamed for as the acquisition and deployment of top talent successfully is not something to overlook. Yet the ability to generate offense and have a team come together without the star players allows the entirety of the team to feel their own value and contribute. In my opinion, having a dangerous team from position 1 to position 22 will lend itself to not just wins, but the building of a dominant team in the league.  As the number of international departures over the course of the season will prove, the ability of Cone to generate success from the role players on the Thorns will dictate the level of success from the team this season.

    Onward.

  • 06/02/2013 4:29 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    The result says it all. The women left the field having lost 2-0 to Chicago and the frustrations in the North End were palpable. Yet, why was there a loss and where do the Thorns live? That, as always, is in the eye of the beholder.

    With international absences due to friendlies, the Thorns lineup was shuffled. Having lost Leblanc, Buehler, Sinclair and Morgan to call ups, this game was going to be a very interesting barometer as to where the Thorns were without the star players that have really powered their record.

    Here’s the thing: for the first 30 minutes of the game, the Thorns looked a different team than we have seen all season. Without Morgan and Sinclair working up top, the team attempted (both successfully and unsuccessfully) to play the ball on the ground hitting combinations and simultaneously pinging some awful passes for turnovers. You could see that the loss of the dynamism of the top two caused a bit of a problem in terms of “who gets the ball?”, but even so there was a great interplay that resulted in a Mana Shim shot and a few scintillating plays from Angie Kerr. There were also some passes that were hit directly to Chicago players and utterly rubbish turnovers that certainly seemed the result of a lack of familiarity between players. (Which, given the stage of the season, is really an invalid excuse.)

    The dynamic of play shifted as the clock turned over into the mid 30s and Chicago started pressing, passing and attempting to disrupt the play of the Thorns. In this, the Thorns helped as they started to punt the ball back up top.

    Finally, Chicago picked up a handball call, the following play ended up generating a corner and the Red Stars player Zakiya Bywaters found herself utterly unmarked in the box firing home a header from close range. Suddenly it was 1-0 to Chicago and the game was downhill from there for the Portland Thorns. The thing that had been the reason for the Thorns record this year, the defense, fell apart, and certainly one could look and question whether an absent Rachel Buehler would have covered that ball. Unfortunately, it was more than one Thorns player who fell asleep on the play as two Red Stars players were wide open.

    Even after the goal, Portland tried to come back up the field, but the problem that would haunt them the whole game started to bite. As soon as they entered the Chicago end of the field, the ability to find someone to play a dangerous ball dried up. Frequently the Thorns would turn over the ball, hit the wrong pass, foul a player to try to recover the ball, or get into a decent position but not have any support.

    So much of the game was a frequent reminder of the 2011 and 2012 season for the Portland Timbers that I think more than a few people had a bit of deja vu. More on this later.

    Chicago had a sequence in the second half where they easily could have scored another goal as the Thorns lacked the ability to clear the ball from repeated corner kicks. Any sign of the “gameplan” from the first half vanished as the Thorns method of play devolved into 11 players behind the play aimlessly clearing the ball in any general direction that would work. The sequence at 53:00 is a perfect example of the frustration in the second half as the Thorns broke on the counter, passed a great ball out to Dougherty and the resulting cross was too high and too long.

    Time over time over time Portland would try to break out offensively only to miss the final pass, sky the final shot, or turn over the ball. Meanwhile, Chicago took advantage of poor marking again and had a brilliant ball result in another goal. This was due to (once again) absolutely abysmal player marking and more Red Stars players getting goalside of the Thorns defenders.

    In the 64th minute the Thorns had a rare chance at goal from a corner kick and the ball predictably rebounded off the post.

    Immediately, Chicago came back up the field and the Thorns defensive/midfield issues reared their heads again. Edwards was now playing so far back that she was playing as a de facto sweeper in front of the center backs, and yet still the Red Stars had another great opportunity in the 18 yard box that rebounded off the outside of the post denying them a third goal on the day.

    This sequence of play resulted in a very odd scene as Zakiya Bywaters (the goal scorer from earlier) had an apparent knee injury and was CARRIED off the field by Ella Masar. Yes, she was physically CARRIED off the field by Ella Masar. How on earth this was allowed to happen is beyond me. Was she too quick for the stretcher? Was there no Red Stars/Thorns stretcher available? I do know that the Red Stars absolutely and legitimately could have had more time come off the clock and they didn’t do this. Whatever you want to say about sportsmanship in the game, the sight of Masar carrying Bywaters off the pitch is both touching and simultaneously worrisome.

    The final 22 minutes of the game filled out in the same fashion that the second half had been conducted. The Thorns couldn’t find each other offensively and when they did they couldn’t hit a shot on goal. Meanwhile, Chicago was solid defensively; and the crowd became more and more frustrated.

    Every through ball for the Thorns was too long, every touch was a bit too hard, every shot was too high and too wide making the loss seem more inevitable as time ticked off the clock.

    Then at 76:20 Cindy Parlow Cone and assistant coach John Galas had a few words for the referee and the fourth official on the sideline. Galas was tossed from the game and this really riled up the crowd. Now here’s a quick word about the referee on the night: I think it is the prerogative of a home crowd to be passionately defensive of their own team and to chant and cheer and goad the referee into feeling like she needs to make calls. However, on this particular night, the referee wasn’t really egregiously biased against either team. Certainly she didn’t call some of the physical play, but this went for both teams. While this inability to card the right player at the right time encouraged physical play leading to some very cheap fouls, none of what she called made the Thorns fall asleep defensively on set pieces… THAT is on the players and the coach.

