caleb porter

Timbers ready to rock Portland

Portland starts Season 7 in MLS at home vs. expansion foe
March 3, 2017 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

A season after getting largely overworked by a schedule that seemed to not end from the title season the previous year, the Portland Timbers are back to chase their second league title.

Portland opens its 2017 MLS season Friday against Minnesota United at Providence Park.

A late-season slump caused the Timbers to miss out on the playoffs last season, but it helped the team recupperate for this season and retool its lineup.

Leading scorer Fanendo Adi remains as the team's top offensive threat, while midfielder Darlington Nagbe is working his way into the national landscape on Team USA. And, fan favorite Diego Chara isn't going anywhere. Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson returns as well.

Two key losses are defender Nat Borchers, who retired, as did long-time captain Jack Jewsbury.

“We are hoping that it is going to be a very good season,” striker Fanendo Adi told the press at training on Tuesday. “We had a very successful preseason, playing friendly games against very good teams, so we are hoping that will translate into the games that matter the most. Hopefully we will go into the game on Friday with confidence from our last game.”

Of course, the Timbers have had their fair share of success in recent years. They finished the 2013 season on top of the West before making a run to the Conference Championship in the postseason, then surged to MLS Cup 2015, where their 2-1 win over Columbus Crew SC made history for the club.

In both of those seasons, the Timbers were bouncing back from disappointment. The 2012 season marked Portland’s worst year in their MLS era, forcing the club to make their only coaching change since joining the league as they finished second-to-last in the West. The 2014 campaign, like 2016, was saddled with high expectations after the Timbers’ first-place finish in their conference the year before. But a slow start to the season saw them fall just short of a playoff spot, missing out on the sixth and final seed by a single point.

The Timbers would like to break out of their boom-and-bust cycle. Yet for now, they’re focused on moving past the disappointments of 2016 as they start a new season.

“Everyone needed to rest after 34 games in the season,” said Adi. “It was a good offseason, but now that we are back there is just one thing on the plate: we play for trophies, we play to win games as they come. We are going to lose some, but the focus of every game is to come into the game and win.

The Timbers’ leading scorer for the last two seasons, Adi believes it is the players behind him in the formation that could make this season special.

 

 

Timbers in need of some points

Portland readies for home test against West leading Dallas
April 2, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - After four games the Portland Timbers are just three points shy of the third spot in Major League Soccer's Western Conference. Trouble is, that's a big three points as it equates a victory.

So far, the Timbers have been victory-challenged, turning in four solid performances that turned into three draws and a frustrating loss at Vancouver Saturday.

Portland has scored three goals during the season, and given up four, but two of those were in the 90th minute or stoppage time, including Saturday's game-winner.

Vancouver won 2-1 in the first of six games that make up the Cascadia Cup between the Timbers, Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders.

A victory this week would be a huge lift as Saturday's opponent is Dallas FC, which leads the Western Conference with 10 points in four games.

Dallas has scored six times, and given up a league-low one goal amongst teams that have scored at least one goal. Colorado has given up no goals, but also scored none, settling for three draws.

Saturday's game is set for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Portland's offense has been centered around forward Fanendo Adi, who has all three goals, which has him tied for first in the league with four other players. One of those players is Blas Perez of Dallas.

The Timbers appear ready for a breakout game offensively. They lead the league in corner kicks with 26, and are second in shots-on-goal with 18, trailing only Vancouver with 20.

 

 

Timbers not in a hurry to panic

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:20am
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

After a lively practice performed in front of more than a dozen local media members, Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter had a resilient response to the undertone of the ensuing question-and-answer session that resonated around the teams’ first three games - all draws.

The undertone? Is he starting to get frustrated/worried about the Western Conference standings and the points his team is missing out on by not winning at least one of the games, two of which it clearly outplayed the opponent.

The answer? Not at all.

“We’ve got three points, and that’s more points than we had after three games than we had two years ago when we won the West,” Porter said referring to his first season as coach when the Timbers finished atop the conference standings. “The points will come. We just have to stay consistent in what we’re doing because we’re playing well.”

Portland won the conference title in Porter’s first season after moving up from the University of Akron. The team attacked the goal constantly and it turned into 57 points. Last season, the speed of play seemed to slow down just a tad other than a regular late blast and it turned into 49 points.

But, those 49 points were one shy of Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff spot.

So, naturally there’s regular conversation from every group of team supporters about those points left on the field and not being put on the standings.

Porter pointed to the length of the season - 29 more games - and the fact the Timbers have given up just two goals.

