A Cheap Holiday In Other People’s Misery

The attentive Eleven Devils reader (and I know you’re out there, lurking amid the Interporn) will note a dearth of comment on the Portland Timbers Football Club of late. That’s because I, uh, haven’t actually been to a match yet this year. This makes my second consecutive year of atrocious attendance, but, uh…well, I was there at the beginning! For real! Back in the day when the Timbers Army consisted of a couple guys with buckets and a few local ska enthusiasts! There are photos that prove it! Seriously! Rose City ’til I die, if I had the wings of an eagle, etc., etc…..

In my absence, it seems the Timbers have an intriguing, if typically muddled, campaign going in the exalted United Soccer Leagues First Division. (A real league: look it up!) They won a bunch of matches to start, made an earnest run at the world record for consecutive draws, and now can’t seem to buy a goal. The big away match against ever-hated Equipe L’Impact de Montreal takes place tonight before Stade Saputo’s crowd of rabid Quebecois nationalists and the vast continental television audience of Fox Soccer Channel. We have a way of winning at Montreal—or, at least, it has happened—and three points would put us in a very peachy slot in the table. So, on balance, things are looking up, especially compared to a couple of the trainwreck seasons we’ve endured in living memory.

But that is emphatically not what I’m excited about. No. The most exciting thing to happen to the Club, probably ever, comes in the form of the US Open Cup, the venerable (one of the oldest Cup comps in the world, in fact) knock-out tournament that is, like the name says, open to clubs from all levels of competitive soccer. A star-crossed tournament at best for the Timbers in past years, this time the Cup yields a fantastic, totally hilarious first-round fixture. On 10 June, the Timbers will host—yes, that’s right!—HOLLYWOOD UNITED, the world’s most glamourous pub team. They say football makes people happy, and it must be true: ever since I heard about this pairing, I’ve been on the edge of uncontrolled mirth.

Hollywood United, see, was founded by a dude from the Sex Pistols, a couple guys from The Cult and one of the guys from Def Leppard who had all his limbs. Ziggy Marley—Ziggy Marley—has played for one of its several sides, as have a revolving cast of Commonwealth-inflected showbiz also-rans (I guess “B-List United” didn’t have quite the right ring…) and retired pros. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Ziggy, Robbie Williams or Vinnie Jones (!) are in the current first-team squad. Still, the prospect of taking on a club run by a bunch of puffy ex-rock stars is delicious. You just can’t make this stuff up.

Now, all we have to do is beat them. No problem. Right?

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About zachdundas

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