8. Thoughts on the ESPN broadcast
Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellmen called a fantastic game. They brought plenty of insight and knowledge while doing a terrific job of encapsulating the drama of the events as they unfolded.
ESPN’s onsite studio crew, however, was just one step above awful. Kasey Keller started the afternoon by calling Fanendo Adi Fernando Adi. Considering that Keller has called games involving Adi some six times over the last two years, that is inexcusable.
Keller’s was his usual grating self, and he gave viewers little substance on the game. Alejandro Moreno provided even less. The crew didn’t have much airtime, but in the little they did have, they lacked the gravitas and expertise to match the occasion – in stark contrast to the game announcers.
9. Joy for Portland
This wasn’t an easy ride for the Timbers. Back in May, this team faced a supporter’s protest at home before a game against DC United. GM Gavin Wilkinson has been on the end of vitriol for too many years to remember, while Porter took questions about his own future as late as October.
Adi was the target of plenty of fan abuse in the summer, while frustrations with Nagbe reached an all-time high. But all they came good. It’s an incredible validation of the project embarked on by Merritt Paulson, Wilkinson, and Porter three years ago.
This was a special group, and every player who contributed during this run – the likes of Borchers, Jewsbury, and Valeri especially – are Timbers legends. Portland has always had plenty going for it on the soccer front, but they’ve never been champions.
That they’ve won their first MLS Cup before Seattle and Vancouver makes this accomplishment even sweeter.
10. What a season
MLS’ 20th season promised much, with high-profile signings, two new expansion teams, a new CBA, and a new broadcast package, and it delivered.
This was MLS’ best campaign yet, and it was capped off in style by a playoff competition that thrilled from start to finish.
We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings. Thanks for reading all year.