What’s frustrating to watch is how well the team plays and the results that it doesn’t turn into. In their season opener, for example, Portland scored an amazing 11-0 edge in corner kicks against Real Salt Lake. The game, though, ended 0-0.

The Timbers went up by a goal twice the following week against Los Angeles only to have the Galaxy even the score for a 2-2 draw. Saturday, an evenly-played match ended 0-0 at Kansas City.

This week the team travels to Vancouver, B.C. for the first of their matches with their Cascadia Cup rivals.

Portland actually has some good history on its side in looking at its record. Not only do the Timbers have three points, but they’ve got two shutouts. Under Porter, the Timbers have finished seasons impressively. Not only did they win the West in 2013, they finished third in the league in goals scored, and first in goal differential - 21. They led the league in draws as well as had a league-low in losses with just five.

Last season, Portland finished third in goals scored and second in draws. In his third season, Porter is 26-14-31.

Three points after three games is actually a good start to a season, but that’s equal to one win and two losses. That’s maybe the most frustrating part for fans, deciding if one win - to get that sense of victory - coupled with two losses is better than not losing at all. It goes against the drama of sports, which the Wide World of Sports highlighted in the ‘70s with the tagline “Thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”

Draws work well in that they keep a team moving forward in the point totals, but they get on a supporters’ nerves after awhile. So, hopefully, this week the Timbers will get off that train of single points, and either win or lose.

After three no-decisions, even a loss might help fans feel more comfortable with the team this season.

New-look Timbers show off potential in opener

Sun, 03/03/2013 - 9:55pm
Mike Donovan
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-08-10

New coach. New style. New players.

And at halftime, it appeared to be the same old Timbers. A leaky back line and some bad mistakes left the Timbers down 3-1 heading into the locker room after 45 minutes of action.

Losing at halftime is not a new position for the Timbers in the MLS. In fact, it was the 24th time the club has trailed at the break in 69 matches since its ascension to Major League Soccer. And in 19 of those games, Portland had been unable to fight its way back for a point. But this might not be the same Timbers as in previous years.

The second half was dominated by the home side, as they made up the two goal deficit with a superior playing style. Two-thirds possession and a 13-to-4 shot advantage in the second half was enough for Timbers to gain a point in their home opener.

It’s easy to say things have changed solely due to a new coach and new players, but what actually has changed from previous editions of the Timbers? Here are a two things that have definitely changed-

1. A dynamic playmaker
In his first league match, Diego Valeri was a revelation for the club. While Darlington Nagbe has shown flashes, the MLS Timbers have never had an attacking midfielder like Valeri. While his 51 turnovers was a lot, his constant array of attacking passes and his skill on the ball was magnificent. His first half goal was also a thing of beauty and made mincemeat out of former MLS defender of the Year Jamison Olave. If Valeri can keep playing at the level he did tonight, he will be the MLS Newcomer of the Year.

2. Constant pressure
"You just get the feeling the Portland Timbers have 14 players on the field right now."

That was the quote from ESPN announcer Taylor Twellman late in the second half of the match. And that is exactly the type of pressure that has rarely been seen from the Timbers before. While counterattacks were common, a sustained wave of pressure and passing was not. Portland had 496 successful passes Sunday night compared to New York’s 249. The majority of those passes were due to the outstanding nights by Diego Chara, Will Johnson, and Valeri. Their presence on the ball was exceptional.

The trouble with overanalyzing the opening match of the season is that there are still 33 games left in league play. In 2011, the Timbers were thrashed by the Rapids in the season opener and still contended for a playoff spot until the final week of the season. In 2012, Portland beat up a Philadelphia Union side and then put together a lackluster season.

That being said, overcoming a two-goal deficit for the first time in MLS (0-19-0 in 2011/2012) is definitely something to be looked at on a positive note.

 

Mike Donovan is the Portland Timbers beat reporter for oregonsports.com. Follow him at:

www.twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan

 

The Goalkeeper kicks the ball to the leftback, who is 10 yards ahead of him to his left.

The leftback takes one small touch upfield and then taps a centering pass to a holding midfielder.  

That midfielder also takes one touch and returns a pass to the same area where the leftback was.

However, the leftback has started advancing upfield and his spot has been taken over by an outside midfielder.

After receiving the ball close to the sideline, the midfielder takes six dribbles while driving upfield towards the opponent’s goal.

In five seconds, he covers about 20 yards and then taps a pass to an attacking midfielder who had taken a run parallel to the dribbler.
The attacking midfielder lets the ball run towards the center of the pitch without taking a touch.

