Washington Capitals Minor League Affiliate History at

CAL Competition

I live in an area where the Capital Affiliate League is really popular (DC, MD, VA area). It's a team competition where teams of 8 compete against other boxes in the area. I'm really strong; one of the strongest girls at my box, but I'm usually very slow. Has anyone who's not fast competed in something like this? I know I can do the lifts but I'm wondering if I should even bother attempting when I may slow my team down.
Here are examples of some of the workouts. If you were strong, but not fast, would you participate?
http://community.capitalaffiliateleague.com/pages/2014WinterChampionship
submitted by Maemae97 to crossfit [link] [comments]

[Johnson] One emerging candidate for Wizards’ G League affiliate (Capital City Go-Go) head coach position is Oklahoma City Blue assistant Jarell Christian, league sources tell @2Ways10Days.

[Johnson] One emerging candidate for Wizards’ G League affiliate (Capital City Go-Go) head coach position is Oklahoma City Blue assistant Jarell Christian, league sources tell @2Ways10Days. submitted by Robotsaur to washingtonwizards [link] [comments]

Capital City Go-Gos, the Washington Wizards’ NBA G League affiliate, have selected Quinton Chievous as part of their expansion draft roster.

submitted by Boomd420 to SCWarriors [link] [comments]

[Sports] - Bustin' Loose: Wizards name new G League affiliate the Capital City Go-Go | Washington Post

[Sports] - Bustin' Loose: Wizards name new G League affiliate the Capital City Go-Go | Washington Post submitted by AutoNewspaperAdmin to AutoNewspaper [link] [comments]

[Sports] - Bustin' Loose: Wizards name new G League affiliate the Capital City Go-Go

[Sports] - Bustin' Loose: Wizards name new G League affiliate the Capital City Go-Go submitted by AutoNewsAdmin to WAPOauto [link] [comments]

[Sports] - Capitals reassign rookie Zach Sanford to American Hockey League affiliate | Washington Post

[Sports] - Capitals reassign rookie Zach Sanford to American Hockey League affiliate | Washington Post submitted by AutoNewspaperAdmin to AutoNewspaper [link] [comments]

[Sports] - Capitals reassign rookie Zach Sanford to American Hockey League affiliate

[Sports] - Capitals reassign rookie Zach Sanford to American Hockey League affiliate submitted by AutoNewsAdmin to WAPOauto [link] [comments]

TIL the capitalized, spaced-apart name "Tee Ball" is a registered trademark in the US, by a church-affiliated Florida league; the abbreviated "T-Ball" (stylized "T-BALL" in logos), is trademarked by a national, non-profit, secular league.

TIL the capitalized, spaced-apart name submitted by deputy_diarrhea to todayilearned [link] [comments]

A Letter from the CEO - James Ferguson

I’m James Ferguson, CEO of Immutable and Gods Unchained. In addition to Chris Clay’s recent State of the Beta, I wanted to give an overview of our journey with Gods Unchained and where we’re heading.
Gods Unchained has always had a grand vision. When we sat down to plan it, we knew exactly what we wanted: to combine the magic of physical card ownership with the convenience and fun of digital TCGs. To build the first AAA quality game with blockchain assets at its core.
When Gods Unchained was conceived, Immutable had 3 employees, but only two desk seats at a coworking space… We then grew to 10 full-time and our first playable version of Gods Unchained. Today, we have our own office, and 63 incredibly talented people who are hard at work building something important.
In that time we’ve made many learnings, with the main ones I’d like to talk about being:
On Play to Earn...
How important can a new TCG really be? Gods Unchained is the first example of a new type of game, a game which radically shifts the relationship between players and developers. A lot of you will already know this, but for those who don’t, it’s important to understand what exactly Gods Unchained does differently, and why the biggest gaming investor in the world and the biggest public crypto company in the world think it is the first example of an entirely new genre of game.
In the physical world, if I sell you a shirt, it’s yours. You can wear it, sell it, store it in your basement or destroy it – like I said, it’s yours. However, if you bought a shirt from Target, and they told you that (1) you couldn’t lend it to a friend and that (2) they could take it from you at any time, you’d correctly refuse to buy it: that’s (at best) a rental, not a sale. However, in the digital worlds of modern free to play (F2P) gaming, this is exactly what happens. Companies sell you a virtual shirt that you have absolutely no legal rights over. Last year, F2P games made $87B using this model. None of it went to players. We’re determined to change this.
While tradable assets are not new in games, what’s new is the power that trustless ownership, programmable assets and the infrastructure of the Ethereum network bring to the table. These go beyond simply buying and selling in-game items, as it’s the things that allow users to creatively utilize assets beyond the game that really excite us – like smart contracts being able to interface with your digital assets to create new ways to earn. The potential we see in this space grows with every day that Gods Unchained expands.
The Play to Earn process is the foundation of our game, and every iteration is based around the above ethos of true, trustless ownership. We’ve had a few iterations of this so far, and we’re constantly learning from these segments in order to build out more instances in the future.
One of the biggest scaling potentials for Play to Earn comes from our work with StarkWare on building out Immutable X so that our players and buyers can capitalize on the bonuses of blockchain (namely: trustlessness & programmability) without being hindered by the downsides (gas fees & limited output).
The learnings we’ve gained from the Genesis Raffle and the Flux & Fusing system have shown us what Play to Earn needs to take off and run in a sustainable manner, and Immutable X is a big key to carving this out as we forge ahead.
On blockchain’s potential...
Immutable X also helps reinforce the creation of user-built tools. Blockchain assets create a space where anyone can build an extension to Gods Unchained’s asset system. Here, users have complete freedom to interact with these extensions, with no input from Immutable. We believe that you are, after all, best placed to make that call.
When this is combined with upcoming guaranteed Immutable X fees for affiliates and sites who drive liquidity, this means that now is an exciting time to be building community tools for Gods Unchained, and we’re incredibly grateful for those talented people who are doing so now. When we first started, we had a few ideas of what could happen in this space, but we’re endlessly surprised (and impressed!) with what the community is doing in this space.
Outside of Immutable X, there are other infrastructure spaces showing huge potential on the Ethereum network that have come to our attention, the most recent being the billions of dollars locked in decentralized finance (DeFi). How we can deliver more value to our players and buyers based on the inherent interoperable nature of cards and chests is a question constantly at the forefront of our minds, and DeFi has the potential to become an extremely exciting area for this, but one we’re only just starting to explore.
For example, Genesis and Season 1 chests are ERC20 tokens and therefore compatible with many existing DeFi primitives. While they are unopened, there are some wild ways in which they can be plugged into the wider ecosystem, such as:
These are simply ideas at this stage, but we’ll have more on this soon...
On going mainstream...
So where are we with Gods Unchained? Are we ready to take advantage of these benefits, and to take the game to a million plus players? I’ll be honest: not just yet. We’re extremely keen to do this, and we have the money to simply purchase a large number of new users. But we know that, for any influx of players to be long-term sustainable, we need the following:
  1. Improvements to the UX of onboarding
  2. Improvements to the core loop of the game (e.g. the aforementioned Play to Earn)
  3. Scalability and liquidity for asset trading
We are continuing to explicitly focus on these problems, both in isolation and holistically. We want to create an enormous Gods Unchained economy, and this is where Immutable X’s function is at its most important, as it will keep the economy intertwined to progression through the Gods Unchained experience. This will enable us to retain mainstream users long term while creating value inside our existing economy.
With these changes and mobile in the works, we think that Gods Unchained will be ready to start scaling to the big leagues and hit the goal of 1M players.
The upcoming season will quite possibly be the last time where Gods Unchained is still quite niche, for early blockchain enthusiasts and some TCG players rather than all mainstream players. As we complete the final necessary pieces of the Gods Unchained ecosystem, the next step function planned is growth: for the playerbase, market and liquidity.
We think all of these upcoming opportunities are incredibly exciting, and it makes coming in to work each day both a joy and a rollercoaster. TCGs are popular – centralised games like Hearthstone have had their annual revenue estimated at over $400M. This revenue is essentially from selling a license to use non-sellable cards for entertainment. What Ethereum is doing to finance, by being programmable money, we aim to do to Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering by creating programmable cards and packs, and real markets.
For our players and fans, we are so grateful that you’ve been on this journey with us. We’ve grown immensely in the past year, and so has our ability to work effectively as a team and prioritize the most important tasks to both us, as a company, and you, the community (a balancing act that could count as the fourth major learning in this piece). We think we’re about to enter the phase where the journey becomes increasingly interesting and we’re excited to share this next part with you.
Sincerely,
James Ferguson, Immutable CEO
submitted by Immutable_Team to GodsUnchained [link] [comments]

What a USL D1 league might look like

TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there.
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
  1. All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
  2. MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
  3. The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
  4. All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
  5. The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
  6. Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined.
Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem.
Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal.
Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021.
Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something.
Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there.
Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital.
Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option.
Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club.
Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close.
Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.”
Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history.
Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be.
Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price.
Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage.
Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s?
Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed.
Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem.
Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach.
Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining?
Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock.
Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it.
Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface.
Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf…
Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support.
Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League:
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Miami FC
North Carolina FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
New Mexico United
Phoenix Rising FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Orange County SC
San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories.
Firm “yes”
Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here.
Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million.
Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in.
Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami?
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league.
Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on.
Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer.
San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle.
Cautious “yes”
New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted.
North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black.
Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight.
San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through.
Cautious “no”
Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in.
Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue.
Austin Bold FC: See the other two above.
FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top.
Firm “no”
Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk.
Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances.
El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse.
Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid.
Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship:
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Memphis 901 FC
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year:
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
South Georgia Tormenta
FC Tucson
Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion.
USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs.
USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small.
USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
submitted by Soccervox to USLPRO [link] [comments]

