On Saturday night the LA Galaxy suffered defeat after twenty three matches at home without a loss. The Vancouver Whitecaps were able to capitalize on an early goal and hold the 1-0 lead for the win. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately... see below) that's all I really know about the match. So, gentle reader, you may be asking yourself, "why the hell are you writing a post-match analysis?"
Let's see if I can adequately explain. I'll use my standard format.
- Best weekend in years: You see... I had one of the best weekends in years. I was supposed to meet a friend (Justin) in Joseph, Oregon for a couple nights in a rustic cabin and an epic day-hike from Wallowa Lake into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. We had checked ahead with a local establishment called Embers Brew House, and they said that if we came in, they would let us watch the match. So here's how things unfolded.
- Free fishing: Justin beat me into town and went to get a fishing license. When he asked the woman for a license, she said, "You're from out of state... I'm not selling you a license." Justin, who regularly fishes in this area was a little taken aback. He just kind of looked at her and said. "Ummmm..." at which point she smiled and informed him that fishing was free this weekend, so he didn't have to buy a license. I'd say that's a positive!
- USMNT Match v Netherlands: Justin is a huge soccer fan, so he headed over to Embers and had them put on the USMNT match. I showed up a little late, but we got to watch most of the match, which was very entertaining. The US played a very open attacking match, lining up with a 4-3-3. Michael Bradley was very good in the attacking third, and despite being out-played on the night, the US came away with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory. As a Galaxy fan, the best part of the match for me was the play of Gyasi Zardes. He scored a great goal, very reminiscent of the goals he was scoring last year, and looked extremely confident, executing a number of great attacking plays. This performance, combined with the goal he scored last week against New England make me optimistic that he is breaking out of the funk he's been in this season. Finally, the weak play of the US center backs is probably good for Omar Gonzalez's prospects with the national team. Unfortunately this may end up being a negative for the Galaxy and their fans, as he could miss a large chunk of the season if called up for the Gold Cup.
- Hike to Ice Lake: On Saturday, Justin and I embarked on an epic hike from Wallowa Lake to Ice lake: a trek of roughly eight miles starting at an elevation of 4680ft and ascending to 7880ft. We left a little before 9:00am and arrived a little after noon: just in time to set up the hammock and eat a little lunch. The winter ice had just started to clear around the edge of the lake, and Justin fished (catch-and-release) for about half an hour while I laid in the hammock taking in the stunning views. He seemed to catch a fish about every third cast. After a little less than three hours hanging out, we packed up our gear and bolted back down the mountain. We made it in about two and a half hours, headed back to the cabin for a shower, and got to Embers in time to catch the pre-game show. Justin said to me, "This has been the best weekend ever. There's no way the Galaxy can lose."
- Unable to watch the match: Of course we all know the outcome of the match... so why are we still talking positives? Well... just as the match was starting, Direct TV cuts the feed and pops up some message about how the subscriber hadn't paid for this channel. Theresa, the owner of Embers, actually called Direct TV for us to see if she could get the game on. She did everything she could to get the match, but after fifteen minutes on the line with someone from Atlanta, she was told that a Vancouver -v- LA match was not part of her regional package. Despite the fact that it was listed as scheduled programming, she couldn't even pay to get the feed. Justin said, "I guess our luck has run out." Of course, when I saw the result of the match, I realized that he was wrong. We couldn't watch the match because our awesome luck prevented me from having to suffer through a Galaxy defeat at the end of such a wonderful day.
Now there were a few negatives on the day, so I need to mention them here.
- Accosted by deer: At the trail head as I was pulling my pack out of the back of the car and gnawing on a delicious scone when I turned around to see a small buck coming out of the woods towards us. I didn't think too much of it, because there are a lot of deer around here. The next time I turned around, however, he was right in my face making a b-line for my scone. I had to, literally, shove him on the shoulder and shout at him to get lost before he wandered a few feet away and started nibbling on some grass. When I turned away from him, there were two more small bucks converging on me. Now, I don't want to get on my high horse here, but this is why you don't feed the wildlife. These deer were more tame than the animals on my sisters' farm.
- Couldn't finish dinner: In spite of not being able to watch the match, we had a most excellent dinner. The only problem was that, having burned a ton of calories on the day, we ordered with our stomachs instead of our heads. We both got appetizers and calzones. Justin got poutine and I got some awesome Thai tacos. Unfortunately, the portions were so huge that there was no way we could finish all the food. If you ever find yourself in Joseph, Oregon, I can't recommend Embers enough.
- Loss: BTW... did I mention that the Galaxy lost... at home... in a match they probably could have at least tied? My weekend adventure is over, so now I guess I have to think about that. Bummer.