A defender tries to close down the space, but before he does, the attacking midfielder sends a pass through to a forward, who has snuck in between the two central defenders.  

The forward delivers a clinical finish with his left foot and gives the goalkeeper no chance of keeping the ball out of the net.

The above passage is a breakdown of the second goal that the Portland Timbers scored during their 3-3 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes Sunday night at Jeld-Wen Field.

In their first two seasons in the MLS, the Portland Timbers have never scored a goal like the one they produced in the 27th minute of their home preseason opener. While there have been lovely counterattack goals (Danny Mwanga vs San Jose in 2012, Diego Chara vs Vancouver in 2011), Portland has not been known as a team that uses a full-length possession to score a goal.

In the past, the majority of Timbers run-of-play goals have been scored by A) producing a counterattack that surprises the defense and catches them out of position or

B) from a cross from the wing. Basically, the Timbers relied on the other team to make mistakes for a likely goal scoring opportunity to come up.
If last night’s goal is any indication, this is no longer the case. Caleb Porter’s style isn’t just about forcing defenders into mistakes, but it’s also about just playing superior soccer.

After one game in front of a home crowd, it is already obvious that Porter’s style is worlds away from the previous coaching strategies. He also has seemed to find players that fit the new style.

Diego Valeri, who was signed as designated player in the offseason, was a revelation in the midfield Sunday night. He has no problem taking on defenders and is extremely clever in his decision making when attacking. He can see angles that the majority of players are unable to see.

Other new additions made their names known with newly acquired Ryan Johnson collecting a hat trick on three very impressive finishes and fullbacks Michael Harrington and Ryan Miller providing a spark from the backline.

Players like Harrington, Valeri and Johnson were brought in because Porter and GM Gavin Wilkinson thought they would be able to fit the style that Porter wants to play. Most of the returning Timbers, however, might have to adjust their games to fit the new style.

Darlington Nagbe, who played under Porter at Akron, unsurprisingly seemed comfortable with his role last night, as evidenced by his streaking run and pass to Valeri on the second Timbers goal. For players like Kalif Alhassan and Danny Mwanga, the new style is one that they should be able to play. Alhassan, in particular, has the skill-set to play in tight spaces and make nice attacking passes.

It would be unreasonable to expect the Timbers to always produce the nice on-the-ball play they had on Sunday. But if they continue to play Porter’s style at a high level, many Timbers players should be able to produce successful seasons.

Mike Donovan is the Portland Timbers beat reporter for oregonsports.com. Follow him at:

www.twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan

 

 

Nov. 8, 2012

After the final Timbers game of the year, the Portland Mercury’s Brian Gjurgevich dubbed me “Timbers stat nerd of 2012.”  This is a quite an honor for me to be bestowed with, and I take the title very seriously.

Because of this, I wanted to take a second and share some of favorite, cool or simply bizarre stats that I came across during or after the 2012 season.  

Scoring droughts coming to an end
Despite scoring fewer goals in 2012 than 2011, quite a few Portland Timbers had long scoring droughts come to an end.

When Sal Zizzo put in the Timbers first goal in a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on August 15th, it was the first time Zizzo had ever scored a goal for a professional, non-reserve squad in a league match. Despite signing his first professional contract in July of 2007 with Hannover 96, the winger had only put the ball in the net in friendlies, cup matches or for reserve teams.

If it seemed like David Horst didn’t know how to react after heading the ball into the net against the Seattle Sounders on June 24, its probably because he hadn’t had much practice. After all, that goal was Horst’s first MLS goal despite being drafted in 2008 by Real Salt Lake. Injuries almost derailed Horst’s career but he has seemed to find a home in Portland.

Timbers midfielder Franck Songo’o ended the season in a more attacking role than he had in the beginning of the season. Yet when Songo’o scored his match-winning free kick goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps on August 25, it was his first league goal since scoring on a header for Real Zaragoza on Valentine’s Day 2009 against UD Las Palmas. Songo’o’s last goal with his feet was scored on March 29, 2008 when he scored for Sheffield Wednesday.

Other Timbers to end scoreless streaks were Eric Brunner, who in his 80th MLS match scored a goal with one of his feet for the first time on May 20th, and Kalif Alhassan, who on opening night scored a goal on the US mainland for the first time in his three seasons for the Portland Timbers

Werewolves of Portland
One of the more interesting stats that developed through the season was the Timbers penchant for playing well in Portland when under a Full Moon. With wins over San Jose (Thunder Moon) and Colorado (Blue Moon) and draws with Columbus (Flower Moon) and DC United (Harvest Moon), the Timbers ran their record to 5-0-2 in their last seven home Full Moon games.