Ranking the names of G-League teams

I’ve decided to rank all of the NBA G-League team names. The criteria includes relevance to locale, relevance to affiliate team and coolness, with coolness being absolutely the strongest determining factor. If I feel like I would be proud to root for a team with that name, it’s a good name.
They are in no particular order within tiers, just whatever was convenient.
S-Tier —
Greensboro Swarm (Hornets): The Greensboro Swarm is a G-League name done right. It references the affiliate franchise without ripping it off, and it straight up just works well as a name. Anyone should be glad to root for the Swarm - it’s professional and inclusive of its fans. I’d say it’s even cooler than its affiliate. I bet some day it will have just as many championships as the Hornets, too!
Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat): Already, this one doesn’t really follow any of the criteria except that it’s fucking cool. I have no idea what the name “Skyforce” has to do with the area, the Heat or anything really, but it’s badass. It conjures images of Jimmy Butler smashing through the ceiling like one of the ODST guys from Halo and dunking on some washed up ex-pro in South Dakota.
A-Tier —
Maine Red Claws (Celtics): This one has interesting ties to the area and to the affiliate. Obviously there’s the Maine lobster reference, but they also picked it because it referenced Red Auerbach. Pretty good name on its own, too, but doesn’t quite feel like a pro franchise.
Wisconsin Herd (Bucks): I know this is technically the same as the Greensboro Swarm, but it’s just not nearly as cool. Sorry, Giannis.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets): It’s a cool name, it’s got local links, it’s just a bit too long. I know that’s not really the fault of the franchise, but sometimes you’re just unlucky and your name is an A-tier instead of an S-tier. At least they win those G-League trophies, though.
Canton Charge (Cavaliers): Intrinsically, it’s a decent name. It works well with the affiliate franchise and it’s got the same alliteration going on. It just feels a bit generic. Maybe I just have a personal vendetta against verbs being used as sports names.
B-Tier —
College Park Skyhawks (Hawks): It’s not exactly inspired - it’s just tacking “sky” at the start of “Hawks” - but it’s a good name on its own. If there weren’t already a Hawks franchise, it could fit in the NBA. Points off for lack of creativity still.
Delaware Blue Coats (76ers): It’s pretty middle of the road as far as names go. Sure, it has some history behind it and it works well regionally, but it just doesn’t have that ring to it, y’know? I can’t see a franchise with that name lasting in the NBA. And no, I am definitely not bitter that a certain organization in Columbus swept my team...
Texas Legends (Mavericks): It just feels like “Legends” has nothing to do with anything - it feels like a random name selected solely to sound good. It’s not nearly as cool as the Skyforce, either. Still, I could see myself being a Legends fan. Sure, why not.
C-Tier —
Erie BayHawks (Pelicans): It’s not an objectively bad name, but somehow capitalizing the “H” in “BayHawks” just makes it so much more amateurish. It also has nothing to indicate that it’s owned by the Pelicans, and in fact you could easily mistake it for an Atlanta affiliate. Still, it works locally, and it would be cool if they just made it a solid word.
Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder): Very uninspired, but they didn’t have much to work with and it still feels kind of cool. You’re on thin ice, Oklahoma. You were on thin ice before when you stole the team from Seattle, but that ice just got six feet thinner.
Grand Rapids Drive (Pistons): I’m just not feeling this one. You could have gone a different direction, but you just pick a verb that loosely relates to the affiliate franchise. If they put more effort into it, it could work, but as it stands I just can’t ever see myself rooting for the Drive, especially if their court is anything like the Pistons in 2K where I have to sim through every game against them because it actually causes blindness.
D-Tier —
Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz): Probably the most generic sports name possible. Has nothing to do with the Jazz or the local area except maybe that you can see the stars at night in Utah? Just pick something to do with mountains. Or Mormons. Or both. The Utah Mountain Mormons is an S-tier name. Pay me.
Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies): It’s like the Drive, except it doesn’t even make any sense. What does “hustle” have to do with this team? Not going to go with something bear related to match up with the Grizzlies? It probably has something to do with the Grizzlies formerly owning the Iowa Energy, but if you’re gonna rebrand, rebrand! Be the Cubs or something, perfectly good name!
Raptors 905 (Who could it be?): At least they tried a little bit by adding on the iconic area code. I gotta give them credit there.
E-Tier —
This tier is reserved for those teams I have dubbed “low-effort affiliate copies,” where they didn’t change anything from their affiliate except the city name. This includes the Long Island Nets, Westchester Knicks, Windy City Bulls, Lakeland Magic, Agua Caliente Clippers, Northern Arizona Suns, Santa Cruz Warriors, South Bay Lakers, Stockton Kings and Austin Spurs. I’ll throw the Iowa Wolves on there for good measure.
F-Tier —
Capital City Go-Go (Wizards): The “Capital City” part isn’t bad, but Jesus, “Go-Go” is just awful on a whole new level. The only way to save this franchise is if the players are actually dressed in rubber boots and miniskirts. That’ll make me an automatic fan.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers): They could have been the Lightning, Fire or Coyotes. They picked Mad Ants. I get that it’s a reference to the city’s namesake, “Mad” Anthony Wayne, but it’s just so horrendously bad. Any basketball team you can step on probably isn’t a good name.
(Sorry if I shit on your favorite G-League team! I know you all follow the G-League very closely!)
submitted by Rularuu to nba [link] [comments]

r/padres demographic survey results

On Wednesday, I posted a survey on this subreddit. After a few days (and 580 responses!), I closed it down to compile the results. Now, here they are.
First of all though, I’d like to thank anyone who responded. It was interesting to see what everyone responded with, whether or not the results were interesting.
Now, let’s get started.

What is your gender?

https://i.imgur.com/sbijgdj.png
Gender Num. %
Male 555 95.8%
Female 22 3.6%
Prefer not to say 2 0.4%
“Inter-dimensional hivemind” 1 0.2%
Reddit is primarily concentrated by men, and padres is no exception to this rule. Nearly 96% of the respondents to the survey identified as male, with only around 3.5% of respondents identifying as female. Only three people total either preferred not to say, or said something else (“inter-dimensional hivemind”).

What is your age?

https://i.imgur.com/Fpncw9V.png
Age Num. %
Prefer not to say 1 0.2%
Under 18 28 4.8%
18 to 20 48 8.3%
21 to 24 119 20.6%
25 to 29 164 28.4%
30 to 35 130 22.5%
36 to 45 69 11.9%
46 to 55 19 3.3%
56 or older 0 0.0%
The subreddit is (like most of reddit) pretty young, with more than half of the respondents saying they’re 29 or younger. Of the users, 30% of the responders were either 20 or younger, or 36 or older, which (to be honest) wasn’t that surprising.

Where are you from?

https://i.imgur.com/K60xVi6.png
Location Num. %
Within San Diego County 401 69.4%
SoCal, but outside of SD County 46 8.0%
Northern California 17 2.9%
Outside of CA; within the US 90 15.6%
Outside of the U.S. 23 4.0%
Prefer not to say 1 0.2%
This question was a little unclear, so I’m sorry for that. I had meant where you are currently, not where you were born.
Regardless, the vast majority of respondents were Americans, with only 23 (4.0%) saying they were outside of the U.S. Of those Americans, the vast majority were also from San Diego County. I was surprised at the relatively small amount of Padres fans that said they were from California, but not San Diego (65, 10.9%), which is actually less than the amount that said they were from outside of California (90, 15.6%), especially since Orange County and Temecula aren’t too far from Petco, and Lake Elsinore currently has the Padres’ A+ team.

How did you become a Padres fan?

How Num. %
Grew up in San Diego 458 79.0%
My parents were Padres fans 228 39.3%
I liked their players 142 24.5%
Other reasons 60 10.3%
I liked their logos/unis/etc. 41 7.1%
I chose a team at random 5 0.9%
I’m not a Padres fan 0 0.0%
Most respondents either grew up in San Diego, or became Padres fans because of their parents. There was a large variety of responses beyond that, that gave a lot of other reasons (including a respondent who claimed he was friends with the Leitner family, and one who said his family worked with the Padres).

What is your favorite Padres color scheme?

https://i.imgur.com/8VLtJ8y.png
Color Num. %
Original brown and yellow (1969-1981) 51 8.8%
Brown, orange, and yellow (1982-1984) 56 9.7%
Brown and orange (1985-1990) 41 5.4%
Blue and orange (1991-2003) 161 27.9%
Blue and sand (2004-2011) 20 3.5%
Blue and white (2012-2019) 8 1.4%
New brown and yellow (2020-) 251 43.4%
The vast majority of respondents said they liked the recently introduced color scheme the most (which I agree with). The next most-popular response was the blue and orange the team wore from 1991 to 2003 (including their 1998 pennant run), followed by the brown, orange, and yellow the team wore in the early 1980’s (including their 1984 pennant run). A combined 28 people said they liked the blue/sand and blue/white that they wore from 2004 to 2019 the most. Had this survey been done a year earlier, I feel like the 1991-2003 uniforms would’ve got the most votes.

What is your least favorite division rival?

https://i.imgur.com/ugutEZk.png
Team Num. #
Los Angeles Dodgers 464 80.3%
San Francisco Giants 69 11.9%
I don’t care about any of these teams 30 5.2%
Colorado Rockies 9 1.6%
Arizona Diamondbacks 6 1.0%
Unsurprisingly, most people here hate the Dodgers the most. The Giants also got a fair share of hate (which I’m willing to bet would be a lot larger, if we were closer to their even year dynasty - especially 2010). A lack of care about any of these teams got more votes than the Dbacks and Rockies combined - which is a shame, because fuck them both.

Do you like any other baseball teams?

https://i.imgur.com/KTOR7un.png
Most people only like the Padres (298, 51.4%), but a good amount of people like the Angels (86, 14.8%), Athletics (63, 10.9%), and/or Mariners (38, 6.6%). The most popular National League team are the reigning World Series champion Nationals (30, 5.2%). The least popular team is the Miami Marlins (2, 0.3%).

Do you hate any other baseball teams?

https://i.imgur.com/opqDZR3.png
Most people hate the Yankees (314, 54.1%), because they’re the Yankees, shortly followed up by the Astros (310, 53.4%), which you can thank a bunch of trash cans for. Afterwards is the Red Sox (140, 24.1% - fuck them for trading Mookie Betts to LA, I hope they rot in hell for 100 years), the Cardinals (68, 11.7%), the Cubs (67, 11.6%), and then the Mets (61, 10.5%), which can be blamed on the Great Chris Paddack-Pete Alonso War Of 2019. 20.2% of respondents (117) said they didn’t hate any other teams.

How many games will the Padres win in 2020?

https://i.imgur.com/mkNaWHO.png
Wins Num. %
Less than 76 3 0.5%
77-80 38 6.8%
81 24 4.3%
82-85 228 40.9%
86-89 221 39.7%
90+ 43 7.7%
padres is, as a whole, rather high on the team’s chances next year, with nearly 90% of respondents predicting a winning record. Only around 7% of respondents believe the team will finish under .500, with only three people believing the team will be more than 10 games under .500 by the end of the year.

What is your opinion of Padres general manager A.J. Preller?

https://i.imgur.com/m5z5kaZ.png
Opinion Num. %
Strongly negative 2 0.3%
Mildly negative 16 2.8%
Neutral 72 12.4%
Mildly positive 309 53.3%
Strongly positive 181 31.2%
The vast majority of padres users hold a positive opinion of Preller. Only 18 people total see him in a negative view, and of those 18, 2 people see him in a strongly negative light.

