It is rare for any media outlet to take note of the United Soccer Leagues’ First Division—the 12-team, three-country (if you count Puerto Rico, which FIFA does) loop of anonymous-to-the-wider-world clubs in which the Portland Timbers ply their humble (especially this season) trade. It is unheard of for the august international sport media to pay any attention to the competition. But, lo—The Guardian’s new Sportblog suddenly swoops in today with a story dealing with Miami FC, Atlanta Silverbacks and Minnesota Thunder, a full quarter of the Division!
The hook for the story is, of course, Romario, the aged, fertile-in-more-ways-than-one Brazilian superstar who is slumming in Miami in his quest to pile up an alleged 1,000 career goals. Romario skipped his slated appearance in Portland earlier this year—and how fortunate for the Timbers that they’re not on Miami’s remaining fixture list as their horrible season winds down. Otherwise, writer Paul Doyle would likely have slapped Portland’s beloved Men of Green with one of the uncomplimentary adjectives he applies to Miami, Atlanta and Minnesota: “rubbish,” “even more rubbish,” “pungently awful.”
Speaking of the Timbers, their match against Impact de Montreal tomorrow night will likely be a festive occasion, despite Portland’s ever-more-statistically-remote hopes of making the play-offs. The Timbers Army nurtures a rich hatred for the Quebecois club, which styles itself (with some justification) as the Class of the League. When you get that many former liberal-arts majors harboring a partisan grudge and throw in the French language, hilarity ensues.
And speaking of nice-round-number milestones, I notice that the very next XIDevils missive will be the blog’s 100th post! How shall we celebrate, kids?