Five goals is a lot
On consecutive Saturdays in July, the Timbers gave up five goals to their opponents. First on July 14, in Gavin Wilkinson’s first game back as the Timbers head coach, Portland fell 5-3 to the defending champ LA Galaxy, then on July 21, the club was shut out 5-0 by FC Dallas. In the previous 335 games (their entire USL tenure and previous 51 games), the club had conceded five goals in a league match just once.

North End reigns supreme
The Timbers Army section has always inspired the hometown team and seemed to bring an extra edge to the club. But in its two MLS seasons, the Timbers have taken that appreciation to a new level by scoring a huge portion of its goals in front of the North End. In 2012, 16 out of the 24 goals scored by Portland at Jeld-Wen Field were scored heading towards the North End. Add that to the 21 of 30 scored in the North End in 2011 and that brings the percentage of goals scored in the North End to 68.5 percent.

In the 34 halves the MLS Timbers have played headed towards the North End, they have scored 37 goals. In the 102 halves played on the road or towards the South End, they have scored the exact same number. That translates to 1.09 goals every North End half and 0.36 goals per half played on the road or South End.

No way San Jose

The Portland Timbers and the San Jose Earthquakes have been playing each other since 1975. And, despite the Earthquakes having the best record in the MLS in 2012, San Jose struggled to beat the Timbers, again. Portland is undefeated in five MLS league matches with the Bay Area club (1-0-4) and hasn’t lost a league match against San Jose since May 26, 1982.

Where is my penalty kick?
In 2012, the Portland Timbers became the fourth team in MLS history not to be awarded a penalty kick during an entire MLS season, but the Timbers have a longer penalty kick drought to keep an eye on in the future. Portland’s last penalty kick goal was July 30, 2011 against Toronto FC. That means in the Timbers last 48 games, they have scored zero goals via the penalty kick. In those same 48 games, Timbers opponents have score 7 goals from the spot.

If you have any favorite stats of your own from the 2012 Timbers season, please tweet me at twitter.com/themikedonovan and have a wonderful offseason.

 

Sept 15, 2012

The next time the Timbers take on a Cascadia Cup rival in Portland, they will have a new coach and likely some new players on the pitch. Saturday’s 1-1 draw might have given the Timbers a glimpse of what their future looks like in 2013 and beyond.

In the future envisioned by Timbers management, and fans alike, the Timbers will constantly play big games for trophies in front of national TV audiences. While the 2012 season has been a disappointment in many ways, the chance to win the Cascadia Cup in front of a home crowd made it the biggest and most important game of the season.  

And, in the face of all that pressure, certain Timber players seemed to rise to the occasion. With no spots on the team guaranteed for next season, players played like their jobs were on the line, in addition to the Cup.

In his last two seasons with the Portland Timbers, Rodney Wallace has been criticized so much by Timbers fans that he might as well changed his name to “Much-Maligned Rodney Wallace.” Despite showing flashes going forward, Wallace has often been the scapegoat for his penchant for playing blind long balls out of the back.

But with Steven Smith suspended, Wallace was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in five matches. But that was in the midfield. Wallace hadn’t started at left back since the fifth game of the MLS season. Despite this, Wallace delivered his finest match of his Timbers career, turning the match into a video resume for incoming head coach Caleb Porter.

While his goal will get the headlines, it was his all-around play that will keep Wallace on the field for the Timbers. When coming forward, Wallace earned numerous corner kicks for Portland and completed 58 successful passes (to just 16 unsuccessful). On defense, he locked down his side of the pitch and had a key block of a Brad Evans cross in the 31st minute. Eddie Johnson had been left unmarked and would have had an open goal if not for Wallace’s key defensive stop.

It wasn’t just Wallace who played well on Saturday. Captain Jack Jewsbury played a nice game at holding midfield and his corner kicks completely turned the match around for Portland.

Jewsbury, who is two full years older than any other Timbers field player, is playing at a level that would certainly merit his inclusion on the team next season. If nothing else, he provides leadership and durability on the field.

Despite playing different positions, Jewsbury and Wallace provide more versatility than the majority of Portland’s current squad. Wallace is a self-described two-way player who has no problem playing close to either goal. Jewsbury on the other hand can play anywhere from right back to attacking midfield.