What is your opinion of Padres owners Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler?

https://i.imgur.com/WVgB2nw.png
Opinion Num. %
Strongly negative 1 0.2%
Mildly negative 21 3.6%
Neutral 137 23.7%
Mildly positive 235 40.7%
Strongly positive 184 31.8%
The vast majority of padres users also hold a positive opinion of Fowler and Seidler. Very few hold a negative opinion of him, and only one person (total) holds a strongly negative view of them. Coming off of the awful days of the likes of John Moores and Jeff Moorad, this isn’t a surprise.

What is your opinion of the team’s overall direction?

https://i.imgur.com/wJjh3ID.png
Opinion Num. %
Strongly negative 0 0.0%
Mildly negative 7 1.2%
Neutral 10 1.7%
Mildly positive 222 38.4%
Strongly positive 339 58.7%
Nearly everyone agrees that the team is headed in the right direction, even those with a more neutral/negative view of Preller.

What is your opinion on the DH (designated hitter)?

https://i.imgur.com/Bbu9Th5.png
Opinion Num %
Hates it, wishes it never existed 66 11.4%
Dislikes it 75 13.0%
No strong opinion 108 18.7%
Fine with the current system 155 26.8%
Likes it 78 13.5%
Loves it 96 16.6%
padres is mostly split in this issue, with a rather even split between those who dislike the DH, and those who like the DH. Half of the responders either were fine with the current system, or didn’t really have a strong opinion. The DH would probably be more unpopular, were it not for the trade of Franmil Reyes.

Do you think the Astros got punished harshly enough by Rob Manfred?

https://i.imgur.com/pV2Ja2l.png
Belief Num. %
No, players should’ve gotten suspended 146 25.3%
No, their WS title should’ve been revoked 93 16.1%
No, their FO should’ve gotten a harsher punishment 31 5.4%
All of the above 269 46.5%
No strong opinion 24 4.2%
Yes 15 2.6%
(Simplified)
https://i.imgur.com/7Lx6fKb.png
Belief Num. %
No 539 93.3%
No strong opinion 24 4.2%
Yes 15 2.6%
Considering the extreme unpopularity of the Dodgers, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the vast majority of respondents agreed that the Astros should’ve gotten punished harder. Only 15 people total felt their punishment was good enough.

What is your favorite NFL team?

https://i.imgur.com/8ZzjY7M.png
Most people in padres don’t care about the NFL (253, 43.4%), which I’m willing to bet consists of a large amount of ex-Chargers fans. 22 respondents (3.8%) either said “former Chargers fan” or “fuck Dean Spanos”, which I took as them being an ex-Chargers fan. 9 responders (1.5%) also said they were “San Diego Chargers” fans, and 6 (1.0%) said they were following Philip Rivers. Yet, despite the relocation, a plurality of padres NFL fans are Chargers fans (111, 19.0%) anyway. Afterwards, the most popular team are the Seattle Seahawks (15, 2.6%), followed by the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and San Francisco 49ers (12, 2.1% per team), with 12 people saying they had no favorite team.

What is your favorite NBA team?

https://i.imgur.com/NeVMWMz.png
A plurality (260, 45.1%) said they don’t care about the NBA. Most padres NBA fans are either Lakers fans (106, 18.4%), or Clippers fans (78, 13.5%). 37 respondents (6.4%) gave a variety of responses, which included “LeBron James”, and the New York Knicks (my condolences). 27 (4.7%) said they were future Lakers bandwagoners Golden State Warriors fans, and 11 (1.9%) said they were Sacramento Kings fans (my condolences). A few teams were absent (among them, the Brooklyn Nets).

What is your favorite NHL team?

https://i.imgur.com/nGHjto4.png
A majority of respondents (319, 55.3%) don’t care about the NHL. Of those who cared about the NHL, 107 (18.5%) said they were fans of the Anaheim Ducks (helped by their AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls), 28 (4.9%) said they were Los Angeles Kings fans, 27 (4.7%) said they were Vegas Golden Knights fans, and 17 (2.9%) said they were San Jose Sharks fans. Other common responses included the New York Rangers (God bless Artemi Panarin), the Washington Capitals, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings (F), St. Louis Blues, and Vancouver Canucks.

Is Poway East County?

https://i.imgur.com/TMCqFMO.png
Opinion Num. %
No 392 69.4%
Yes 173 30.6%
padres, for better or for worse, firmly agreed: Poway was not East County.

Other information

Excuse me for a bit, but I’m going to quote a certain artist now: “it’s not funny anymore, try different jokes.”
Some of the funnier responses from the end of the survey:
submitted by Joementum2004 to Padres [link] [comments]

