portland timbers mls

When is the MLS Cup again?

Wed, 11/11/2015 - 6:41pm
Cliff Pfenning
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Joined: 2010-07-01

Does anyone remember the Miracle at Providence Park? It was just two weeks ago, but the MLS Playoffs have essentially buried the excitement of the Portland Timbers' shootout victory over Kansas City in the first round of the league playoffs.

Fans owe that to the global soccer version of playoffs, which allows for each team to play a home game.

It's used across the world, and in the U.S. At least for part of the playoffs. It's time for the U.S. to complete its revamping of the world's playoff structure and ditch the home-home system.

Just play of game each round, and get to the championship game, which could be played Sunday if the league wanted.

That's a U.S. playoff system - one game with the winner moving on. U.S. football uses it, and MLS does to, at least for the first round, and then the final. The conference semis and finals are the problem, with each team getting a home game in each round. All it truly does is extend the playoffs and make them less exciting.

Get to the championship game - that's the point of the playoffs, especially with all the inter-league and national team matches going on.

If the Timbers eventually do reach the MLS Cup, it'll be nearly six weeks after the win over Kansas City because of the home-home series, and a week off for national team play. From the start of the season til the Cup, the Timbers will have played nine months starting March 7. Not even baseball, which has a 162-game regular season, plays that long.

MLS already has a U.S. version of regular season play, which separates the league into two conferences rather than one full table. And, there's no relegation/promotion with the next level league. So, it's a U.S. version of soccer. The playoffs are the final step to Americanizing the global game, which the league needs to do to capture the excitement of games like Portland's win at Providence Park, Oct. 29, 2015.

 

Timbers keep magic going

Portland hammers Houston 2-0 for fourth-straight win
June 20, 2015

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers extended their MLS regular-season winning streak to four consecutive games and tallied a fourth straight home shutout as forward Maximiliano Urruti and midfielder Gastón Fernández contributed goals in a 2-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park.

Portland’s four-game winning streak is tied for the longest winning streak in MLS so far this season. In all competitions, the Timbers have compiled a five-game winning streak, including a 3-1 win after extra time against Cascadia-rival Seattle Sounders FC in the fourth round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 16. Additionally, Portland’s seven wins this season rank as the most total wins for the club through 16 games since joining MLS in 2011.

Saturday’s shutout marked Portland’s seventh of the season as the club extended its streak without conceding a goal at Providence Park to 365 consecutive minutes. The Timbers have registered four straight home shutouts, dating back to May 2 in a scoreless draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Urruti put the Timbers (7-5-4, 25 points) on the board in the 34th minute, converting a perfectly placed cross off a free kick from defender Jorge Villafaña with a well-struck header past Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric. The goal marked Urruti’s third of the season, and his third goal in five games in all competitions since May 27 as he also tallied a goal in the U.S. Open Cup win.

Villafaña’s assist, his third of the season, put him into a tie for the team lead with midfielder Rodney Wallace. The defender has tallied an assist in consecutive league games, also providing the game-winning assist against New England on June 6.

Doubling Portland’s lead in the second half, Fernández converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute after Houston defender David Horst was called for a foul in the box during a corner kick in the 59th minute. Fernández has tallied a goal in two of the last three league games for the Timbers and finished with a team-high three shots on Saturday.

Portland kept Houston (5-6-5, 20 points) to just one shot on goal in the game, the fewest shots on goal the Timbers have conceded during a match this season. Goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey moved into a tie for second overall in the league with his seventh clean sheet.

On a quick turnaround, the Timbers travel to face the LA Galaxy (6-7-5, 25 points) in a nationally televised midweek match on Wednesday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is set for 8 p.m.

The match will feature a live national broadcast on ESPN2.

Timbers scuttled again on road

Portland loses Valeri to injury in 1-0 loss at Toronto
May 23, 2015

TORONTO – It was the Sebastian Giovinco show at BMO Field as Toronto FC picked up their first home victory of the season, a 1-0 result painted by a brushstroke from the foot of the Atomic Ant.

A goal scored by Giovinco in the fifth minute proved the difference between the two sides as the Italian forward enjoyed a productive day in tandem with Luke Moore, constantly zipping around the front line and always threatening with an ankle-breaking flick or a ferocious shot on goal.

And It didn’t take Giovinco very long to find the back of the net. He struck with an outside-the-foot strike that curved and dipped perfectly, past the outstretched fingers of Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, giving Toronto a lead early in the half. After the goal, Giovinco continued to torment the Portland back line, nearly scoring on two occasions, one blocked by his own teammate, Jonathan Osorio.

Moore also had a half-volley chance that threatened. And while Portland (3--5-4, 13 points) did manage to get the ball into the box a couple of times, the Timbers rarely threatened in the first 45 minutes. It didn’t help that playmaker Diego Valeri went down with injury in the 25th minute, and had to be replaced by Gaston Fernandez.

The two teams went into the locker rooms with Toronto holding a slight edge and looking hungry for more, but Portland began to be more effective in attack in the second half.

For their part, Toronto (4-5-1, 13 points) made a change in personnel, with Jackson coming in for Moore to provide more width. But it was Toronto’s other substitute that nearly found the back of the net. Warren Creavalle ran down the left wing at the 80-minute mark and forced a big save out of Kwarasey.