The match was also a key one for players like Bright Dike, Sal Zizzo, and Hanyer Mosquera to gain experience playing in such a large rivalry game. None of the three players had started against the Sounders in the MLS. While they might not have played their best games Saturday, the big game experience might come in handy, the next time they are faced with an important match.

Mike Donovan is the Portland Timbers beat reporter for oregonsports.com and he tweets at twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan. Donovan, along with oregonsports.com publisher Cliff Pfenning, host the weekly web series, No Pity City, every Tuesday night at 8:30 pm.

 

SATURDAY'S CASCADIA CUP BY THE NUMBERS

Sept. 12, 2012

0- Times that the Portland Timbers have won the Cascadia Cup when Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland have all competed in the same league. The Cascadia Cup was formed in 2004 by the supporters group of the three clubs. With a win Saturday, the Timbers would clinch the 2012 Cascadia Cup.

1- Amount of wins Gavin Wilkinson has as head coach of the Portland Timbers against the Seattle Sounders in league or US Open Cup play. His overall record is 1-6-2 and his only victory came in a 2-0 victory on April 26, 2008.  

2- The number of former Sounders who have scored for the Timbers against Seattle. Andrew Gregor and Darren Sawatzky both scored in the USL against their former clubs, while backup forward Mike Fucito could add his name to the list with a goal Sunday.

3- Away losses for the Sounders in 2012. Seattle has the fewest losses away from home this season of any MLS club. The Sounders also had the fewest away defeats of any MLS team in 2011.

4- National TV games that Kris Boyd has started in for the Timbers. In those four starts, he has four goals, all of which came at Jeld-Wen Field. Boyd has not started the last four games, but he has had a penchant to score goals in big games.

23- Games since neither Mike Chabala or Steven Smith started at left back for the Timbers. Chabala was traded to DC United on August 8, while Smith will be suspended for Saturday’s match due to yellow card accumulation. Rodney Wallace, Lovel Palmer, and Ian Hogg are among the candidates to start at left back for Portland on Saturday.

62- Fouls committed by Timbers midfielder Diego Chara. Chara leads the MLS in fouls and is just two away from his total of 64 last season, which also led the league.  Chara has only committed three fouls in his three previous appearances against Seattle.

2005- The last year Portland beat Seattle twice in the same season. The club’s 1-0 victory on August 7 gave the Timbers their second victory in a league match over their rival club.

$1,457,062.50- The difference in the amount of compensation Kris Boyd and Bright Dike will receive in 2012. Despite Boyd’s higher salary, Dike has started the last four games and scored two goals for Portland. That amount is more than the combined salaries of Seattle’s Freddy Montero, Eddie Johnson, Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso.

Mike Donovan is the Portland Timbers beat reporter for oregonsports.com and he tweets at twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan. Donovan, along with oregonsports.com publisher Cliff Pfenning, host the weekly web series, No Pity City, every Tuesday night at 8:30 pm.

 

FIVE REASONS THE TIMBERS ARE STRUGGLING

May 15, 2012

It's two months into the Portland Timbers second MLS season and the first eight games have left much to be desired. Portland is currently last in the MLS’s Western Conference and is the only team in the West with fewer points (7) than games (8).

Here are five reasons why the Timbers have struggled, and how they might be able to turn their season around.

1. Injuries

Every team gets injured, but the Timbers have dealt with the injury bug early and often. This season has seen injuries at every position, from players that have never played in Portland (Jose Adolfo Valencia) to some of last year’s stalwarts (Futty Danso, Kalif Alhassan, Rodney Wallace, David Horst, etc). So far, the Timbers haven’t been able to catch a break.

There isn't much solution to staying injury-free other than making sure players aren’t rushed back too early and sustain more long-term damage.

2. Where is Nagbe?

While second-year player Darlington Nagbe showed glimpses of his immense talent last season, his rookie year was marred by injuries and a slow start to the year. This season, Nagbe has already bested his scoring mark from last season with three goals. All three goals came from when Nagbe was playing in the center of the field. Despite Nagbe’s success in the middle, he has started three games at outside midfielder.

Ten minutes into the Timbers match vs Real Salt Lake, John Spencer moved Nagbe off the wing and into an attacking center-mid role. All Nagbe did was score two first-rate goals and play his best soccer as a professional. Despite this, Nagbe hasn’t played in the central of the midfield since.The best solution would be to stick Nagbe underneath the strikers and let him create. This would also make it easier on either Jack Jewsbury or Lovel Palmer, as they are better when playing a holding midfield position.