Should the Leafs Acquire LTIR Contracts

The Toronto Maple Leafs have, for all of recent memory, carried players on their team who had suffered career ending injuries. These players took up contract spots, needed to be paid their salaries (either partly if covered by insurance, or entirely if Nathan Horton), and took some valuable cap space away from the roster. The 2019-2020 season is the final contract year for all of the Leafs current Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) contracts. The question raised by some sports writers is: should the Leafs acquire more of these players?
Why LTIR Contracts Are Detrimental:
Standard Player Contracts:
The first and most obvious problem with LTIR contracts is that they count against a team’s 50 Standard Player Contract (SPC) limit. Teams often carry between 40 and 50 contracts in a season, and the more contracts a team has, the less flexibility it has with regards to future trades, free agent signings, and prospect signings.
When Lou Lamiourello first came to the Leafs, the team was close enough to 50 SPCs that Lamiourello needed to shed contracts before the 2015 season began. He traded five prospects to the New York Islanders for Michael Grabner — a then cap dump who would see his career revitalized just a year later with the New York Rangers. One of those prospects was Carter Verhaeghe, who has since developed into the fourth line center for the Tampa Bay Lightning — the Leaf’s likeliest opponent should the 2019-2020 playoffs resume.
Cap Space:
Aside from taking up contract spots, LTIR contracts do count, in part, against a teams salary cap. LTIR is designed so that players who are injured can be replaced by another injury — a team who is at the salary cap is allowed to exceed the salary cap by the cost of that new player. If the Leafs are capped and Zach Hyman goes down, they can replace him with Nick Robertson and exceed the cap by Robertson’s $850 000.
For a team to not have an LTIR contract count against their cap structure, they need to have the replacement roster at the salary cap, so the entire LTIR contract is above the cap. In the example above, having replacing Zach Hyman with Nick Robertson, Martin Marincin (as a 7th D) and Kalle Kossila (and a 14th forward) allows us to exceed the cap by $850 000 + $700 000 + $700 000, or the entirety of Hyman’s $2.25 million dollar contract.
Any space that a team cannot fill with other player’s contracts is then lost cap space for the season. Teams close to the cap can manage their rosters by calling up different prospects, and get exceptionally close to the salary cap — the Leafs last season were within $11 000 dollars of the cap when they first used LTIR — but teams further from the cap ceiling will lose significantly more cap space that season. This lost cap space prevents playoff teams from acquiring upgrades to their playoff rosters, and prevents basement teams from acquiring bad contracts in packages with futures.
Player Bonuses:
The second last concern with LTIR contracts come from player bonuses. Entry Level Contracts (ELCs) are given to players under the age of 27 when they come into the league. These contracts are regulated both in terms of value (the yearly salary can be between league minimum and $925 000) and in length (a player under 22 must sign a three year contract, a 22 or 23 year old player must sign a two year contract, and a player 24 years or older must sign a one year contract).
To compensate top athletes and to push prospects to make the NHL regularly and be productive during these low paying years, teams are able to assign bonuses to ELCs. These bonuses can range from playing a certain number of NHL games to being voted for an NHL award. While many prospects in the NHL hit some of their bonuses, most prospects do not meet all of their bonuses — as a result, these bonuses are an additional cap and salary cost that is calculated and paid out after an NHL season.
Teams close to, or over the cap (as a result of LTIR contracts), often do not have the room in their yearly cap structure to accommodate NHL prospect bonuses — in this case, the overage is pushed ahead one year and the NHL team has less cap space to work with.
Famously, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Kasperi Kapanen, Travis Dermott, Nikita Zaitsev, and Connor Brown (among other, less notable players) hit all or some of their ELC bonuses over the past four seasons. Each of those seasons, the Leafs used LTIR contracts to be over the cap, and every season the Leafs had between a three and four million dollars cap space penalty.
Players signing contracts at or above the age of 35 are also allowed to negotiate for bonuses. These bonuses are often around games played or production, and are rarer than ELC bonuses, but they do exist to reward older players with the conditioning and skill to continue playing in the NHL long after their peaks.
Dollars Spent:
An uninsured contract must still be paid by the team, even if the player is unable to play. The Blue Jackets famously traded Nathan Horton to the Leafs because they could not afford to pay his contract.
An insured contract similarly needs to be paid, though it is mostly paid by the insuring company with the team only paying a small percentage of the original contract. When reacquiring David Clarkson this past season, the Leafs paid a reported $200 000, with insurance paying the rest.
In each of these cases, payroll is used to pay players who do not ever play NHL games. Many owners are adverse to these frivolous spendings — others use this as an opportunity to collect assets by paying salary costs to LTIR players.
How LTIR Contracts Would Affect the 2020-2021 Leafs:
Standard Player Contracts:
As of May 15th 2020, the Leafs have 35 players signed to standard player contracts in the 2020-2021 season. Ilya Mikheyev and Travis Dermott are the two biggest signing priorities for the organization. In addition, Frederik Gauthier, Jason Spezza, and Dennis Malgin, could all potentially receive contracts, along with Marlies Jeremy Bracco, Teemu Kivihalme, and Kasmir Kaskisuo (Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci are likely too expensive to bring back into the organization; Kyle Clifford is not in the NHL with a healthy Leafs lineup and costs a second round pick if re-signed). There are additional unrestricted free agents on the Marlies, but if need be, these players can easily be replaced with AHL contracts.
Next year, Gauthier, Malgin, Clifford, Bracco, Calle Rosen, Martin Marincin, Kenny Agostino, Nicolas Petan, Adam Brooks, Kaskisuo, and Kivihalme will all need to clear waivers if they are sent to the AHL. It is quite likely that at least one of these players will be claimed and their contract will not stay with the Leafs.
At maximum, the Leafs organization will have 43 SPCs next season, and very likely less due to waivers. The Leafs can easily acquire a bad contract and have enough contract spaces left to comfortably make trades before and during the 2020-2021 season.
Cap Space:
LTIR contracts have their biggest negative impact when teams are not at the cap ceiling, since the contract value counts against the team’s cap. While we do not know the NHL’s cap ceiling next season, we know the team is already at $77 million dollars, that Dermott and Mikheyev still need to be signed, that two more forwards will need to be added to the roster, and that up to three additional contracts can be added to the final roster. The 2020-2021 will likely struggle to sign enough players without hitting the salary cap; they can easily acquire LTIR contracts and then negotiate with Dermott or Mikheyev to get the roster exactly at the cap ceiling.
The only concern the Leafs should have with an LTIR contract is its length — in the short term, this roster will easily hit the cap ceiling every season. Over a longer term, when the Leafs need to start trading away existing assets and weakening the roster to retain other players, LTIR contracts are one additional hurdle to overcome.
Player Bonuses:
Kyle Dubas has almost entirely phased ELC bonuses out of the Leafs organization. Jesper Lindgren is the Dubas contract with bonuses remaining for next season, and Ian Scott and Timothy Liljegren are the only two Lamiourello era contracts remaining with entry level bonuses. Barabanov and Lehtonen just signed in Toronto as two of the biggest European free agents, and both turned down contracts with performance bonuses to play in Toronto. Top prospects Rasmus Sandin and Nick Robertson reportedly avoided performance bonuses so they could more easily fit onto the Leafs’ roster.
Scott missed the entire last season recovering from an injury — he will need years between the ECHL and AHL before he comes close to a roster spot on the Leafs. Lindgren is reportedly behind Liljegren on the Toronto Marlies depth chart — either could make the NHL as an injury replacement defenseman, but both likely spend much of the season with the Marlies. Combined, their bonuses potentially cost $532 500, but neither likely to meet their full bonuses and it is even more unlikely that both play substantial NHL minutes this season.
Give the fact that the Leafs might be at the cap ceiling after signing Dermott and Mikheyev, any bonus incurred by Liljegren or Lindgren will count against the 2021-2022 cap anyways; the Leafs are no better equipped to handle player bonuses by avoiding LTIR contracts
Dollars Spent:
The Leafs organization has not been stingy these last few seasons. Under Lamiourello, the team was quick to pay spares to sit for entire seasons, and happy to absorb Nathan Horton’s multi-million dollar contract, if it made the team more competitive overall. Under Dubas, the team has been more of the same, paying $190 000 and $200 000 in exchange for a 5th and a 4th round pick from the Vegas Golden Knights.
With the additional costs and resources that the Leafs spend on their minor league affiliate each season, it seems that MLSE is willing to front the cost of future success.
2020-2021 Targets:
While as fans it is easy to think that ownership will be happy accepting these costs going forwards, this might not be the case. Elliotte Friedman recently wrote in a “31 Thoughts” article, which implied the Leafs might shy away from LTIR contracts in the future due to difficulties navigating the salary cap and making trades. It is also possible that the organization is hesitant to spend as freely, given the current economic climate around COVID. It is always possible that the organization sold on spending today to win tomorrow grows frustrated with the lack of post-season success thus far — though that is far more accurately a product of the Atlantic boasting the top teams in the league over the last four seasons than anything else.
If the Leafs were to take on LTIR contracts for picks, as they have done recently with David Clarkson, then we have a few trades to base fair value on. The Leafs spent $200 000 in salary to bring Clarkson back to the team, receiving a fourth and the cap flexibility to sign Marner. The team participated in a three way trade where they paid $190 000 to Robin Lehner in exchange for a fifth round pick. And they Leafs gave up a first round pick so the Hurricanes would buyout Patrick Marleau at a total cost of $4 666 666. Though the Marleau trade had other motivations and cap implications, we will roughly state that multi-million dollar transactions cost early second to late first round picks.
Should the Leafs pursue LTIR players, here is a list of targets, and their value in draft picks:
  1. Marian Hossa (Arizona Coyotes): the Coyotes have long had solvency issues, though new ownership seems to have brought in more stability. Though they likely do not need to trade his contract, to save costs or to better navigate their own salary cap, the Coyotes might package Hossa and a pick to a team willing to take the contract. Hossa is owed $1 000 000 on an insured contract, so the team footing the bill likely pays around $100 000. Based on similar trades, taking on that cost would likely only net the Leafs a 5th or a 6th round pick.
  2. Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings): Detroit is a wealthy and stable franchise. They are also a rebuilding team that can absorb a large cap hit. Still, ownership might push Steve Yzerman to move the contract if the price is reasonable, or Steve Yzerman might intend to make a big splash on the UFA market, sign his RFAs to longer terms, and help Vancouver out of their future cap troubles in exchange for early picks and good prospects. At $1 000 000 in insured salary, Zetterberg again would only net the Leafs a 5th or a 6th round pick most likely.
  3. Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks): The Ducks, for most of the decade, had an internal cap that limited how much the team was allowed to spend not only on players, but across the entire organization. Though recent years have looked better, the recent economic crisis might lead the Ducks to explore financially motivated hockey trades. Kesler has had multiple surgeries, did not play this season, and is not projected to play an NHL game again. His salary is $6 675 000 for the next two years, which likely equates to over $1 million total expenditure. Taking Kesler’s contract would likely net the Leafs a third round pick in 2020 or 2021.
  4. Mariam Gaborik (Ottawa Senators): The Senators have seen a history of financially motivated hockey decisions in recent years. They also have a history of not working with teams in their division — they sent Mike Hoffman to San Jose for almost nothing, especially compared to the package San Jose received when they flipped Hoffman to Florida. Still, as an owner Melnyk has proven to be too involved with his franchise and an owner willing to trade away expensive assets. Gaborik has a salary slightly over $3 million next season, which likely equates to $300 000 in team spending — worth an early fourth round pick based on previous trades.
  5. Brent Seabrook (Chicago Blackhawks): The Blackhawks are a solid financial team who are capable of absorbing Seabrook on LTIR. They are also a cap team, and have Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist, Alexander Nylander, and others potentially earning millions in ELC bonuses. Seabrook has four years left on his contract and, if ruled an LTIR contract, will have a $10 000 000 (insured) on his contract. Taking his contract could net the Leafs a third based on salary, but potentially much more based on the impact his cap hit can have on Chicago’s future cap situation. The four year length presents a difficulty to any team acquiring Seabrook, which further increases the price the Blackhawks would pay -- a second seems more fair considering the contract length.
  6. Brandon Dubinsky (Columbus Blue Jackets): Columbus would much rather keep Dubinsky than lose him, but if he cannot play another game the team might be forced to look for alternatives. The last time they were in this situation, they traded Nathan Horton to the Leafs in exchange for a current roster player; this time, they might be more agreeable to give up draft capital. With a salary expense of $5 850 000, an acquiring team would expect to pay around $600 000 next season. Based on comparable situations, a third round pick roughly seems to be fair value, though Columbus won’t have one of those until the 2021 draft, and the Blue Jackets are likely wary of three sequential drafts without second or third round picks.
Note: All players are assumed to have insured contracts. All expenditure is based off a 10% deductible on the insured salary — this is based off David Clarkson’s contract since his salary this year is $2 250 000 and the Leafs reportedly paid just over $200 000 in salary for him.
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Countdown to Kickoff 2020: Portland Timbers

Countdown to Kickoff 2020: Portland Timbers

Basic Info:

Club Name: Portland Timbers
Location: Portland, Oregon
Stadium: Providence Park. Beautiful timelapse of the recent renovations.
Head Coach: Giovanni Savarese (3rd year)
Captain: Diego Valeri
CEO/Majority Owner: Merritt Paulson
USL Affiliate: Timbers 2
Kits:

2019 in Review

Final Standings: 14-13-7 (W-L-D), 49 pts, +3 GD, 6th in the West
In one word, the 2019 Portland Timbers season was draining. It was an endurance test for the players. It was an endurance test for even the most ardent supporters. And it was certainly an endurance test for a Front Office that invested serious capital into organizational infrastructure. Bookended by snowy affairs in the Rocky Mountains, a year filled with tantalizing potential melted away, leaving a passionate (some might say capricious) fanbase searching for explanations. So, what went wrong?
Well, it was always going to be an uphill battle from the opening kick. Starting with the coldest game in MLS history in Colorado, the Timbers faced a daunting 12-match road trip to accommodate the impressive renovations to Providence Park’s East stand. After accumulating 1 pt from the first six matches, including blow out losses to both FC Cincinnati (!) and then-winless San Jose, the fanbase collectively smashed the panic button entering a match against ex-coach Caleb Porter and his Columbus Crew. However, for the next few months, we witnessed a different team and a different mentality. Three consecutive quality victories against Columbus, Toronto, and RSL brought the team back from the abyss. And a subsequent win against upstart Philadelphia saw Portland finish its road marathon at a respectable 14 points.
Suddenly, the narrative flipped. Pundits consistently listed the Timbers at the top of their power rankings, and with 17 of the final 22 matches at one of the best home-field advantages in MLS, it seemed the positive momentum would prevail indefinitely. More importantly though, the Timbers had found their final piece to the puzzle: an elite, ruthless, and fiery DP striker in Brian Fernandez. Fresh off an impressive campaign with Necaxa in Liga MX, the Argentine became the first player in history to score in five consecutive regular-season games to open an MLS career. His clinicality and intensity raised the level of the squad, leading Steve Clark to don the classic Michael Myers mask from Halloween, declaring Providence Park as a “House of Horrors” for the opponent.
But as it turned out, the team never truly reacclimated to the friendly confines of its home pitch. After four months (incl. preseason) away from home, the squad’s lethal counter-attacking style was far more suited for road matches which provided no impetus to play attractive soccer. Away victories at elite opponents including NYCFC, Seattle, and LAFC provided a stark contrast to disheartening home performances against the likes of Colorado, Orlando, and 10-man Chicago. And soon, the atmosphere off-the-field began to match the team’s sudden struggles on the pitch.
Political viewpoints aside, the Iron Front protests and Diego Valeri’s contract impasse ignited an already contentious relationship between the Timbers Army and FO. Meanwhile, as the squad racked up disappointing home results due to uninspired offensive play, home attendance began to waver more so than years past. While the home sell-out streak remains to this day, the increased number of empty seats in Providence Park was a pretty blunt indication of increased apathy towards the organization.
And then, there was the cherry on top. After missing consecutive matches due to a reported “stomach bug,” it became pretty clear Brian Fernandez was not the same player he was in the early summer. With a complicated and somber family history, Fernandez had struggled with substance abuse issues in the past but seemed to be on the path to full recovery during recent years. However, in October, Fernandez entered the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, and just as his story arc in green-and-gold faded to black, the Timbers season finished with a whimper. Jefferson Savarino’s 87th-minute goal in snowy Utah knocked the Timbers out of Cup contention. Eleven months following an exciting run to MLS Cup, Portland entered the 2020 offseason weary, drained, and searching for a new beginning.

