Soccer

Timbers might need 'Captain Jack' on defense

Portland's defense seems ready for Jewsbury; women's soccer emerges
May 2, 2012

There's more line-up changes headed for the Portland Timbers roster, most likely because of injury.

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins is unlikely to play as is defender Steve Purdy.

That sets up reserve Joe Bendik to start in goal, and Jack Jewsbury possibly moving from midfield to right back if news from Thursday's closed practice becomes a reality.

Jewsbury, who has not played defender in Portland, praticed at right back, according to at least one reporter who was able to view the practice.

If Jewsbury does move to the backline, he would be the ninth player to start on defense.

In addition, striker Mike Fucito, a recent acquisition from Montreal, is a possible starter on the frontline.

Portland plays host to Columbus Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Timbers will be looking to not only score on offense for the first time in five halves, but score in both halves of a game for the first time this season.

The Timbers (2-5-2, 7 points) enter the game at No. 18 in the MLS Power Rankings of the league's 19 teams. Columbus (2-4-1, 7 points) is No. 17.

In other news, the Timbers have agreed to support a women's team in Portland.

The Portland Rain, which has been in Portland for four seasons, will return to the WPSL this summer with support from the Timbers.

READ MORE ON THE RAIN

http://oregonsports.com/clubs/portland-finds-another-level-of-soccer-to-...

 

 

Spencer could use a slice of satisfaction

A win over Columbus is the first step to salvaging the Timbers season
May 2, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It's always the players that get the credit for scoring during a Portland Timbers game, and that's a reality that can't be challenged.

But, after a game, when the slice of Timber gets handed to the players that score, once in a while there ought to be an extra slice, maybe of appreciation for being a big part of that score - even if it's someone not on the playing field. If ever that would happen, it should happen Saturday for Portland coach John Spencer. He looks like he needs it.

Spencer's had a rough start to the 2012 campaign, and there's plenty of online chatter about where he should be coaching next - as in not Portland. He looked pretty weary at the post-practice press conference Tuesday morning. Eight games into the season, that's not entirely unexpected regardless of how well the season's going for any coach. A gaggle of media cameras and recorders shoved basically in your face can't be a wonderful thing. But, his body language just screamed "I'm tired," and not from a bad night's sleep.

Portland's season has been a mess. The Timbers can't hold a lead, can't win on the road, have trouble putting two solid halves together and can't stay healthy. At home, they haven't scored at the South end of Jeld-Wen Field, which means they haven't scored in both halves of a home game. In fact, they haven't scored in both halves of any game.

And, recently, they haven't scored at all. It's been neearly three games since the Timbers scored - five halves.

Soccer City, USA, barely has a pulse online in the MLS world.

Yet, there's plenty of reasons to be pumped about the team still having more than a passing chance of making the playoffs, despite being 18th in the latest MLS Power Rankings released Tuesday. Portland has played well enough to be in the lead or even in nearly every game, and handed top-ranked Sporting Kansas City it's lone loss. The Timbers nearly beat No. 3 Real Salt Lake - giving up a pair of late goals in a 3-2 loss, and gave the LA Galaxy a significant challenge until late in a 3-1 loss.

Those solid performances, though, have been overshadowed by a 1-0 loss at New England, and Saturday's 2-0 loss at Montreal, both of which played out as though the team couldn't wait to get back on a plane and escape to the friendly confines of Soccer City, USA.

Eight games in, there can't be any team more frustrated with their season than the Portland Timbers and their fans. With goalkeeper Troy Perkins doubtful for Saturday, and starting defender Steve Purdy out, the Portland line-up will again be in flux - a major challenge for Spencer to handle.

With Columbus headed for Portland ranked 17th, Saturday's game has the makings of a tremendously frustrating loss, one that would put Spencer's head on a stake in the online world.

Portland needs a win, and a convincing one at that.

The Timbers need to score - on both halves of the Jeld-Wen pitch. New guys need to score - only four players have hit the back of the net.

