This is sad. Sad, sad, sad. A proud, beloved club, the Mighty Mighty Timbers, goes down in flames to something called the Virginia Beach Mariners. The 3-1 loss, rich with indignity (the Verdebianci stuck ancient assistant coach Gavin Wilkinson into the XI; managed just three shots; removed dynamic Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar in the 55th minute; gave up an assist to the opposing *goalkeeper*), pushed the Timbers' winless streak to approximately 157.
After an encouraging midseason run, first-year manager/GM Chris Agnello's putative "new direction" looks just about set to blow apart at the rivets. He signed two fresh MLS cast-offs this week, which is either an encouraging sign of undying fight or a desperate may-day, take your pick. Does he know what he's doing? No one can tell, but the only empirical evidence is not encouraging. Agnello promised both to "build from the back" and produce a faster, more fluid and exciting futbol than the stolid English-Second-Division-Circa-1978 style that characterized the Bobbyball era. These days, we ain't gettin' either.
Over on the Timbers Army board, depression is approaching mid-winter levels. The only consolation—the only hope in sight—is that of the season's last seven games, six are at home. The last away match comes Saturday against the 3-10-3 (and likely marked for extinction after this season) Toronto Lynx. So a Great Escape to the playoffs may theoretically be possible. Unfortunately, Portland has played more games already than any team in the league, making their spawning run against the mathematical tide that much harder. One of those final games is against the fantastique Montreal Impact, which has lost just twice and is four points clear of the second-place Charleston Battery...with two games in hand.
Grim times, brothers and sisters, grim times.