David Villa, simply one of the best strikers in the world, World Cup Champion, Euro Cup Champ, etc… Suffered a broken leg, came back and now is finding his form again. It’s awesome to see guys come back from devastating injuries like that. We’ve seen it with DNA FC, with Raul, Luis and Stevie now making awesome contributions again.
This beauty of a free-kick was the first of his two goals on the night.
Interesting bit of trivia here for those new to the area. The team Villa scored against today, and that Barca was playing against in the Copa del Rey, Deportivo Alaves, is a Basque side that made a great run in UEFA a while back seemingly out of nowhere, only to lose to mighty Liverpool in a thriller. They eventually were relegated from Spain’s Primera, then from Segunda, and now play in the Segunda B, the equivalent of the 3rd Division in Spain.
Well what does his have to do with local soccer you ask? Well, our own local big club, then a 2nd Division team far from the MLS, The Portland Timbers; a team that played on a converted Baseball field made a very good habit of feasting on Deportivo Alaves’ then newly formed sister team (2006). The team, the California Victory. Ah yes, you say the legendary California Victory. Same colors, same owners, same logo kind of.
In one of the wackiest chapters in the old USL and in recent American soccer, out of nowhere an Eastern European business tycoon put a soccer team smack down in the middle of a major city, San Francisco, CA. Only nobody really noticed except our local boys the Portland Timbers who would demolish the Victory every other week. They literally played the Victory like every other week when several USL teams folded and of course the poor hapless Victory folded as well soon thereafter. To make matters worse the Timbers owners at the time, were barely hanging on, or shrouded in mystery or interested more in baseball. That was pro soccer in the USA just less than 10 years ago, well at least in PDX.
I happened to sit through a few of those matches in old PGE Park, and it wasn’t what we’d call the beautiful game, but the drinks and food were cheap at least, maybe 3,000 fans dispersed in maybe 3 sections, and a beer garden, it felt normal then but weird too. As a player, it would give you an even weirder feeling, knowing that you could probably walk on the
pitch err…cement and pretty easily give it a better go since the quality of play was so dubious at times, and that’s after having sipped on a couple of cheap cold ones in the stands. Maybe it was the cold ones talking…who knows… Some of the play was good enough to wonder if MLS could work in PDX, and yet some of the quality was unfortunate, but it could still bring a smile for better or worse. I wore turf shoes to matches just in case.
It’s funny how far the local soccer scene has come, a true soccer revolution the NW. Take tonight for example, the USWNT is in town and it barely causes anyone to flinch anymore. You walk through a local mall and you see all these new Timbers supporters with scarves, young and old proudly displaying their kits, you turn the television on and national broadcasters are falling all over themselves praising the Timbers their supporters, the atmosphere etc.. At the time, very few people locally had even heard of or knew the Timbers even existed or still existed. It’s all mind blowing really. Continue reading