The Coach

Giovanni Savarese
I expected 2019 to provide more clarity on Giovanni Savarese’s coaching aptitude, but as I sit here one year later, I’m still left with more questions than answers. Gio’s passion and fervor was a refreshing juxtaposition to Caleb Porter’s often smug demeanor, but his far more conservative style still ruffles the feathers of fans who yearn for the days of “Porterball.” While Savarese implemented a high-pressing, dynamic, and open style during his time at the Cosmos, he has yet to find similar success doing so in the Rose City. The past two seasons have exhibited nearly the same progression: start the season trying to play pressing-style soccer, get beat badly, and then resort to a conservative, counter-attacking approach.
The truth of the matter is the conservative style fits the Portland Timbers. When the defense is solid, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco are talented enough to win the game on the counter by themselves. However, this tactical inflexibility is essentially the sole on-field contributor for why the team struggled so mightily down the stretch. When teams packed it in and eliminated the possibility of counter-attacks, Portland could not break down the opposition, resorted to launching an MLS record number of crosses, and got scorched on counters going the other way. A taste of their own medicine if you will.
In 2020, Savarese has no excuse. There’s no road trip to start the season, he has a loaded arsenal of complimentary attacking weapons, and now it’s abundantly clear the Timbers must learn how to control games from the front foot. An identity is useful, but flexibility is a requirement to be great. The club wants to (has to) win now, and they’ve invested significantly into personnel and infrastructure to do so. Now, it’s up to Savarese to lead the team to silverware.

Departures

Brian Fernandez (ST): This one hurts. There are no two ways about it. Fernandez truly convinced GM Gavin Wilkinson and TD Ned Grabavoy that he was past his struggles, but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be the case. As Wilkinson stated in The Athletic, “if we could go back and do it again, we wouldn’t have done it,” adding “what I will say is the word fraud exists for a reason.” Rumors suggest Necaxa covered up a failed drug test, and MLS is currently launching a lawsuit to help the club recoup the transfer fee. While Wilkinson suggests Fernandez was a bust, the truth is he scored 15 goals in ~25 games in all comps, showing a ruthlessness in front of goal that rivaled the Martinez’s and Ruidiaz’s of the league. As people who have met him can attest, he’s a vibrant and kind individual regardless of the fact he continues to face difficult obstacles off the field. It's just such a disappointment that it didn’t all come together, and I pray for his health and safety.
Zarek Valentin (RB): This one hurts too. Zarek was a staple of the community, someone who embraced Portland as his home, and was as approachable as any professional athlete. With initiatives like wearing a rainbow ribbon in his hair to fundraise for homeless LGBT+ youth, Zarek was an ideal steward for the club and community. With our lack of fullback depth, leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft was far from a popular decision - one that strained an already frayed relationship between the Front Office and some fans. That said, as amazing as Zarek is, his lack of athleticism was starting to catch up to him. He even admitted some struggles down the stretch, and as more talented/athletic wingers enter the league, his minutes might soon reflect it. Zarek’s versatility, eccentricity, and civic involvement will certainly be missed though. Houston, you’ve got a great dude.
Claude Dielna (CB): The most puzzling move of 2019, it didn’t take an acute observer to recognize that Dielna struggled in MLS. Wilkinson and Grabavoy took a one-year flier on Dielna to be the 4th-stringer, and the outcome was fairly predictable. He possesses a silky left foot which allows him to pick sharp passes out of the back, but he can’t run, can’t jump, and can’t defend 1v1. All of those attributes are pretty essential requirements for playing CB in any league, so it’s no surprise to see the organization not renew his contract. In the end, I wouldn’t suggest Dielna self-immolated like many horrific Timbers CBs of yesteryear (see McKenzie, Raushawn), but I highly doubt anyone will be pining for his return.
Foster Langsdorf (ST): Langsdorf may be used as an example of a Homegrown the Timbers failed to move through the ranks, but letting him go makes sense (unfortunately.) In a 2019 season essential for his development, he failed to make any significant impact at the USL level, and at 24, he would’ve entered the 2020 campaign in the exact spot he did the previous two seasons. Despite some clever finishes in the 2018 USL season, he’s not a legitimate option for the first team in this day in age - especially when similarly-aged strikers Felipe Mora, Jaroslaw Niezgoda, and Jeremy Ebobisse boast far more developed skillsets.
Modou Jadama (CB/RB): Jadama made two total appearances for the first team over two seasons, including one start at RB at Montreal in 2019. To be frank, he didn’t particularly shine as an MLS-caliber player during that time, so his opportunity to cement himself in the organization’s plans came and went. Now at Atlanta United 2, I think he’ll be a good fit for a full-time USL position, although we probably could have used CB depth with Bill Tuiloma’s injury.
Kendall McIntosh (GK): McIntosh was an undersized goalkeeper whose frame and athleticism is reminiscent of the likes of Nick Rimando. For the most part, he was a career T2 netminder that was far too raw in some areas to mount a challenge against experienced keepers like Jeff Attinella and Steve Clark. Now a member of the Red Bulls via the Re-Entry Draft, I doubt McIntosh finds many more minutes outside of the USL, but he seemed like a good dude and we all wish him the best.

2020 Outlook:

So, where does that leave us for the 2020 season? Well, pretty close to the same spot we found ourselves last year. In the preceding two seasons, it was clear the Timbers possessed enough talent to capture silverware, yet surpassing the final hurdle proved to be too much. As a result, continuity in terms of roster management remains among the league’s most stable. Ultimately, Portland took the field March 3 in Colorado with 10 of the 11 starters from MLS Cup the previous December, and this season, the only departure considered a surefire starter was Brian Fernandez.
However, the main difference in 2020 comes down to the acquisitions. The Timbers FO utilized the abnormally long break to load up with an arsenal of talent, providing a stark divergence from the quiet transfer window in 2019. As much as I want to compliment the FO for its hard work this offseason, acquiring fresh blood was essential. Key pieces of the core including Larrys Mabiala, Diego Chara, Sebastian Blanco, and Diego Valeri are all exiting their prime window, and the Timbers must capitalize before that window slams shut. Consequently, four of the five names you’ll see listed in the acquisitions section below were brought in to have an immediate impact and elevate an already talented squad.
As a result, in terms of pure on-paper talent, this is a Top 5 caliber MLS team. Whether Savarese can coalesce that talent into a functioning, dynamic, and successful unit is an entirely different story however. It honestly feels like a boom-or-bust type season, and I’m worried about how they’ll navigate the natural roller-coaster swings that MLS’s parity generates. So, I’ll leave you with this: if the Timbers figure out how to maintain defensive structure without resorting to a conservative shell, they’ll be one of the best teams in the league. If not, all bets are off.

Acquisitions:

Jarosław Niezgoda (ST): The Polish DP doesn’t have to single-handedly replace Brian Fernandez’s goal contributions, but make no mistake about it, the Timbers brought Niezgoda in to make an immediate and profound impact on the scoresheet. At only 24, Jarek arrives with a high pedigree having notched double-digit goals in multiple seasons for one of Poland’s powerhouses in Legia Warsaw. Ultimately, it makes sense European clubs like Bordeaux and Torino were sniffing around the striker, as he’s quite mobile for his size, can finish well with both feet, and is clever with his movements inside the box. And say what you will about the Ekstraklasa, it has a strange knack for producing efficient goalscorers, including Niezgoda’s Legia predecessor Nemanja Nikolic.
However, there is a massive catch: Niezgoda has struggled with injuries throughout his career. In a league famous for physical play, and on a team that has experienced its fair share of injury-riddled seasons, Jarek’s fitness is a legitimate concern. While his congenital heart issues seem to be held in check, Legia fans are quick to mention “he's made of glass, and it's hard to keep him in shape for the whole season.” The Timbers’ physio staff will have their work cut out for them to keep Niezgoda on the pitch and scoring goals.
Note: Niezgoda has yet to feature in preseason due to the recovery timeline from a heart ablation procedure during his medical. We likely won’t see him in the XI for the first few weeks of 2020.
Felipe Mora (ST): Niezgoda’s injury-checkered past is an important factor for why Mora’s arrival is such a critical addition. The 26-year-old Chilean seemingly fell into the Timbers lap in a series of fortuitous circumstances, as they acquired him on a TAM loan deal from Pumas in Liga MX. Normally, Mora would be a DP caliber acquisition, and in fact, he was considered a serious target for the final DP slot last year before the club opted for Fernandez. However, after falling out of favor, Pumas were willing to let him go in a manner that accommodated Portland’s limited remaining budget space. Mora provides a divergent style from Niezgoda’s channel-running and Ebobisse’s hold-up ability. He operates on a true poacher’s instinct, and his industrious approach will provide a complementary presence to any of the other strikers.
Dario Župarić (CB): If there’s one offseason acquisition that is more critical to the team's success than the others, Dario Župarić is that guy. Throughout the Timbers MLS history, CB has easily been their most troublesome spot, and they’ve yet to replace Liam Ridgewell’s contributions since his departure last year. Say what you will about Liam’s off-the-field persona: his magnetism, leadership, organizational skills, and distribution were undoubtedly influential to the club’s performance.
Župarić, for lack of a better statement, is essentially the true Ridgewell replacement. At 27-years-old, the Croatian arrives with 90+ matches under his belt at Pescara in Italy and Rijeka in Croatia, a club that has already produced productive MLS players like Héber and Damir Kreilach. Early reports in training regard him as “smooth and confident,” and even if that confidence has gotten the better of him occasionally, those characteristics exemplify why Gio had never received “more messages from friends saying you’ve brought in a very good player.” In the end though, the pressure is on Dario to perform on the pitch. MLS athleticism poses a unique challenge, and there’s little flexibility to compensate for any struggles. His adjustment to MLS must be quick.
Yimmi Chara (RM): Recognize the last name? In a courtship that has lasted as long as the Timbers MLS era itself, Wilkinson finally brought the youngest Chara brother to the Rose City. Acquired as a DP from Atletico Mineiro, there is concern about whether Yimmi’s G+A output will justify the reported $6 million transfer fee. Throughout his career, he’s never been the type of player to light up the scoresheet, but it’s difficult to dispossess him and he provides lightning-quick pace that this roster lacks. With multiple attacking options, I honestly don’t anticipate much pressure to fill the stat sheet, and his familial connection to the organization should facilitate a more seamless transition. Plus, it’s difficult enough for the opposition to face one Chara - it’ll certainly be a pain in the ass to confront two.
Blake Bodily (LM): The HG left-footer is a fairly highly-regarded prospect coming out of the Pac-12, and he showed flashes of quality during his time at T2 a few years ago. With the depth on the wings, I can’t imagine he’ll see much of any first-team minutes. I could be wrong, especially if things go south for any reason, but let’s revisit this signing a year or two from now.