It wouldn't hurt to have a second-half sub - a move Spencer controls - score. Many of Spencer's moves have actually preceded the opposition scoring, so this is would be a huge burden lifted.

A shutout wouldn't be a terrible thing, either, showcasing a solid line-up - also something that Spencer controls.

A draw Saturday would at least be ... not a loss. The team, fans, owner Merritt Paulson, need this. But, a convincing win, one that shows off Spencer's leadership, could use some extra appreciation, and that should be in the form of some lumber.

There's a great photo waiting to happen - Spencer raising his own slice before heading to meet the press. That's a photo that would get the city, infact the whole league, buzzing again about the Timbers and their coach.

 

 

 

Will Timbers ever score again?

Portland's offense has been shut out for five straight halves
April 30, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It's been a long time since the Portland Timbers lit up a crowd with a goal of their own.

They've still managed to win a game, but only with the help of an opponent scoring on itself.

It's been an even longer time since the Timbers scored at home, all of which will be in the air Tuesday as No Pity City begins its eighth episode live at 8:30 p.m. from the Bulldog Tavern in Southwest Portland.

The Timbers play host to as Columbus Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Portland, which lost 2-0 at Montreal Saturday, enters at 2-5-1, 7 points, while Columbus, which lost 1-0 at home to Vancouver Saturday, enters at 2-4-1, 7 points.

FIVE REASONS FOR TIMBERS STRUGGLES

Both Columbus and Portland have a goal differential of -4, although in Portland the Timbers are +1 in four games. In their last outing, though, their score came off an own goal from Sporting Kansas City in a 1-0 win. The Timbers scored just once in their previous home game - in the first half of a 2-1 loss to Chivas USA. So, Portland hasn't scored at home in five three halves and hasn't scored overall in five halves since a first-half tally at Los Angeles, April 14.

Portland has scored just eight goals this season, which, interestingly, puts it at or ahead of eight other teams in MLS.

Kris Boyd and Darlington Nagbe lead the team in scoring with three goals each.

Tune into this page for the live webcast, and sign on to the chat room to converse with co-hosts Cliff Pfenning and Mike Donovan. Or show up at the Bulldog Tavern to be a guest on the show.


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Timbers struggle in loss at Montreal

A week later, Portland plays nothing like it did against KC
April 28, 2012

With a two-game win streak just waiting for the taking, the Portland Timbers floundered mightily in Montreal and lost 2-0 to the expansion Impact in an MLS game Saturday afternoon.

Montreal, which had just one win in 10 meetings with the Timbers during their days in the United Soccer Leagues, scored twice in the final 14 minutes to score only its second win in nine games.

Montreal's win, though, moved it to 2-5-2, 8 points, which is right in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings.

Portland, which beat MLS leader Sporting KC last week 1-0, fell to 2-5-1, 7 points, good for last place in the nine-team Western Conference. The Timbers were shut out for only the second time this season, both games on the road against teams they were expected to beat.

The Timbers got just two shots from starting forwards Kris Boyd and Jorge Perlaza and had only 46 percent of possession during the game.

Montreal scored on a penalty kick in the 76th minute and on a beautiful pass fromDavy Arnaud to Sinisa Ubiparipovic in the 84th minute.

Bioth goals were scored on back-up keeper Joe Bendik, who entered in the 63rd minute after starter Troy Perkins took a cleat to the face while chasing a loose ball.

Portland plays host to Columbus Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

 

Timbers, fans find relief in 1-0 win over KC

Jeld-Wen's magic shows up as Portland upsets league leaders
April 21, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

A victory the Portland Timbers basically had to have happened Saturday night at Jeld-Wen Field.

Behind an own goal on a cross set up by forward Kris Boyd, the Timbers handed Sporting KC its first loss of the season and ended a four-game winless streak of its own.

The win improved the team to 2-4-1, 6 points, with a game at expansion Montreal next Saturday.

"This is a big relief," Timbers coach John Spencer said afterward. "We've had some bad luck in games, but we have a lot of talent on this team and we showed that.

"We're a very good team when we play like we can."

