Soccer

What a difference a day makes

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 2:05pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

Three player moves in 24 hours have completely changed the Timbers’ season opener, not to mention their 2012 season.

When the Timbers kick off their MLS season at home against the Philadelphia Union on March 12th, they will be carrying much heavier expectations than they did a year ago. Most Timbers fans were reasonably pleased with a freshman season in MLS that saw us competing for the playoffs until the very last matchday, but now we expect a playoff appearance.

When we all turned off our Twitter and went to bed Saturday night, there was reason to worry that the season opener, and indeed the 2012 season, would present some real obstacles to that playoff dream. Our newest striker, Jose Adolfo Valencia, had missed several practices and a mysterious “red flag” had been raised in his physicals. On the other side, the man who completely defined Philadelphia’s offense for the past two seasons, Sebastian Le Toux, looked to be settling for another season in MLS rather than moving off to Bolton in the Premier League.

How things have changed in the last day.

First and foremost, the Timbers have signed Kris Boyd. The Scotsman who holds the all-time scoring record in the Scottish Premier League is certainly the biggest signing in Timbers franchise history, and I think has to be considered in the top five signings in MLS history as a whole.

Then, Sebastian Le Toux was traded to Vancouver. On a season-long basis, that may be a negative for us, since we face him three times with the Whitecaps rather than once with the Union, but it certainly declaws our opening match opponents. Le Toux was responsible, in either scoring or assisting, for 57% of the Union’s goals over the past two seasons.

Then, in another blow to the Sons of Ben, Philly’s 2011 starting keeper Faryd Mondragon announced that he has come to terms with the Union to return to his native Colombia and play for Deportivo Cali, his first professional team. Last season, Mondragon started 29 games for Philly, and was tied for the second-lowest goals against average among active starting keepers. Zach MacMath is a very talented keeper, but give me a seasoned vet in goal over a gifted youngster any day.

So in the last day, we have an explosive new striker, and the Union have lost their most important offensive player and one of the best keepers in the league. If the noise from the crowd wasn’t going to give us the advantage on March 12th, these moves certainly do.

 

Spencer has plenty of wisdom to pass to Boyd

Portland coach heads list of Scotland's top MLS players
Feb. 1, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

This offseason has seen the Portland Timbers sign Scotsman Kris Boyd to a lucrative contract, while the Montreal Impact selected Scotish-born Calum Mallace in the second round of the MLS draft.

Mallace and Boyd are trying to follow in the footsteps of 11 other Scottish players who have played in at least one MLS league match. The previous make up a list of both champions and busts.

Here is a ranking, in order from best to worst, of every Scottish player in MLS history based on their performance in the U.S.  

1. John Spencer – Colorado (2001–04)

The current Timber head coach made 88 appearances for the Rapids and finished his MLS career with 37 goals and 17 assists. Has the most goals and best scoring ratio (1 goal per 2.4 appearances) of any Scot in MLS history. He is also the only Scot to be named to multiple MLS Best XI teams.  His 14 goals in 2001 were the good for third most in the MLS, as were his 14 in 2003.

2. Mo Johnston – Kansas City (1996–2001)

Johnston made 149 regular season appearances for the Kansas City Wizards, scoring 31 times for the club. He also played in 15 playoff games including the 2000 MLS Cup. Well respected by teammates and loved by fans, Johnston was the first player to hold the 2000 MLS Cup trophy after he helped KC beat the Chicago Fire, 1-0. Johnston has the most appearances and assists (28) of any Scottish player in MLS history.

3. Richard Gough – Kansas City, San Jose (1997–98)

A defender, Gough played 36 games in two seasons in the MLS. The former captain of the Scottish national team scored twice in MLS career, both for San Jose. After his 1997 season with Kansas City, he became the first Scot to be named to the MLS Best XI and is just one of two Scots to ever be named to the MLS Best XI. In 1997, he played alongside fellow Johnston, marking the only time in MLS history that a team played two Scots at the same time.

4. Paul Dalglish – Houston (2006–07)

The son of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, Paul played in just 11 regular season games and four postseason games over his two MLS seasons in Houston. The striker scored four goals total, two of which were in the regular season. He is most remembered for his two-goal performance in the 2006 Western Conference Finals against the Colorado Rapids for which he was named Man of the Match. He won the MLS Cup in both his seasons in the MLS. 