A word on everyone else:

Goalkeepers:
Steve Clark (GK): Without a doubt, Clark was the surprise player of 2019. Boasting the highest save percentage and second-lowest GAA in the league, Clark made numerous highlight-reel saves after taking over for Jeff Attinella in late April. While the occasional mental lapse defined much of his career up to this point, the 33-year-old was nearly flawless in all phases of play last season. However, there’s legitimate concern that this outstanding form is not replicable throughout the next campaign. After Attinella’s regression to the mean following a career year, one can understand why the Front Office might have been apprehensive to give him a sizable pay raise - even if his performances warranted it. That said, Clark’s got the new deal in his pocket and will certainly be the starter opening day vs Minnesota.
Jeff Attinella (GK): As highlighted above, few Timbers had a more ill-fated 2019 campaign than Jeff Attinella. After a torrid 2018 season, Attinella’s performances were marred by poor decision after poor decision until his year concluded with season-ending shoulder surgery. You have to feel for the guy too, as for the first time in his career, he entered an MLS regular season as the unquestioned starter. We’ll see how he recovers from the shoulder injury, but if Clark’s consistency remains and Aljaž Ivačič shows promise, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Timbers move him while he still has some value.
Aljaž Ivačič (GK): If there’s a Timber who had a more disastrous 2019 than Jeff Attinella though, it’s probably Aljaž Ivačič. The 26-year-old Slovenian was acquired last offseason to be the goalkeeper of the future, but a significant leg surgery last February took him out of team activities for most of the year. When he did return with T2 in late summer, things did not look great to say the least. It is undoubtedly difficult to adapt to a new country, but Ivačič’s struggles were worryingly apparent. Most of his goals conceded for T2 looked similar to this, where he was either in the wrong position, extremely hesitant to come off his line, or strikingly late to react to the opponent. These are fundamental issues that can hopefully be chalked up to rust and then addressed with a full preseason. If not, Aljaž might go down as one of the worst signings in club history.
Defenders:
Jorge Moreira (RB): Moreira possesses the talent to be the best RB in the league, but sporadically found himself a liability last season. After years spent with Argentine powerhouse River Plate, the 30-year-old Paraguayan was naturally inclined to push up the pitch since his teams had often dominated the game’s flow. As a result, the Timbers’ conservative style and league’s athleticism caught him off guard, as he had an unfortunate propensity to be out of position early in 2019. However, he mostly adjusted over the course of the year, and his power, crossing ability, and dynamism are crucial to the team.Even with the occasional poor clearance, Moreira is a lockdown starter and few RBs in MLS have his offensive weaponry and pedigree. His loan only lasts until June 30 however, though I’d fully expect the Front Office to lock him down on a permanent deal.
Update: the Timbers right-side defense has been tragic this preseason, and much of that has to do with Moreira’s play. He’ll have to re-adjust or else he’ll revert back to being a liability again
Larrys Mabiala (CB): With his pearly-white smile, cool demeanor, and commanding aerial ability, the big French-Congolese CB is one of the most respected players in the Timbers’ locker room. In a position that is a perennial revolving door of underperforming wreckage, Mabiala has been the one “written-in-ink” starter since mid-2017, and his veteran savvy is integral to the squad’s success. But at age 32, Larrys’ value is not embodied by his individual qualities but more so the partnership he forms with Župarić. His physical presence will always be vital to an otherwise undersized team, however, he lacks the turn of pace and distribution ability that would place him among the elite CBs in MLS. As a result, Larrys and Dario must discover how to paper over each other’s weaknesses by performing to their unique capabilities: Župarić covers ground well and can initiate attacking movements while Mabiala handles physical strikers and cleans up loose balls in the 18. In the end, his consistency will be as influential as any player on the roster. If for any reason he performs below the norm, there is simply not enough quality depth behind him to overcome it.
Bill Tuiloma (CB): Tuiloma is not spectacular by any means, but he’s an ideal player to provide sporadic minutes. The 24-year-old Kiwi is cheap, versatile, and possesses enough technical quality to score the odd banger. It’s a shame a calf injury will rule him out for the next few weeks, as the team could use his flexibility for spot duty at CB, RB, and even defensive midfield. If he recovers fully and Župarić struggles to adapt to the league’s athleticism, expect him to mount a challenge for starting minutes.
Julio Cascante (CB): The Costa Rican CB is best described as a high-ceiling, low-floor player whose ceiling continues to lower year after year. As far as backup CBs go, he’s probably adequate, but the guy went from a fringe national-teamer to virtually off-the-radar since his arrival in Portland. Though his height and build forge a formidable aerial presence, he’s yet to resolve occasional mental lapses and improve his subpar distribution. But Julio’s most maddening characteristic is his inconsistency. Perhaps the best thing you can say about a Cascante performance is that you didn’t notice him. Unfortunately, he tends to stick out for all the wrong reasons. Maybe a little more familiarity with the league will help the 26-year-old raise his level in 2020. I’m not exceedingly hopeful though.
Jorge Villafaña (LB): El Sueño hasn’t been the same player since his departure to Santos Laguna after MLS Cup 2015. Still an excellent crosser, Villafaña really struggled with pacey wingers towards the beginning of the season, although there are some whispers he was often gutting through minor knocks. Even with an uptick of form over the course of the campaign, there is legitimate concern he’s lost a step and will be a liability in the backline. I love the man as much as the next guy, but I’d say the uneasiness is valid. Let’s hope he proves us all wrong.
Marco Farfan (LB): The lack of confidence in Villafaña would be less of an issue if Zarek Valentin were still suiting up in the green-and-gold because Marco Farfan is as fragile as a potato chip. The HG LB is not the most athletic individual, but his technical quality is probably proficient enough to play at this level. Farfan still has to evolve as a 1v1 defender, though he’ll certainly get looks this year if he can manage to stay healthy.
Note: We still need a backup RB. It could be former NYRB, IMFC, and Dynamo player Chris Duvall. 20-year-old Venezuelan Pablo Bonilla is another option, but he’s at T2 for the meantime.
Midfielders:
Diego Valeri (CAM): When all is said and done, I hope MLS fans and media take a moment to appreciate just how good Diego Valeri was. Since 2015, we’ve witnessed impressive names take home the Landon Donovan MVP award including Giovinco, Villa, Josef, and Vela. Sandwiched in between those names you’ll find Diego Valeri. Only the ninth MLS player to reach the elusive 70G, 70A Club, Valeri took the Timbers from a hapless expansion side to a perennial playoff contender. And from my admittedly biased perspective, I don’t think he gets enough credit for doing so. But don’t take it from me, take it from Albert Rusnak, who accurately captures the true essence of the Maestro in this interview. For the miracles performed on the pitch, his importance and presence in the community are just as admirable.
However, times are changing for Valeri, and it’s best exemplified by the fact we almost lost him over a contract dispute this offseason. By taking a TAM deal, Diego not only affirmed his commitment to the organization but allowed them to make moves to best ensure he doesn’t retire with only a single major MLS title to his name. I’d expect the Timbers staff to exercise more load management with him this campaign, but by no means does that change his status as a pillar of the club and community. Build the statue.
Sebastian Blanco (LM/RM): Sebastian Blanco is one of those guys who never seems to score a bad goal. The fiery Argentine may not be the face of the franchise off the pitch, but the decision to extend his DP contract over Valeri is a hint towards Blanco’s importance on the field. After posting his second consecutive double-digit assist campaign, Blanco’s quality across all attacking midfield positions is unquestioned. That said, 2020 is a pivotal season for the Timbers’ oldest Designated Player. Soon to be 32, the clock is ticking on Blanco’s heyday, and he’ll certainly aspire to outperform 2019’s underwhelming tally of six goals from 106 shot attempts. Now surrounded by a wealth of complimentary attacking pieces though, I’d expect a rejuvenated Seba come March. Bet the over on six goals.
Diego Chara (CDM): If there’s anyone who can conquer the inevitability of fathertime, Diego Chara is the guy. Soon to be 34-years-old, Chara’s performance metrics — involving areas such as speed and distance covered — reached all-time highs last year. His importance to the club over the past decade cannot be overstated, and we were all ecstatic to see him finally partake in an MLS All Star Game last season. The Colombian possesses a pillowy first touch, an immense soccer IQ, and a fearless presence in the middle of the park, and there simply will be no replacing him when he finally does choose to retire. But to be honest with you, I think he’s still got a few more Best XI caliber seasons in him. He just ages like a fine wine.
Andrés Flores (CM): Hell, I’m just gonna copy and paste exactly what I wrote last year because it’s still just as applicable. Andres Flores is like a Toyota Camry - solid if unspectacular. He doesn't have the sexy style that will garner all the attention, but when push comes to shove and you need to get from point A to point B, he’ll do the job (at a very low price too!). Look for him to assist in spot-duty once he returns from injury, but his most important contributions will likely be found in the little things off the pitch.