Portland's win also ended a streak of three consecutive games in which it lost after taking a lead, and was the first shutout for goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who had nine last season.

The goal continued the team's streak of only scoring into the North End net.

Kansas City, which beat Vancouver on Wednesday 3-1, fell to 7-1-0, 21 points.

How much does Timbers Army affect MLS games?

NO PITY CITY: Ryan Gates of Stumptown Footy steps in as guest co-host
April 16, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Maybe it is the players on the field, but the Timbers Army seems to be having quite an affect on games this season at Jeld-Wen Field.

In three games, the Portland Timbers have scored six goals, with all of them into the North goal - the net directy in front of the Timbers Army.

It's not a situation for coach John Spencer or other older players such as team captain Jack Jewsbury, who view it as a coincidence, but younger players such as Darlington Nagbe, who's scored twice in that direction, and Jean Andrew-Baptiste, who's scored once, have noticed it.

"Yes, some of us have noticed it," Nagbe said after the Timbers lost 2-1 to Chivas USA Saturday. "It seems like there's more energy going that way and that plays a role in the game.'

The Army seems to have had an affect on opposing teams, too, as both goals Chivas USA scored were into the North net.

Of the 12 goals scored this season in three games at Jeld-Wen, nine have been to the North.

How much impact will the Army have on this weekend's game with Sporting KC at Jeld-Wen? Will it be enough to impact the outcome against the top team in MLS?

The Army will be a key point of discussion during the weekly episode of No Pity City, which begins live on oregonsports.com at 8:30 p.m. from the Bulldog Tavern in Southwest Portland. The episode can be viewed on this page with viewers able to chat live with hosts Cliff Pfenning and Mike Donovan.

 


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What's the Army got to do with it?

NO PITY CITY: Tonight the cast talks about Portland's scoring drama
April 10, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Maybe it is the players on the field, but the Timbers Army seems to be having quite an affect on games this season at Jeld-Wen Field.

In three games, the Portland Timbers have scored six goals, with all of them into the North goal - the net directy in front of the Timbers Army.

It's not a situation for coach John Spencer or other older players such as team captain Jack Jewsbury, who view it as a coincidence, but younger players such as Darlington Nagbe, who's scored twice in that direction, and Jean Andrew-Baptiste, who's scored once, have noticed it.

"Yes, some of us have noticed it," Nagbe said after the Timbers lost 2-1 to Chivas USA Saturday. "It seems like there's more energy going that way and that plays a role in the game."

The Army seems to have had an affect on opposing teams, too, as both goals Chivas USA scored were into the North net.

Of the 12 goals scored this season in three games at Jeld-Wen, nine have been to the North.

Portland's role on the field got an answer Monday as the Timbers brought in defender Brett Evans for a trial after back Lovel Palmer got outpaced for a pair of crosses that turned into assists Saturday.

The Army and Palmer will be key points of discussion tonight during the weekly episode of No Pity City, which begins live on oregonsports.com at 8:30 p.m. from the Bulldog Tavern in Southwest Portland. The episode can be viewed on this page with viewers able to chat live with hosts Cliff Pfenning and Mike Donovan.


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Timbers ready for some home cooking

Real Salt Lake poses significant challenges at Jeld-Wen
March 30, 2012

After a solid start to the 2012 Major League Soccer season, the Portland Timbers hit one of their first key hurdles Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field.

The Timbers face Real Salt Lake, one of the Western Conference's title contenders, at 7 p.m., with both teams coming off disappointing losses.

Portland gave up a goal in the opening seconds last week and lost 1-0 on the road to the New England Revolution, while RSL fell 1-0 at home to Chivas USA, one of the teams viewed as being at the bottom of the Major League Soccer power rankings - along with the Revolution.

Portland enters at 1-1-1, 4 points, while RSL is 2-1-0, 6 points. Portland went 1-0-1 against RSL last season during its inaugural campaign in MLS.

Game time is 7 p.m.