    Either way, the game time ran out and what we are left with is… what happened?

    Simply? Defensive lapses, and no real adjustment in the second half. While the first 30 minutes of the game offered a glimpse at something different, in the end, the Thorns showed their heavy reliance on the otherworldly talents of their missing players. I have intentionally avoided trying to make comparisons between the Thorns and the Timbers as I think it behooves us to have the Thorns stand on their own. However, I think it is very helpful now for us to compare the tenure of John Spencer to Cindy Parlow Cone in terms of play style. While the Thorns “style” has been more effective, that is really due to the fact that the Thorns possess some of the most talented players in the league. Frequently, a Spencer coached team would look like it ran out of ideas, the subs typically didn’t make enough of an impact, and they would just repeatedly try the same thing over and over and over again. This comparison hits a bit too close to home for those of us that have watched the Thorns over the course of the season.

    When we discussed the counter attack style, in an earlier recap, I remarked that the absence of the international players would test whether this style would work without the players the Thorns lucked into receiving. In this game, it didn’t.

  • 05/30/2013 4:27 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    Another away game, another blog post. Everyone ready? Ok!

    On Saturday morning, 50 of us loud and proud Thorns supporters, otherwise known as the Rose City Riveters, got together on the north side of the Convention Center. We had it all. Pickle buckets. Booze. Food. Tickets. A bus. A driver. Flags. Flags? Flags! I was supposed to remember the flags. Whoopsie! Thank goodness Lexi let me ride the bus up to Seattle after she quickly solved the problem. It’s hard out here for a first time Away Day coordinator!

    Everyone was where they needed to be early, so while I introduced myself to Randy, our trusty bus driver, folks were pregaming to get all the booze to fit in the plastic containers, because NO GLASS ON THE BUS. This was one of only a few rules for the day. I forgot to review the rules with folks as we departed, so I was glad when chants started about the SECOND most important rule on a three hour bus ride (no #2s on the bus).

    The ride up north was rather uneventful. For me anyway, as I was sitting up in the front seat where the Bus Monitor sits. The most excitement I saw was when Randy would ask me to lay down his law: no standing and drinking booze at the same time or no banging on the overhead compartments in place of a drum beat. I think those were the only two rules we didn’t follow too closely.

    Unlike the Timbers Army buses as of late, we didn’t have a keg to tap, but rather had a BYOB policy on the bus. In addition to beer and whiskey, there were also Mimosas, Fireballs, and even a Bloody Mary bar! Everyone was sharing, because we’re really just one big happy family.

    There was a pit stop just after Centralia. And not a moment too soon, from what I heard. Something about the mimosa bar folks really really needing the stop for fear that one of the cardinal rules would be violated. This stop was a whole lot different than the stops made with the Timbers Army over the last couple of years. There wasn’t a massive rush to the restroom. We didn’t have to worry about folks sneaking onto our bus to steal our beer because they ran out on the way down. Having just one bus to keep an eye on and 50 people to do their business on the stop made it actually real fast.

    Once we got up to Burien, we camped out at the Elliott Bay Brewing Co for a few hours to watch the Timbers take on DC. We got there early enough to get acquainted with the staff, and get in a few rounds of shuffleboard. Little did we know we had a tiny puck assassin among us. Let’s just say that someone had the run of the board for an hour. Much to the entertainment of almost everyone else around.

    The restaurant was a good setup for us, but could have been better with the sound in the restaurant being turned on for the game. Quite a few people joined the viewing party, which was hosted by Covert Ops, the TA branch up in Seattle. Quite a few people joined in on the fun, cheering for the boys in green. All in all, I think we were all able to drink up, eat up, and watch the boys get three more points on the road. That feeling will never get old.

    As the Bus Monitor, I only asked that everyone be ready to head over to Starfire as soon as the match was over. It seemed like everything worked out really well. I headed over to Starfire a little early to get our extra tickets from will call as well as meet Chad, who set us up for the day. When the bus arrived, everyone got their flags and came marching toward the gates. It was quite a sight to see.

    I think the stadium staff were as ready for us as they could be. As we could see, the Reign’s supporters group, the Royal Guard, has a smaller number of folks involved at this point. We were directed to the far end of the bleachers, where they used caution tape to mark off our area. I think we filled the space quite well and a lot of the other spectators on the benches moved away from us, so we must have been loud. With our flags waving and our pickle buckets as drums, we stayed standing the whole match. Which is saying something because in Seattle, you sit nice and comfortably under an overhang, watching soccer like it is a tennis match.

    Chad had asked us to stick around for a while after the match so they could get a majority of the people out of the stadium before they escorted us to the bus. I told him it wouldn’t be a problem to keep people there after the final whistle, as we would be cheering our players and coaches for a while after the victory. I was surprised to see so many people leaving the stadium early, like, 85th minute early. Guess that goal by Sinc was all they were there to see.

    Eventually it got a little awkward when we rolled up all the flags and put them in our makeshift pickle buckets and the team was still 15 feet away. We made the best of it by serenading them with such hits as REO Speedwagon’s “Keep on Loving You” (*thanks Mike*). Eventually, it was apparent they wanted us out so their kids could clean up our streamers and other messy bits from the match. We had one last stop at the indoor toilets before being herded back to Randy and our trusty bus for the trip back to Portland.

    Now, I’m not sure what shenanigans occurred on the way back, as I was the lone wolf left in Seattle for the weekend. Maybe that mystery can be solved in the comments…


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