5. Adam Moffat – Columbus, Portland, Houston (2007)

Moffat’s MLS career has been injury-riddled and full of ups-and-downs. A successful 2010 season with Columbus and a great end-of-2011 with Houston sandwiched a subpar stint with Portland. To date, Moffat has played in 61 games in his five MLS seasons and scored seven goals. His two goals last season were both named MLS Goals of the Week. He was also named Dynamo Newcomer of the Year, despite playing just 13 games with the club. Is expected to start in central midfield this season for the Dynamo.

6. Jamie Smith – Colorado (2009)

The current Rapid has seen time in 46 regular season matches for the club, scoring four times, while assisting on 13 other goals. Started in Colorado’s 2010 MLS Cup victory in the central midfield. Became third Scot to win MLS cup. His goal in the 2011 season opener against the Timbers was nominated for MLS Goal of the Week. In both 2009 and 2011, Smith’s season was cut short by a knee injury. Smith is still recovering from a torn ACL and hope to return to the pitch this June. 

7. Thomas “Tam” McManus – Colorado (2008)

In his one season in Colorado, McManus appeared in 22 league matches, making 15 starts. His five goals in 2008 were the third most for the Rapids. McManus is most remembered for his long distance goal against Chivas USA, which was named MLS goal of the week and one of the ten best MLS goals in 2008. After 2008, McManus and the Rapids could not agree on a new contract and McManus signed with Irish club Derry City.

8. Kenny Deuchar – Salt Lake (2008)

Deucher played in 29 regular season games in his one season with Real Salt Lake before returning to Scotland. The striker also played one minute in one postseason game for the club. He scored 3 goals and had two assists while making 18 starts for the club, which made its first trip to the postseason. One of the few professional soccer players ever to have been a practicing doctor while playing, Deuchar could never match his scoring rate that he had with previous club in Scotland, where he scored 63 times in 93 games for Gretna.

9. Jamie Clark – San Jose (1999–2000)

The only Scottish MLS player who attended college in the United States, Clark was drafted by the San Jose Clash in the 2nd round with the 21st overall pick. The defender played 34 games for San Jose, getting 27 starts. He scored two goals in the MLS including a late equalizer in his second professional game. Also added two assists in the MLS. His official biography on the University of Washington’s web site (where he is now the head coach) describes his MLS career as “disappointing and injury-filled.”

10. Kevin Souter – Kansas City (2008-09)

Souter made just eight appearances in two seasons with Kansas City. He was signed to the Wizards after appearing at an open tryout for the club. The midfielder scored his one and only MLS goal in a 2-0 victory over Toronto. After the MLS, Souter became a player-coach for Ryerson University in Toronto.

11. Peter Canero – New York (2006)

Canero played just 278 minutes played in nine appearances with the Metros. He had zero goals or assists and ended his MLS career with as many yellow cards as shots on goal (1). Despite being known as a player who could play multiple positions, he was beat out by Seth Stammler, Carlos Mendes & Jeff Parke.  He is easily Scotland’s most monumental MLS bust due to his cost of $142,996 and his lack of production.

 

Timbers keep Southern pipeline fresh

Portland signs another Columbian as preseason nears
Jan. 17, 2012

Just days away from opening their 2012 season with preseason camp, the Portland Timbers signed veteran defender Hanyer Mosquera Tuesday.

Mosquera played the past two seasons in Columbia's first division with Club Deportivo La Equidad Seguros, helping the team post 10 shutouts last year.

“Hanyer is a player we’ve had our eye on for 18 months,” Portland general manager Gavin Wilkinson said through a media release. “He has all the attributes needed to become one of the top defenders in MLS.”

Mosquera is the fourth Columbian national to join the Timbers following designated player Jose Adolfo Valencia's signing in December.

Portland finished 12th from among the 18 MLS teams in its inaugural season, and had a goal differential of minus 8. On the road, the Timbers were minus 16.

Portland opens preseason action Feb. 27 with a four-team tournament at Jeld-Wen Field.

TIMBERS 2012 SCHEDULE

March 12          Monday              Philadelphia at Portland                   ESPN2

March 17          Saturday            Portland at FC Dallas

March 24          Saturday            Portland at New England

March 31          Saturday            Real Salt Lake at Portland

April 7              Saturday            Chivas USA at Portland

April 14            Saturday            Portland at Los Angeles

April 21            Saturday            Sporting KC at Portland

April 28            Saturday            Portland at Montreal

May 5              Saturday            Columbus at Portland

May 15            Tuesday              Portland at Houston

May 20            Sunday               Chicago at Portland

May 26            Saturday             Vancouver at Portland

June 17            Sunday              Portland at Los Angeles

June 24            Sunday              Seattle at Portland                            ESPN

