GPS Portland Phoenix 2 MPS 0 5/14/13

GPS Portland Phoenix 2 MPS 0  5/14/13

Apocalypse Now and SmuttyNose set the tone

Madden ’93 style

Game 49 (Game 17 Season 2)

GPS Portland Phoenix           2
MPS                                       0

US Open Cup First Round
USL PDL (4thDivision) vs. USASA (BSSL) (5th Division)
5/14/13 8:00 PM
Memorial Field   Portland, ME
Attendance: 150

Overheard from a Portland player “Wots a French Fry, mate?  Looks like Chips, innit?” Maine accent

I don’t think I have ever anticipated a game in the last two years more than this one.  So many of us in the local soccer nut-job community have become emotionally invested in this MPS US Open Cup run.  It’s been the primary topic of conversation at Revs tailgates, and honestly the overriding focus of DITP since the cup run began back in November.  This is the 5th game we’ve covered, and the 6th in the run.  I had a lot of reasons to make the Tuesday trip up to Maine to catch the action; living up to the expectations of the bar I set last year, which brings me to my unfinished business with the Apocalypse Now burger.  The Mrs. came along (for the ride, if not for the game, slept in the car rather than “waste $8” she said, what a hater!) and we rolled into the Nosh Kitchen Bar around 5:30.  In full disclosure, I didn’t get the full Apocalypse, the one they showed on Man vs. Food, with 4 patties, I got the 1 patty version, which was still $20.  An expenditure this superfluous made The Mrs. cringe, but I assured her she could take solace in the fact that the largest version, which I usually gravitate toward, no matter the foodstuff (we call this Fat-Boy-Chillin in the Greensboro vernacular) was indeed 28.57% cheaper than the $28 version.  I had just finished licking the last of the fois-gras and cherry jam from my plate and was slipping into a fat induced coma when our traveling compatriots the Chris’s strolled in with their buddy from Maine.  I awoke for a second round of something called bacon powder fries which are currently outlawed in Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, and California, and somehow was able to rise from my chair and make it to my car for the 5 minute drive over to the field.

Crowd

The stadium was exactly as I remembered it from 2012 and the sound of unintelligible English accents confirmed I was indeed in the right place.  While the USL PDL’s primary mission is to develop the next generation of American soccer players, the Portland Phoenix have taken an alternative route to US Open Cup qualification by stocking their team with lower division English and now Frenchwashouts.  I had originally suspected MPS, because of their affiliation with the same GPS parent company to be a part of the same axis of evil imported pay for play scheme, but some crack reporting by Camille for thecup.us revealed we should have no reservations about backing MPS all the way.  They are only nominally affiliated with the parent company and originally formed under the very un-English name Monsters of The Apocalypse (Now burger).  After stopping at the ticket table to contribute my $8 (That’s £5.27 at the current rate for you Portland players, your welcome.) I immediately looked for my snack bar friend ladies and ran though the full gamut of possible human emotions ranging from desperate despair when I saw the windows of the snack bar boarded up, to unbridled jubilation 5 seconds later when I spotted the traditional concrete snack bar replaced by a mobile unit featuring vibrant full color cut outs of a complete selection of minor league stadium treats, in a style that brought to mind those “Lets go out to the kitchen and grab ourselves a snack” movie interludes.  I was the first among the group to arrive, as the Chris’s had gone for one more pregame beer, and I had been restricted by the Mrs. and driving duties (but unfortunately not my own better internal judgment) to 2 pregame beers.  As the teams lined up for introductions and the Anthem played for the MPS players and the crowds benefit, the rest of the traveling party filtered in and we were joined by fellow Midnight Rider and prolific Revs freakout twitter celebrity @BenSaufley, a loud and proud native Mainer who has thrown his US Open Cup supporting weight firmly behind Portland Phoenix, even possibly against the Revs, if that situation should arise.  Back to the lecture at hand.

MPS

The game kicked off and GPS scored a goal off a header in the first 45 seconds.  Not the start MPS was hoping for, but sometimes when it happens that fast, its not necessarily terrible.  They did have a full 90+ to make it up and it appeared MPS were on their way to doing so.  The Massachusetts side controlled possession for most of the first half, and had numerous legitimate chances slip through their grasp.  Our group was by far the most vocal and obviously drawing looks of disapproval from the rest of the crowd, who for their part was doing their best impression of the Gillette Morgue.  I had spent most of the first half trying to convince my compatriots to join with me in singing the first ever MPS chant I had coined in a moment of inspiration the night before.  All were too self conscious and declined, and as a result the song never saw the light of day, however, I will reveal it here for public consumption.

#1 Portland fan Saufley and spouse? A much better sport than mine who slept in the car

They don’t have boys from England
They don’t have kits that match.
They’re on a 5 game cup run,
They’re the Premier Boys from Mass.

They crushed the dreams of Greeks
The Black Stars threw a punch.
Twice They beat Rhode Island
Then ate Newtown for lunch… Oooh… (repeat first verse)

Certiifed club banger, right? Right? (crickets)

We hit the half at 1-0 and figured it was only a matter of time before MPS equalized.  In the 71st, Portland French import Israel, (not to be confused with Portland Israeli import French) was shown a straight red for his vicious tackle on MPS player/manager Nick Christman.  The tackle pushed Ric Flair Reid over the edge who began vehemently hurtling anti-Anglican sentiment toward the Portland bench.  The manager made a move to get up like it was about to go Savage Life right then and there and before an assistant import came over to warn our whole gallery we could in fact be summarily evicted from the premises.  MPS got a shot of energy after the challenge and had a few more near misses.  Because MPS was pressing forward so hard, they were vulnerable in the back and chopped down Portland’s Omanga in the box on an 89th minute break to set up a game clinching penalty.  The Frenchman converted and MPS’s cup run looked doomed, but they kept fighting and only a tough stoppage time aerial collision in the box that required an MPS player leaving the field in an ambulance could end the game with certainty, as both sides agreed to stop there rather than play a futile few more minutes of earned extra time.

A great time was had by all who attended.  We saw some high level action and what was definitely the most intense game I’ve witnessed to date in 2013.  MPS return to BSSL play, but do have a amateur US Open Cup Region I final vs. Icon FC to look forward to in June, and Portland progresses to play Revs USL Pro affiliate the Rochester Rhinos for the right to play the Revs in Round 3 of the US Open Cup.

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