Seconds later, TFC goalkeeper Chris Konopka made an error in judgement coming off his line, bringing down Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti in the box, but no penalty was called. A few minutes later, Urruti nearly pounced on a rebound from a long-distance drive by Dairon Asprilla.

TFC head coach then Greg Vanney made his final change, putting defender Nick Hagglund in for Osorio in an effort to see out the game with roughly 10 minutes to go. Despite Portland’s pressing and creating dangerous opportunities around the box, Toronto held on with a firm defense.

Portland plays twice this week, taking on D.C. United Wednesday, and then traveling to Colorado for a game Saturday.

Houston runs down Timbers

Adi scores again, but Dynamo caps scoring in 3-1 win
May 16, 2015

HOUSTON – The Portland Timbers conceded a pair of goals inside the final 15 minutes and dropped a 3-1 decision to the Houston Dynamo Saturday in MLS action at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Will Bruin scored twice to help the Dynamo to victory, which bumped Houston three points ahead of Portland in the Western Conference standings.

Fernando Adi led Portland with his fourth goal of the season, just three minutes into the second half to forge a 1-all tie.

Houston (4-4-4) improves to 16 points while the loss keeps the Timbers (3-4-4) on 13.

Bruin opened the scoring in the ninth minute. After Giles Barnes earned a free kick on the left sideline, returning captain Brad Davis sent the set piece across the box to the edge of the six-yard box. The Dynamo striker ran in and headed down a goal for his third of the season and an early 1-0 lead.

The 6-foot-2 forward capped the night with a chip after a hopeful long ball from Jermaine Taylor found him running on goal. With goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey off his line, Bruin floated his shot over the ‘keeper’s outstretched arms and into goal to cap the night’s scoring.

Adi’s goal capped a dynamic play. After a collision at midfield between Diego Chara and Luis Garrido, playmaker Diego Valeri picked the ball up and played a well-weighted ball into the path of the big forward. He held off DaMarcus Beasley and deflected a shot off Tyler Deric’s boot and into goal to tie the score at 1-1 in the 48th minute.

Bruin’s brace bookended a goal from Barnes who also scored in the second half. Moments after coming into the game, Alexander Lopez found himself with space on the right side of the box. Instead of a shot through a crowd, Lopez laid it off to Barnes and the forward hit it with pace from 12 yards out to take the lead.

Timbers miss out on chances

Portland gets second half sparks, but Seattle finishes 1-0 win
April 26, 2015 / Staff Report

SEATTLE, Wash. - Fanendo Adi's insertion into the Portland Timbers line-up turned into a goal almost within seconds in the Cascadia Cup duel with Seattle Sunday night.

But, a flick-on missed, then another shot went off the crossbar just moments later, and the Sounders scored a 1-0 win at CenturyLink Field on Clint Dempsey's 77th minute tally.

Dempsey tapped in a loose ball that Portland keeper Adam Kwarasey had stopped, but was attempting to gather control of after it slipped behind him - just in front of the goal line. With Kwarasey on his back reaching for the ball, Dempsey raced to the ball and connected with it first.

Portland had a goal called back due to the lone offsides call of the match midway through the second half.

The loss dropped the Timbers to 2-3-3, 9 points, while Seattle improved to 4-2-1, 13 points.

Portland plays host to Vancouver Saturday in the second Cascadia Cup meeting between the clubs this season. The Whitecaps won 2-1, March 28 in Vancouver.

In the Cup standings, Vancouver and Seattle are tied with both having a win over Portland.

 

Timbers flattened at home

Orlando City's energy ends up in a 2-0 victory over Portland
April 12, 2015 / Staff report

PORTLAND - An ugly game turned into an ugly result Sunday as the Portland Timbers lost 2-0 to expansion Orlando City at Providence Park.

The Timbers, who hadn't lost at home in seven consecutive games, gave up a goal in each half - the second coming on a penalty kick by Kaka.

With the result, Portland dropped to 1-2-3, 6 points on the season, with a road game at the New York Red Bulls next Sunday, followed by a Cascadia Cup match at Seattle, April 26.

Orlando City improved to 2-2-2, 8 points.

Cyle Larin scored in the 30th minute to put Orlando City up a goal, and then Kaka added the PK after Portland keeper Adam Kwarasey was called for a penalty in the box. Kwarasey initially blocked the attempt, but Kaka was given a second attempt after two Timbers were ruled to have been in the penalty box before the kick went off.

Portland led the game in time of possession, shots, shots on goal and even crossing passes, but was widely viewed as being far less energetic than the visiting side.

 

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.

 

 

Ther's no panic, but no drama either for Timbers

After three draws to open the season, even a loss might be satisfying
March 25, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

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.

Timbers not in a hurry to panic

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:20am
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
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Last seen: 6 weeks 6 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.

Timbers move step closer to season

Portland scores its first goal at home in draw with Chicago
Feb. 25, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers stayed somewhat consistent in their second home game of the 2015 MLS preseason with a solid first half that included a goal. But, a first-half own goal and then mild-mannered second half left the team with a 1-1 draw against Chicago in the second round of the Simple Invitational Wednesday at Providence Park.

Michael Nanchoff scored 22 minuntes into the game off a free kick from just outside the penalty box, one of seven shots the team was able to fire off in the first half. In the second half, though, they were outshot 8-5 and settled for a draw, three days after a 1-0 loss to Vancouver.

Portland finishes off the Invitational with a game against Staebek of Norway on Saturday.

The team begins regular season play March 7 at home.

 

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