June 30            Saturday            Portland at Colorado

July 3               Tuesday             San Joes at Portland

July 7                Saturday           Portland at Real Salt Lake

July 14              Saturday            Los Angeles at Portland                     NBC Sports

July 18              Wednesday        Portland at Chivas USA

July 21              Saturday            Portland at FC Dallas

July 28              Saturday            Chivas USA at Portland

August 5            Sunday              FC Dallas at Portland

August 15          Wednesday         Portland at Toronto FC

August 19          Sunday               Portland at New York

August 25           Saturday             Vancouver at Portland

August 31           Friday                 Colorado at Portland                        NBC Sports

September 5       Wednesday          Portland at Colorado                        NBC Sports

September 15      Saturday            Seattle at Portland                           NBC

September 19      Wednesday         Portland at San Jose           

September 22      Saturday             Portland at Real Salt Lake                  NBC Sports

September 29       Saturday            DC United at Portland                        NBC Sports

October 7              Sunday              Portland at Seattle                            ESPN

October 20            Saturday            Portland at Vancouver

October 27            Saturday            San Jose at Portland                          NBC Sports

Cooper dealt to New York in draft day deal

The well-paid striker struggled to make good on his promise
Jan. 11, 2012 / By Mike Donovan

Less than one year after it began, Kenny Cooper’s stint with the Portland Timbers came to an end Thursday, as he was traded to the New York Red Bulls for allocation money and a first round pick in the 2013 draft. Cooper’s name will live in the Timbers record books much longer than his 360-day career with the club.

When Cooper was introduced as a Timber last February, head coach John Spencer said he was “one of the top young American players in the game today,” and that “he's a massive asset to this football club.” Yet his career in Portland was one that had a few highs, some lows, and a middling inconsistency that left Timbers fans yearning for more production from the 6-foot-3 former American International.

Cooper, who along with Troy Perkins had the highest salary of any Timber, started his Timbers career with a bang when he scored the first goal for the MLS Timbers in their 3-1 opening day loss to the Colorado Rapids. His 30-yard free kick rocket seemed to bode well for the future, however, it would be the only time Cooper would score a free kick goal for Portland.

The major turning point in Cooper’s stay in the Rose City happened May 29, when he yelled at coach Spencer, after the coach tried to replace him as penalty kick taker with captain Jack Jewsbury. Spencer immediately pulled the hulking striker off the pitch for the final 21 minutes of the match.

Following the match, Cooper was remorseful while teammates and coaches vowed that the incident was behind them. But Cooper struggled mightily on the field and had seemed to have lost his way. He went the next 10 games without a goal and lost his starting spot.

Throughout his summer slump, coaches praised his work ethic and form in practice. Practice form does not make fans nor ownership content, however, goals from their prized striker do. Trade rumors swirled and fans began to jeer him when he was brought into matches.

Eventually, Cooper regained some of his lost mojo. He found himself back as a starter for the LA Galaxy game after Eddie Johnson sustained a concussion during pregame warmups. He played a key role in Jorge Perlaza’s goal in the 3-0 victory over the eventual MLS Cup champs.

The following match, he ended his drought with a goal during the club’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. By the time the season ended, Cooper was back in form with four goals in the club’s final seven matches. In fact, he finished the Timbers first MLS campaign as their leading scorer.

It's fitting that despite leading his team in goals, Cooper will always be remembered as someone who didn’t quite live up to hype. Seemingly everything about him in 2011 was a dichotomy.

He looked like one of the most intimidating players in the league, but most of the time he played passively. He was hyped as a goal-scoring attacker, but seemed to prefer to be with the ball at his feet on the wings away from the goalmouth. He was the only Timber to play every MLS game, but is more remembered for getting benched.

In a time when many athletes are perceived to incessantly want the spotlight on them, Cooper went the other way.  He was always one to credit coaches and his teammates, but never to hype up himself. He didn’t quite fit the role of the big-time, in-your-face, aggressive goal scorer.

Now, he's headed to New York.

It makes sense that Cooper was shipped out of town on the same day as the MLS draft occurred. The spotlight around the league will be shining on many young and confident future stars waiting to make an impact.

No matter what happens in the future, Cooper will always have his name first in the Timbers MLS goal register. Not bad for the most enigmatic player of the Timbers inaugural season.

 

 

 

 

Timbers announce preseason soccer tourney plans

Portland will showcase striker Jose Adolfo Valencia in February
Staff Report

 Portland Timbers fans won't have to wait for the regular season to see new acquisition Jose Adolfo Valencia play.