The Timbers have struggled to open games, falling behind in all three contests this season. In their opener, they rallied with three goals for a 3-1 win over Philadelphia, then rallied for a 1-1 tie at Dallas in Week 2. Last week, the team failed to put home an equalizer despite contolling possession for 54 percent of the match. The Timbers fired off 13 shots and had an 19-10 edge in open cross plays, but could only get three shots on goal.

Real Salt Lake has wins over the Los Angeles Galaxy in LA, and at home over the New York Red Bulls.

 

No Pity for Revolution, RSL and Aston Villa

Stumptown Footy's Ryan Gates joins the cast of No Pity City tonight at 8:30

The exciting start to the 2012 Major League Soccer season took a big header into reality Saturday with a loss at New England, but there's always a plan for the faithful and the cast of "No Pity City" will delve into that tonight at 8:30 from the Bulldog Tavern in Southwest Portland.

Stumptown Footy columnist Ryan Gates will join hosts Cliff Pfenning and Mike Donovan to talk over what happened outside Boston on Saturday as well as what's upcoming Saturday at Jeld-Wen as the Portland Timbers prep for Real Salt Lake, widely viewed as one of the contenders for the Western Conference title - except for its loss to conference doormat Chivas USA Saturday.

The news that can't be debated is today's announcement the Timbers, on July 24, will play host to Aston Villa of the English Premier League, a club nearly 140 years old with a roster of international stars.

Portland, of course, is also developing a roster of international stars. Who's got the edge? Tonight's show will debate how much of an edge Villa has.

It's all live from the Bulldog Tavern, located at 1650 W. Burnside St. in Portland. View the show on this page, and join the chat room to talk with the cast or Gates, who's work can be viewed at stumptownfooty.com.

 


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For Timbers, the time is now for Nagbe

Portland's offense gets a lift when Darlington's on the field
March 17, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

Going into halftime Saturday in Frisco, Texas, the Portland Timbers were behind 1-0 on the scoreboard and Darlington Nagbe was not on the pitch for the second consecutive first half.

Five minutes into the second half, Nagbe was in and the Timbers were no longer losing.

A Nagbe goal four minutes into the second half earned the Timbers a 1-1 draw in their first away match of the season.  Unlike the Timbers home opener on Monday at Jeld-Wen, Nagbe entered the game as a striker and not a midfielder.

While his goal was only set up after a disastrous screw-up by FC Dallas midfielder Daniel Hernandez, his finishing ability and presence of mind to turn and fire on net had zero to do with an opponent’s mistakes.

According to head coach John Spencer last season following the New England home game, Nagbe prefers to play up top paired with another striker. With newly acquired striker Kris Boyd a ready-and-willing presence in the box, Nagbe might have found his perfect match.

It was not just the goal that earned Nagbe the right to start at striker for the Timbers in upcoming matches. It was his touch and passing ability. His first touch is clearly far above any other potential starting forward on the club, while his ability to pass in tight spaces is a notch above Jorge Perlaza.

Nagbe’s ascent to striker would also clear up Perlaza to be used as a speedy, change-of-pace forward in the final 20 or so minutes of a match. Perlaza would have a game changing ability going against defenders that had been on the pitch for the entire game.

Another plus of Nagbe starting as a striker is how it clears up the jumbled outside midfielder position. Assuming Franck Songo’o eventually starts, the Timbers will have two defined starters (Kalif Alhassan and Songo’o) and two defined backups (Sal Zizzo and Eric Alexander) on the wings.  

While Nagbe does not have the height of most starting MLS forwards, his excellent jumping ability and sheer soccer IQ make up for his lack of inches. Nagbe displayed his ability to beat much taller defenders in last year’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthwaukes at Jeld-Wen.

Using his brain and leverage, the 21-year-old beat 6-foot-5 defender Bobby Burling to a ball and then slotted in a cross to Cooper, who found the back of the net. Plays like that demonstrate Nagbe’s ability to play against much taller central defenders.  

Sometimes in sports, players lose their spot not due to their inability, but simply because another player gives his team a better chance to win. And that is exactly what is happening to Jorge Perlaza. His demotion paired with Nagbe’s promotion would simply make the Timbers better.

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

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