3. The play of the backline

The Timbers ended the 2011 season with some very stout defensive performances and gave up just eight goals in their final ten matches. However, the beginning of 2012 bodes no resemblance to the end of 2011 having conceded 13 goals in the first eight matches. Consistently poor positioning, lack of marking near the end of matches, and ball-watching have led to numerous goals that could have been prevented.

While the fullback position has been justifiably criticized by media and fans alike, the centerbacks have also been at fault on multiple goals this year. Eric Brunner has shown outstanding leadership and has had to cover for poor play on the outside, but he has also not shown the domination in the aerial game that he had last season. The budding partnership between Brunner and Hanyer Mosquera looks promising, but only clean sheets will prove the pair’s worth.

4. Late game debacles

In all but one game this season, the Portland Timbers have entered the 75th minute with a tie or a lead. Despite this, Portland has only been able to get positive results in three of those seven matches. Portland has given up six goals in the final 15 minutes, which leads the league. One reason for the late-game struggles, seems to from needless late-game substitutions. On multiple occasions this season, a second half sub has been at fault for an opponent’s goal. One of those players, James Marcelin, was waived last week to make room for Steven Smith.

One way to fix the problem is to make sure players understand their late game roles. Players such as Diego Chara have seemed to be unsure of what position they are meant to be playing in at the end of matches. Another problem, which might be harder to overcome, is changing the belief of the team at the end of the matches. It's hard to hold a lead when everything in your brain is telling you that you are going to concede a late goal. It might be easier for attacking players to continue their attacking ways instead of trying to overload the defensive half. In fact, Portland is one of just three MLS squads without a goal in the final 15 minutes of a match.

5. The Timbers just aren’t as good as their opponents

The 300-pound elephant staring the Timbers in the face is a scary one. Despite the acquisitions of Kris Boyd and Mosquera, Portland is simply not playing as well as it did in the second half of last season. It's completely possible that the majority of MLS teams have gotten better, while the Timbers have stayed the same or gotten worse.

Since opening night, only Nagbe and Boyd have scored goals. The midfield has provided little in the attack and hasn’t been able to close down on opponent midfielders away from the ball.

In almost every match, the opponents have gotten production from their bench, while the Timbers haven’t gotten much (other than Nagbe’s goal).

The lack of depth in the bench has been easy to see while teams such as Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake and even expansion Montreal have had subs be key parts of goals. In-season acquisitions of Mike Fucito and Smith might provide some much-needed support for Portland, but it still waits to be seen if the Timbers face a “talent issue.”

One positive for the club is the season is only a quarter of the way through. However, if the Timbers can’t turn their early season woes around soon, it will be a long season at Jeld-Wen Field.

Mike Donovan is the Portland Timbers beat reporter for oregonsports.com and he tweets at twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan. Donovan, along with oregonsports.com publisher Cliff Pfenning, host the weekly web series, No Pity City, every Tuesday night at 8:30 pm.

Porter handles first public appearance

The new Timbers coach takes questions for 40 minutes, disses Boyd
Jan. 8, 2013

Caleb Porter talked up Soccer City, USA, the excitement he feels be about coaching in the pro game and his contact with the current roster Tuesday in meeting with the media for the first time at Jeld-Wen Field.

He didn't talk up Kris Boyd, the team's designated player and biggest signing in the first to years of the franchise.

But, that was a small part of the 40-minute press conference.

"I'm very excited to be here, and I can't wait for our game with the New York Red Bulls," Porter said of the team's regular-season opener, March 3.

Porter is Portland's third head coach after John Spencer, and Gavin Wilkinson, the team's general manager who took over on an interim basis after firing Spencer in midseason. It took just two month to lure Porter from his position as head coach at the University of Akron, where he had developed a national champion and earned a salary commensurate with many college football coaches at mid-level schools.

Porter, who is 37, said Portland was one of the few professional jobs he would have Akron to take, if not the only one.

"This is a special place, with great support," he said. "This is one of the jobs I actually looked at as a place I would love to be."

Porter's Akron program produced more than a dozen MLS players and five of the first eight players selected in the 2011 MLS Draft in which the Timbers selected Darlington Nagbe.

In assessing the style of play he anticipates directing, he did not promote that Boyd, the all-time leading scorer in the Scottish Premier League, would fit.

"He's under contract to play here," he said, "but I don't know that he's going to fit the aggressive style of play we're looking for."

Wilkinson, who signed Boyd but then basically refused to play him during the second half of the season, would not comment on the team's direction on whether it's looking to trade Boyd.

 

 

RSS feed