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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Portland Timbers great run goes near unnoticed

This past weekend our greenclad crew took the field in Rochester against the Rhinos and, despite the loss of Cameron Knowles the week before, the Timbers scored four solid goals and nailed down the match. Here we are with seven matches left in the season, leading the league with a game in hand, and not having lost a league match since the beginning of the season. And once again, what's our local newspaper and other media doing to cover this stunning run toward a championship? Not much. The Big O's article after Saturday's victory might have earned four column inches; I didn't bother to measure. There was a full third page covering three different national Little League tournaments...not to mention other sports whose interest to Portlanders must be marginal at best.

I know this subject has caused me to grumble before, but I see two losses here. One is that the failure to really talk about the Timbers great season means that there's less likelihood they'll sell more tickets, draw more viewers, and be economically successful. This isn't just about my prejudice in favor of soccer, but about the relationship between reporting on newsworthy things and the economy. The other loss is that The Oregonian misses a chance to give real substantive coverage about something important to a segment of the community and to thereby strengthen its credibility at the place to turn for news.

What could they cover? How about letting readers know where today's Timbers stand against other USL teams four fifths of the way through a season. How about telling readers about how to to stream the games free and live on their computers? How about interviewing the team more frequently? Give a fan a weekly column? Discuss this Timbers' side in comparison to the legendary Timbers of the NASL and other runs. How about some stats? Keita is the leading scorer in the League I believe- could we talk about his background? How about covering Takayuki's growth as a player making adjustments to playing here? How about a discussion of the impact of MLS teams pulling their loaned players on the fortunes of USL teams?

It saddens me that we may be looking at the hottest team in the history of the USL and it's treated with less attention than the suffering Portland Beavers. Come on people! This is news!

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