Cristhian Paredes (CM): At only 21 years of age, the full Paraguayan international started over 30 matches the past two seasons and has also emerged as the surefire midfield partner to Diego Chara. After a 2018 campaign that saw a significant adjustment period, Paredes looked far more composed in 2019, adding late-runs into the box into his arsenal midway through last season. However, no longer on loan from Club America, Paredes will face more organizational pressure to be a day-in, day-out starter this campaign. His ranginess and ability to break up play are unquestioned, but he needs to become a bit cleaner on the ball and more confident playing out of tight spaces. That said, there’s a reason the club has invested more capital into the promising midfielder: he has the potential to be a significant contributor for years to come.
Marvin Loría (LM/RM): In the next few seasons, I’d wager Marvin Loría will become the poster child for the Timbers youth development structure. With a comparatively underdeveloped and shallow Homegrown talent pool, Portland picks up guys like Loría out of foreign youth programs to develop through the Timbers pipeline. The 22-year-old Costa Rican international showed significant promise last season, and he can play a true inverted winger role - a unique style in terms of this roster. While he may see time at LM and CAM, I love him cutting in from the right, as he can deliver bangers like this and allow Jorge Moreira to bulldoze forward. At a league minimum salary, Loría provides the cheap and talented depth which makes this attack’s outlook so promising. I can’t wait to see what strides he makes this season (once he returns from an underpublicized/undisclosed injury).
Andy Polo (RM): Not many people in the Timbers fanbase understand why Andy Polo is still on the roster, let alone competing for starting minutes. In 2,860 MLS minutes, the Peruvian winger has only managed a dismal one goal and three assists - a statline that is considerably worse than ineffective wingers of the past including Kalif Alhassan, Sal Zizzo, and Franck Songo’o. He’s not an outright liability, and occasionally puts in a shift defensively, but he essentially exists solely to occupy space. Now entering his third season, Polo’s best string of matches came as the third CM in a 4-3-2-1 just before the 2018 World Cup. He’s since gathered looks in preseason as a #8 in a 4-3-2-1 and showed flashes but is still incomplete. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tomas Conechny (CF/LM/RM): The 21-year-old Argentine enters the 2020 campaign a relative unknown, and though the club thought enough of him to exercise his full-time purchase option from San Lorenzo, his fit on the squad has yet to be fully discerned. Rumored to be one of the better headers-of-the-ball on the team, he showed occasional creative sparks in late-game situational appearances but has yet to prove he deserves starting minutes. We hear quotes akin to “he doesn’t yet know how good he can be,” but it still isn’t obvious that a particular position suits him well or if he even possesses a skillset that allows him to be a difference-maker at this level. For all intents and purposes, he’s likely to end up Diego Valeri’s understudy even if Conechny has yet to show the same precision and danger at a playmaking second-forward role. As a result, it remains to be seen if the high-rated prospect grows into a significant piece of the puzzle or if his lack of positional clarity ultimately hampers his development.
Dairon Asprilla (RM): Dairon Asprilla plays at an all-star caliber level if one of two things are true: the Timbers are on the verge of postseason elimination or he’s playing on T2. If neither of those two things are true, he’s often more useless than a turn signal on a BMW. Some wonder if he possesses compromising pictures of Wilkinson or MP, otherwise there’s very little to explain why he’s one of the longest-tenured Timbers - especially considering he’s been in-and-out of the doghouse almost every year. Word out of training suggests he’s been one of the best players in camp, but we’ve been down this road before - if it’s not Oct. or Nov., Asprilla often looks lost on the pitch.
Sidenote: 99% of Dairon’s shot attempts get thwarted due to his foolishly long windup, but when he does get a hold of one, they stay hit.
Eryk Williamson (CM): The HG midfielder (by way of D.C.) found starting minutes in spot appearances last fall, and he looked competent if unremarkable. For T2, Williamson often occupied more advanced positions, but I think he projects best as a ball-shuttling #8 in this squad. In particular, I can see him fitting into Andy Polo’s old role as a CM next to Chara and/or Paredes in a 4-3-2-1, as his passing and combination play provide a diverse look from the other two. Overall, Williamson finds himself in a decent situation to get game action this year, and I’m interested to see how he develops and grows in confidence in 2020.
Renzo Zambrano (CDM): Another international brought through the T2 pipeline, Zambrano is essentially Diego Chara’s backup at the #6. Since George Fochive left following the 2015 season, the Timbers have struggled to find a suitable defensive backup in the central midfield. Renzo is now that guy. The 25-year-old Venezuelan appeared in 10 matches last season and struggled immensely in fixtures against Colorado and Atlanta, but showed flashes of positivity in thrashings of Houston and Vancouver. 2020 will require more consistency from Zambrano who doesn’t possess the same physicality or power as Chara - but then again, few do. As a result, if I were Savarese, I’d try to mold Zambrano into a fulcrum/anchor type midfielder in the form of a Uri Rosell or Scott Caldwell. He’s a capable passer, and if he simplifies his game to shield the backline, he’ll be an asset to the team. If not, he’ll likely over-extend himself, and his midfield partner will be forced to work more tirelessly to maintain solid defensive shape. Renzo is likely the first option off the bench whenever Chara or Paredes are unavailable, so his growth is critical to the team’s success this year.
Forwards:
Jeremy Ebobisse (ST): Since Niezgoda and Mora’s arrival, some fans and media have denounced the organization for burying the 23-year-old American on the depth chart and hindering his development. Here’s why I think that’s an overly-sensationalized viewpoint:
  1. As Wilkinson has correctly identified, Ebobisse will miss a good chunk of the early season for Olympic qualification, and with Niezgoda’s injury history, there needs to be other legitimate options to start upfront (i.e. not Dairon Asprilla).
  2. In 2018, Ebobisse entered the season ‘stuck’ behind two DP-type strikers in Fanendo Adi and Samuel Armenteros. Guess who emerged on top? Ebobisse. There will be multiple competitions, two-striker formations, and rotations that allow him to earn quality minutes.
  3. This idea that the organization is almost trying to sabotage his development is an outrageous claim. Ebobisse was the only player on the squad to play in every match last season and only finished behind Chara, Blanco, and Valeri in terms of total minutes played. Granted, he played a fair few matches at LW (not ideal, but he wasn’t outright terrible), but the team did have its best stretch of success with him and Fernandez on the pitch together.
But the one factor people must acknowledge is this: Ebobisse still hasn’t developed the it factor that other MLS strikers have - at least not yet. When Fernandez arrived, his ruthlessness was a stark contrast to Ebobisse’s often less-goal-hungry runs and occasional lack of clarity in the final third. Jeremy is a decent finisher, even with a few missed sitters, but he’s still not consistent enough with the direct runs off the shoulder that separate good from great. He’ll hopefully continue to develop a wider range of skills, but he’s not yet the guy to put this team over the top.
Predicted Starting XI:
Primarily: 4-2-3-1
Other likely options: 4-3-2-1 or 4-4-2
Best Case Scenario:
A top playoff seed and a challenge for either the Supporter’s Shield or MLS Cup. Savarese effectively implements tactical flexibility, Niezgoda and Mora combine for 20+ goals, and Cristhian Paredes takes the next step forward in his development. While Župarić locks down the defense, one of Valeri or Blanco mounts a Best XI campaign, and Diego Chara makes a second consecutive All-Star Game appearance. Sprinkle in a Cascadia Cup alongside a harmonious relationship between the Front Office and Timbers Army, and you have a damn successful year.
Worst Case Scenario:
Pretty much the opposite of what you see above. Niezgoda can’t stay healthy while the core pieces’ form collectively falls off a cliff. Those in the Army who hold a personal vendetta against Merritt Paulson blow a trivial issue out of proportion causing a full-on revolt from the supporter’s group. Savarese proves to be an average coach with exploitable flaws, and the team fails to qualify for the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference. Significant spending, no tangible results. A wasted year.
Realistic Scenario:
Well, either of those two scenarios could qualify as realistic. But like all Timbers seasons, it’s most realistic to be somewhere in between. There’ll be stretches of outright panic, and there’ll be other times where we all convince ourselves the Timbers will win MLS Cup. Some of the signings hit: let’s go with Župarić - while other signings underwhelm due to extenuating circumstances: probably Niezgoda (and his glass skeleton). The team finishes in the middle of the pack - a team that no one wants to face in October - but one that is equally liable to beat themselves.
Prediction:
Even for someone as pessimistic as I am, I won’t predict the worst-case scenario. Nevertheless, I can’t shake the discouraging feeling that the Timbers will squander its immense talent again. A disappointing 6th or 7th place finish is in store after another taxing roller-coaster season. However, I’ll go out on a limb to say Portland does win a Cascadia Cup or USOC - some sort of silverware that convinces everybody the obvious flaws can be overcome in 2021. Blanco has a great 2020 season. The other pieces show flashes brilliance, yet can’t quite string together enough consistency to let the attack fire on all cylinders. Savarese will keep his job but enters the 2021 campaign on the hotseat. It’ll be another case of “close, but not close enough.”

