What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
After 45 minutes, I saw flashbacks. Not intensive ones, mind, but some light ones that made me think "Oh, no. It's Wednesday again." Of course, it wasn't Wednesday, and in the end, it turned out nothing like it. Which was good, you know, because last night was a lot of fun. Beating the Timbers — hapless on the road, despite their traveling fan base — was on the menu, and it was done to perfection.
Bad metaphors aside, it was a fun one to watch. The first half was a little tentative, and there were a few factors that played into that. First, we had three players in the side who hadn't been in for some time: Paulo Jr., Ned Grabavoy, and Jamison Olave. It was a little stop-start as they found their feet or, in the case of Ned, had their feet taken away and exited the match. Paulo Jr., for his part, looked bright and active and nearly got on the end of a couple great balls played through the middle, showing that he does indeed bring something unique and valuable to our side. Jamison Olave found his feet pretty quickly, and though he exited the match as a precaution, really looked like his dominating self once again.
Once everyone found their feet and both calmed down (on the ball, of course) and got a bit feisty (more off the ball than anything), things got rather heated. Javier Morales was scythed down time after time after time, and I wanted just to scream. I probably did. To watch one of the best players the league has seen treated to troglodytic rotational fouling was frustrating at best. The referee, for his part, tried to keep things even keel, but scissor tackles from behind — you know, the ones that actually break legs and ankles sometimes — deserve red cards, and he should have shown at least one earlier than he did.
Then, of course, there was that coming together — right after that dangerous scissor tackle, mind — when I thought red cards were forthcoming. Jason praised the side for rushing to Javier's defense like they did, being rather accepting of Will's feisty approach and ensuing yellow card and everyone else's rushing in. We all felt like it, but they did it for us. If we're not going to see the league stop these tackles, then perhaps we need to step in and do it ourselves. Our team, I mean. Not the fans. Pitch-rushing is probably a bad idea.
How about Saborio, though? A hat trick was no less than he deserved, and he nearly had four, five or maybe even more. Probably not more than six, given that he only took six shots, but you know, those three goals were spectacular. Well, one of them was a penalty, but it was a well-taken penalty, and that's pretty alright by me.
That first goal was a right beauty. A floated-in ball from Kyle Beckerman found the head of Saborio, who just nudged the ball into the far corner. Saborio, on top of his game, was at about the penalty spot when he rose for that ball. The defending may not have been the best, but even one-on-one with the keeper, most strikers would just either put that wide or straight on, neither of which would have resulted in that spectacular goal. Add in a bit of pressure, and you've got a very difficult finish. Trade who, now?
The second goal was just as good. Chris Wingert, just on the edge of the attacking third and on the left flank, swung a spectacular cross in that bounced in front of the first defender, leaving Saborio free to peel off his defender and just drive one home with his head. Perkins came for it but didn't come quite far enough, and that was a beautiful little goal from our striker-in-chief.
The build-up to the third goal was quite nice, too. Javier Morales won a corner, flighted it in, Saborio (who else?) hit it with pace and power, and Diego Chara stopped the ball from crossing the line. Which is all fine and good, I suppose, but he did it with his hand. A big no-no, if I'm allowed to use the term. Please say yes. He stopped the Saborio hat trick once, but he couldn't do it a second time, as Saborio slotted the penalty with aplomb. 3-0, no less than we deserved. Chara, for his role, was sent off, which was nice, as I really thought he should have been sent off for hacking down Javi. Those are the breaks, I suppose, and in the end, soccer won out.
I'll take on the statistics of it all tomorrow, but for now, I'm just going to celebrate. And eat some breakfast (despite it being nearly 1 p.m.) because I'm quite hungry. Thankfully, I'm less hungry for a win than I was, as I've been sated by one Alvaro Saborio and his hat trick.