Please Rebuild Peter Crouch to Human Specifications!

Ah, but the oddly constructed Liverpool striker hit a good ‘un yesterday, pushing the generally indifferent Reds past schizoid Galatasaray. The Turkish club may have lost, but still has one of the greatest names in football.

Football—that’s right. It’s out there. It’s been a big week in the game personally, locally, nationally and internationally, but Yrs Trly has been up to his pretentious-third-person eyeballs in other matters. So let’s make do with a quick kick-about, eh?

—After three indoor games in the space of eight days, my 31-year-old body feels like it’s on the verge of self-vaporization. The Muckrakers, the all-journalists team I play for in what must be the 29th division at Beaverton’s relatively plush SoccerPlex, haven’t quite, er, found their form yet. To wit, we finally scored our first goal in a looooooooong time last weekend, and then got positively greedy by forcing an own-goal. Of course, we let in—I don’t know—seven or something. Almost needless to say, I played keeper during the second half.

Across town at brand-new Portland Futsal, Albina Going FC managed its first-ever “result” in a bombastic 10-10 draw with ADP II. Yeah, yeah—we had a couple players in “on one-day loan” from Real Sur, but it was an unprecedented performance for three reasons. 1) No one puked. 2) No one was sent off. 3) We didn’t lose. In fact, we almost won, surrendering the equalizer with just seconds remaining. Almost needless to say, I was playing keeper. The Mighty Unicorns will revel in that newly minted self-confidence next week, when our Tuesday night fixture pits us against some team callled “Juventus.” Ouch. Surely that’s a bit draconian even for repeated match-fixing?

—Chris Agnello, instantly unpopular coach/GM of the Portland Timbers, went buh-bye this week. His replacement, former New Zealand international (oh! words that strike fear into the heart of footballers everywhere!) Gavin Wilkinson, has been with our beloved local side since its refoundation in 2001, first as a player, now as a coach (except when we’re short numbers, in which case he becomes a player again). I’m tentatively calling this a fantastic move: Agnello endeared himself to no one, presided over an awful season and offered no visible plan for improvement. Wilkinson, on the other hand, is a fiery field warrior and winning personality who might both grow into his role and push the club into a better future.

—The Chicago Fire, one of three MLS sides I’ve personally laid eyes on this season (charitably including New York Red Bulls), won the US Open Cup last night. Portland boy Nate Jaqua tallied for the victors. Three cheers for Miss O’Leary United and Section 8, the Timbers Army’s unofficial sister supporters association. Too bad one of the coolest, most historic and most distinctive events in American sports can muster a crowd of just 8,000.

—Across the lake, the Brit press is in a patronizing twitter over rumo(u)rs that Freddie Adu will join fellow yanquis Bobby Convey and Marcus Hahnemann at Reading FC. I don’t quite believe it, but it did prompt me to look up Reading’s history on Wikipedia—perhaps the most jaw-droppingly relentless chronicle of mediocrity in world sport. Founded: 1871. Played in the top flight: Never, until this year. All the same, the Royals are the most charming story of the Premiership this year, and young Convey is afire. It *might* be good for Adu to start his Euro career at a small, over-achieving club where he could make an immediate impression; frankly, I’d rather see him in Spain than in England, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Premiership! Premiership! Premiership! Yeah, yeah….

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About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
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