Online Resources

Official Links: Website | Twitter
Local Coverage: Oregon Live | Stumptown Footy
Best Twitter follow: Chris Rifer
Best Read: Jamie Goldberg’s article on Fernandez didn’t age well, but it’s extremely important to understand his tragic life story.
Subreddit: timbers

#RCTID

submitted by NewRCTID22 to MLS [link] [comments]

Around the Alliance 06.20 JUNE EDITION

In this edition of Around the Alliance...

Alliance Buzz

Power Rankings

When it comes to creating the Power Rankings formula, there are 10 categories that are given equal value and ranked 1-10 accordingly. These categories are QB, RB, WR, TE, Cap Space, Draft Captial, Scoring, Schedule, Prior Record, and League Activity.
For the prior two Power Rankings, 8/10 categories were used with scoring and schedule being exempted.
In this updated edition, the category of Prior Record has also been dropped, leaving these rankings scoring 7/10 total categories.

  1. Alaska Kodiak (2.00 / - ) The Kodiak continue to top the Vegas odds for Alliance champion headed into 2020. Following recent news out of NFL affiliate Minnesota on Dalvin Cook holding out and being exempted from UFFA games, it seems likely Alaska will have to go RB with the 1st overall rookie selection come July. Having recently traded away Leonard Fournette, there may be a chink in the armor yet if Alaska kicks off with Aaron Jones and a rookie backed up by Derrius Guice and handcuffs.
  2. St. Louis (4.71 / +1 ) Having jettisoned the past, the Clydesdales continue to surge as the offseason darlings of the Alliance. But time will tell if 0-14 was more than just a weight on their power ranking. Roster shake ups have turned over new leadership and exciting possibilities for a team that's looking to avoid a slow start in 2020. St. Louis has an exciting QB and TE corp, plenty of cap space, and has seen tremendous activity from the front office.
  3. Northwoods Hodags (4.86 / - 1 ) The Hoes continue a quiet, but strong offseason as they retool for what will likely be a dog fight for the Interior Division. Boasting the #1 receiving group in both WR and TE, Northwoods lags behind in Cap Space and Draft Capital, both categories GM Smith is willing to lose in the Power Rankings if they equate to on-field success come game time.
  4. San Juan Shrimp (4.86 / +1 ) Playing the cavalier, GM Ramos has had no qualms about San Juan's "roster woes". The Shrimp came out of free agency at max roster capacity with pressure from fans, media, and even other teams to trade away either draft picks or mid-level players to get some relief. In response, the front office has since made more roster moves, signing and cutting multiple players. With over half the roster slated from free agency in 2021 and a projected cap of only $107 before rookies are signed, this might be a go for broke year for San Juan.
  5. Dunedin Rangers (5.29 / +1 ) Having made several deals in the last two months, the Rangers are looking retooled and ready for the future. With a roster built of capable veterans, the Rangers will be looking to retool on the fly come draft season with the #6, 12, and 20th selections. In this flurry of activity, Dunedin may be only an RB and a TE away from getting back to the Danger Down Under that started 2019 6-1 before collapsing in the back half.
  6. Oklahoma City Storm (5.86 / -2 ) The inverse of St. Louis, the defending champions lose a lot of Power Ranking mojo with 2019 being dropped. But there's no cause for panic in the heartland. With the minor league LA Rams and Buffalo Bills developing RBs Cam Akers and Zack Moss respectively, there are concerns that the Storm's Darrell Henderson and Devin Singletary will miss out on valuable reps. This could leave a dilemma for the OKC front office at the #2 pick who will have a tough choice between RB or QB.
  7. Swansea City Ducks (5.86 / +3 ) Much like St. Louis, the Ducks got a big boost from shedding the ghost of 2019. While there are still several holes on the roster that need addressing (namely QB and depth at RB), Swansea has a lot to be excited for with their youth at WR and TE, not to mention a great position in the draft at the middle of each round. If those picks hit, the Ducks could be flying high.
  8. Hawaii Volcanoes (6.86 / -1 ) While making some minor moves, the expansion franchise has been relatively quiet in recent weeks. With a combination of massive cap space and not enough draft picks to fill the roster, it seems likely that Hawaii will be going on a summer shopping spree sometime soon. With little competition for the available dart throws, expect plenty of $1 contracts to come with airfare to paradise.
  9. Albuquerque Roadrunners (7.43 / -1 ) Making a big splash by bringing TE Rob Gronkowski out of retirement, the Roadrunners made a step forward in the TE room. That said, the expansion franchise still has a long way to go before making waves in a top heavy Interior Division. Who lands in Albuquerque at #4 overall will need to make an immediate impact for the Roadrunners to start catching up with the elites of Northwoods and OKC.
  10. Lincoln Johnsons (7.57 / -1 ) There is plenty of reason to be optimistic for the newly relocated Johnsons, but the offseason hasn't been the best for Lincoln. In dire need of receiving upgrades, the Johnsons still have several holes to fill. The front office missed out on the free agent frenzy, but the draft could be a great place to address these needs given the cornucopia of rookie WR.

It Could Happen.... The Case for MVP

Albuquerque - Austin Ekeler, RB - A dynamic threat, Ekeler picks right up with his new team in the desert. Hauling in plenty of PPR and 1st Down points, Ekeler goes from Robin to Batman and carries the Roadrunners to a surprising start to the franchise's history.
Alaska - Lamar Jackson, QB - The 2019 QB of the Year missed out on the MVP race because of a mid-season trade from Flemington to Alaska. If 2020 plays out like 2019, then it would be no surprise that Jackson picks up the MVP this time around. In fact, the Vegas odds have him as second in the early betting.
Dunedin - Patrick Mahomes, QB - Recognized as the most talented QB in the Alliance, Mahomes is the early favorite for the MVP award. With a strong 2020 campaign that doesn't feature a historic collapse, but instead an Exterior Division crown it would be hard to see anyone but Patrick as the most valuable.
Hawaii - Miles Sanders, RB - When Hawaii boldly traded for the sophomore RB, they did so wanting to get a star. If Sanders lives up to the hype as the dual-threat he's being advertised as, then a strong opening season for the Volcanoes could get him into the conversation. Getting just enough passing attack out of Drew Brees, Sanders carves up the Alliance on his way to a rushing title.
Lincoln - Christian McCaffrey, RB - He should have been the 2019 MVP, had it not been for the historic snubbing by the previous ownership of the former Flemington Hedgehogs (RIP). Picking right up where he left off, CMC goes on a corn-fueled rampage and tears the Interior Division a new one as he claims his rightful crown.
Northwoods - Ezekiel Elliott, RB - The Hoes are known for their great passing attack, but in 2020 that all changes. Zeke carries the ball right through the hype of St. Louis, the lost Johnsons, the baby Roadrunners, and hurdles the hungover zombie of Oklahoma City as he brings back all the hardware to the Northwoods!
Oklahoma City - Michael Thomas, WR - He did it in 2019, despite the CMC crybabies. He'll do it again in 2020. Case closed.
San Juan - Deshaun Watson, QB - With everyone handing the Exterior Division to the Kodiak before a down is played, Watson's rise to the top will be all the sweeter. His arm is a cannon. His legs are lightning. His brain is a machine. His goal is the MVP and he never misses his target.
St. Louis - Russell Wilson, QB - The new sheriff in town whips the sorry Clydesdales into shape and raises the Titanic! From zero to hero, St. Louis builds a statue outside the Dome to commemorate the greatness of Wilson, posing, of course, with the MVP trophy in hand.
Swansea City - Saquon Barkley, RB - Avoiding injury, Barkley reestablishes the Terror on the Tames with fellow RB Nick Chubb and reminds everyone why the greatest threat across the pond doesn't come by air, but by scorched turf and punishing stiff arms.
submitted by Sconnie92 to UFFA [link] [comments]

RW Lockout - Boom Bust, Crackin Earth, Mana Tithe, Molten Pillaging Planes Walkin Dragon Deck

TLDR: Ponza turned RW - This deck is a feature of ice_nine_ recent 5-0 and discussions on Twitter among many community members. If you like to literally destroy lands every turn, you're looking in the right place. Ramp? No, we fuel the deck with only cards that attack the opponent. Are we ruthless in doing so? You betcha.


Links to Content:


1 Crack, 2 Boom, Red Pillage, White Tithe! - (Intro and Jibberish)

Strictly speaking in the world of magic, there are more win conditions or ways to aggravate your opponents then simply swinging creatures sideways as they hurtle towards your opponents. You can Mill out your opponent. You can control the game. You can even combo out. As many know from my content you can also Prison them out, or in essence "Lock'em Out." In previous decks we attempt to utilize [[Blood Moon]] to restrict mana in a Prison/Tax like effect. The weakness to these strategies are the removal of your enchantment or perhaps your taxing creature like [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]. So take that issue out of the way, we are after all a card game requiring resource allocation. So lets attack the lands!

“Those who seek to upset the balance must be taxed for such ambitions.” —Verithain, mesa high priest
[[Mana Tithe]]


Ponza RG vs RW Lock out

There are simple distinctions between these two types of decks. Without really delving to deeply into them I'll separate them into two styles to help you determine which you prefer.
"Turn 2: Set'em back!, Turn 3: [[Bloodbraid Elf]] value into Set'em back again! Turn 4: Big Juicy Threat!"

"Turn 7 - First Spell for our Opponent"


Card Selection and Evolution of Choices - A Meta Deck

Although I get a lot of kick back on calling some decks 'meta decks' I think there are some decks which target the meta a lot more then others. Let me utilize the (very simplified) example:

"Burn their homes. Salt their lands. Nothing survives." -- The Western Paladin [[Pillage]] (7th Edition)

Core - Cards similar in both Walker & Creature Threat Builds

“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Er, among our chief weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and near fanatical devotion to the Pope! -- Monty Python https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV11t_qYikg


Non-Core - Flex Spots

Sideboard
I won't go into details of the sideboard choices. The meta deck nature means you will need to target what you are likely having issues with. Dredge? Graveyard hate. Wide boards of token/creatures? Sweepers. Heavy artifact decks? Stoney Silence, WeaTear, or other cards that pressure these stylizes of decks. Decks that play multiple spells a turn? [[Trinisphere]] may be your option. Sweeper? [[Anger the Gods]]. So on and so forth.

“Worlds turn in crucial moments of decision. Make your choice.” —Gustha Ebbasdotter, Kjeldoran royal mage [[Enervate]]

This is where you tune to what you want to do. Your goal 1: Limit lands, your Goal 2: Target their deck or beat them down before they can get back on their feet.

You missed ______ card!
The beauty of a deck in early stages or being revitalized from an older build, or simply re-imagined. I'd encourage anyone to go ahead and post suggestions, ideas, or reconstruction of the deck to see what comes about of the concept.


Pros & Cons

Typically this would be where I'd bullet point and note the Pros and Cons, but I'm going to just highlight two pieces.
Pro: Deck comes out of no where (for now) and catches folks off guard. Mana Tithe your opponent and you've messed with their head for the remainder of the match. The meta is full of greedy mana decks, targeting these can give you a leg up against them.
Con: [[Wrenn & Six]] literally kills the concept of the deck, and if you prepare for a certain set of matchups and miss you are in for a rocky road. (Example: Prepare for graveyard decks, match up against go wide creature decks, ouch...).


Future of RW Lockout - Conclusion

Magic is not always about the Tier 1 meta deck that you wish to attempt and crush your opponents. In fact, a deck that fits a play style or archetype that you are most familiar with can be piloted to victories against the top tier decks in the hands of an unfamiliar player. Modern capitalizes on this in many ways and in many cases you will hear "Play the deck you are most familiar with."
Does that sit with this deck? Sure! But also there is a level of gratification of destroying land after land, that I cannot explain and will either be on the same side of the fence or the opposite to your opinion. The polarizing nature from the play style of this deck makes it a quirky one for sure, but one that I think can be explored and fit to a players style which makes the deck building and tweaking unique.

The deck likely needs some fine tuning still but the grounds of these versions are certainly an excellent place to start. As always please suggest ideas, approaches, and even ways to avoid losing to the deck. Knowing how you win with and beat the deck helps with the decks construction and future development!


Future Content & Social:

submitted by FluffyWolf2 to ModernMagic [link] [comments]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Wizards today unveiled the Capital City Go-Go as the name for the team’s NBA G League affiliate set to begin play at the start of the 2018-19 season. Community Health Center Capital Fund. One of Capital Link's original founding partners, Community Health Center Capital Fund (Capital Fund) now serves as its lending affiliate. Capital Fund manages several health center New Markets Tax Credit loan programs and provides targeted direct loans to health centers to assist them in leveraging multiple sources of financing for their capital projects. The Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards’ NBA G League affiliate, announced their coaching staff additions for the 2019-20 season. Dan Tacheny – Associate Head Coach Phil Goss – Assistant Coach David Noel – Assistant Coach Mike Williams – Director of Player Development Jimmy Bradshaw – Assistant Coach Amber Nichols is the assistant general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards’ G-League affiliate. On any given day she’s one of the unsuspecting individuals in a gym. The minor league affiliate history for the Washington Capitals hockey team of the NHL. Washington Capitals [NHL] Farm Teams. Season Farm Team League; 1974-1976: Richmond Robins: AHL: 1975-1976: Baltimore Clippers: AHL: 1976-1977: Springfield Indians: AHL: 1977-1984: Hershey Bears: AHL: 1984-1988: Binghamton Whalers: AHL: 1987-1988: Fort Wayne

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