September 23, 2007

ONTO THE FINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edit: Damn, somebody find me a picture of the USL-1 Championship Trophy. You think it'd be on the USL site, but I can't find it. (Editor- Ask and ye shall receive, from Vancouver last year...)

As unbelievable as it may sound, the Silverbacks ARE IN THE USL-1 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. I must admit, I didn't give them much of a chance today, and after the first half I was sure Portland was going to score the goal that Atlanta would be unable to answer.

But Ryan McIntosh made a couple of big saves and the boys kept it scoreless.

And in all honesty, I've got to applaud Jason Smith's subs. He got a lot more out of Wolfe and Ukah than he did Antoniuk and Millwood, but once again the Rivillo for Liendo sub changed the game. The Silverbacks finally had an offensive option besides playing the longball which was cut out by Portland all night. Rivillo opened things up in midfield and got the traffic going the other way for a little while, even though the chances on goal were extremely few and far between.

The first period of extra time was the best spell Atlanta had all game, they actually had some sustained possession, even if they couldn't get much on goal.

And they managed to hold off the Timbers in the second period, when they came out throwing everything forward. Portland came out on fire in the final 15, but they were stopped once again.

And what was I thinking back to going to PKs? The US Open Cup game against FC Dallas. McIntosh came up huge but his teammates let him down. It looked to be more of the same as Rodrigo stepped up for the first and blasted it over the bar (according to the FSC announcers, due to the fact that they were on a commercial break when it happened).

But luck was on their side as Andrew Gregor smacked his off the post. Rivillo and Macoumba stepped up and smoothly put their kicks past Josh Wicks, with Portland scoring in between. But then the Timbers' kicker put his wide left and Ukah put his in.

Then McIntosh stepped up and showed why he's probably going to be back in MLS next season, stopping the last kick and sending me into shock.

Although rumors are abound on the USL Discussion forums that Qwest Field is already booked for Saturday night (Seattle, as the higher seed, has the first bid for the championship), I'm already looking into flights to Seattle.

And for some of us with little cash, AirTran has this kickass Bill Me Later option that might help. Mark my words, the Cupcake Nation will be represented, whether the game be in Seattle, Tukwila or Atlanta.

So register and leave your comments. And remember, NOW'S THE TIME TO CELEBRATE AND COME TOGETHER. All the haters, cry me a fvcking river.

Edit: Seattle has announced that they'll be hosting the game in Tukwila at the Starfire Sports Complex.


Kinney said...

Umm, isn't that a picture of the Dewar Trophy and not the USL Championship Trophy/Cup? Either way, I will be rooting for the Silverbacks, mostly because Longshoe is a United fan as well. Good luck and keep up the good work with the blog.

KevK said...

The 'backs seemed to have a hell of a time adjusting to that astroturf. That had to play some small part in being unable to generate any offense in the first 60 minutes.

El Güero said...

Thanks Shoe. The only pictures I found were of Seattle players with the trophy, and I figured that would be a bad omen if I posted them.

Fred said...

Well played to the 'Backs. As my daughter said around the 75th minute "We (the Timbers) really need to practice our shooting." She also said something about "hoping it would go to PKs" about 10 minutes in. Luckily she's 9 or I would have disowned her for such a thing.

She's right, tho--when you have 2x the shots, you have to convert (and certainly your keeper was as amazing as we were unlucky.) But as these things go, the longer we were unable to put the ball into the net, the more you could see the game slipping away into the dreaded "PK crapshoot" (if not just a single golden ball of death in the waning stages of regulation or extra-time.

Oh well, saves me from having to drive to seattle on Saturday. Good luck to the 'Backs...

Longshoe said...

I thought it would be Atlanta who would be in trouble if the series stayed level as the game went on. Glad I was wrong, and I'm glad McIntosh is in a Silverbacks uniform. The guy has been a beast in big games against top teams this year, and he continued that Sunday night.

Question, did the lack of calm coming from the Portland coach (flipping off the Atlanta fans on Friday, blaming refs after the game Sunday) hurt the team? A coach's emotions can have an effect on the players on the field at times, did it here?

bj said...

The coaches tantrums may cost him a chance at the Coach of the Year award. You are right. I also believe his demeanor affects the team. Just look at Sweitzer(sp) and the Railhawks.

Fred said...

Didn't get to see but the last 10 minutes of the game in atlanta, but as far as the refereeing was concerned (in PDX), it might have been bad, but it was bad both ways. It seemed as if the ref was doing so much to not influence the game, he seemed willing to let it get out of hand at times.

Then again, the ref ain't out there attempting the same route one pass to oblivion every time--making the same "one pass too many" and thinking that 5' 6" 110# Brian Jordan (timbers #26) could take on whomever that freak silverbacks #26 (what is he, 8' 2" 400#?) again and again and again.

Yeah, mebbe portland's coach was in his own players' heads (getting tighter as the game wore on). It was pretty obvious that we really didn't have much of an answer outside of direct play down the right side, and, well, all the (lack of) calls in the world doesn't make up for that.

I have a feeling that Portland will be investing in a little offense for next season.

Fred said...

and wow, can I say the same thing three different ways in a row? Maybe I should be applying to be an ESPN announcer.

BTW, don't know about anyone else, but the whole 'lilywhites' look? It's like the "anti-slimming" look. :-)

bj said...

I believe McIntosh has signed at least through next year with the Silverbacks.