The Timbers announced Tuesday they will play host to a four-team, preseason tournament that will be held Feb. 27-March 4 at JELD-WEN Field. The host Timbers will be joined in the tournament by AIK from Sweden’s first-division Allsvenskan as well as MLS Western Conference rivals Chivas USA and San Jose Earthquakes.

The tournament will consist of three doubleheader sessions at JELD-WEN Field, with Chivas USA and AIK kicking off the round-robin format Monday, Feb. 27, at 5 p.m. Portland’s match against AIK on Sunday, March 4, closes out the tournament and will serve as the Timbers’ final preseason tune-up before they open the 2012 season against the Philadelphia Union at JELD-WEN Field on Monday, March 12.

Individual tickets for the tournament, which start at $10 per doubleheader session, go on sale Monday, Feb. 6, at 10 a.m.

Tournament Schedule
Monday, Feb. 27
Chivas USA vs. AIK – 5 p.m.
San Jose vs. Portland – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 1
AIK vs. San Jose – 5 p.m.
Chivas USA vs. Portland – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 4
San Jose vs. Chivas USA – 2:30 p.m.
AIK vs. Portland – 5 p.m.

About AIK (Allmänna Idrottsklubben)
With over a century of history, Allmänna Idrottsklubben, also known as AIK, is considered one of the most successful football clubs in Sweden. The winner of 11 league championships, AIK has been a consistent member of Sweden’s first division, called the Allsvenskan, since its inception in 1924. AIK recently won the Allsvenskan title and the Svenska Cupen (Swedish Cup) in 2009. The club won its first Supercupen, a one-match competition contested annually among the country’s top clubs, in 2010. AIK has competed in Europe’s top club tournaments, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, on several occasions, most recently playing in the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League. In 2011, AIK finished as the runner-up in the Allsvenskan and qualified for the 2012-13 Europa League.

TIMBERS SIGN DESIGNATED PLAYER

The Portland Timbers announced Thursday they have signed Columbian striker Jose Adolfo Valencia as their Designated Player for the upcoming season.

Valencia, 19, is blossoming into one of Columbia's long-term building blocks for the national team. Earlier this year, he helped the U20 team win the Toulon Tournament, an eight-team international event that serves as a preview of the U20 World Cup.

“José is a young player we've been monitoring for the last 12 months,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said in a statement. “He is powerful and quick and should be a nice complement to the attacking players we have with the club already. It is important to give him time to settle into a new culture and country and not put too much pressure on him too soon; he has tremendous potential."

Valencia made his professional debut at 16 and has played for Bogotá-based club Santa Fe CD. In Portland, he will play alongside Columbians Jorge Perlaza and Diego Chara. Chara is Portland's first Designated Player. Valencia is Portland's Young Designated Player, a roster slot created for the upcoming season.

Portland plays its home opener March 12.

 

Cavaliers play into NAIA soccer final

Concordia will play three-time champion Lee for women's title Saturday

DECATUR, Ala. - In one of its top perfomances of the season, Concordia University played its way into the NAIA women's soccer final with a 4-0 semifinal victory over Point Loma Nazarene Friday at the Jack Allen Sports Complex.

The win moved the Cavaliers into the final for the third time and pits them against Lee University of Tennessee, who they lost to in the 2008 final.
Kickoff for the championship bout is set for 5 p.m. (CST).

The 4-0 win over Point Loma Nazarene also boosted the Cavs record to 19-4-1 overall this season, while Point Loma lost only its second match of the season to drop to 19-2-4. Point Loma had advanced to the semifinals after back-to-back wins in penalty kicks over Westmont (Calif.) and Baker (Kan.).

For the second straight day, CU jumped out with an early lead against a higher-seeded team. After posting a goal in the 4th minute versus top-seeded Lindsey Wilson on Wednesday, the Cavaliers broke open the game's scoring in the 16th minute. Led with a pass from backline partner Brittany Orr (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer H.S.), Lauryn Helmers (Puyallup, Wash./Emerald Ridge H.S.) surprised the Sea Lions by launching a 25-yard blast from the left side into the upper corner of the net.

Minutes later the forward tandem of Hannah Scott (Milwaukie, Ore./Milwaukie H.S.) and Alex Thomas (Wilsonville, Ore./Wilsonville H.S.) connected for a close-range attack. Pushing the ball inside the box, Thomas punched the ball to Scott who willed the second score of the game after PLNU keeper Tiffany Kracy failed to completely corral the orb. 

Twenty minutes later, Concordia started a second pair of goals with Alex Blalock (Flagstaff, Ariz./Coconino H.S.) and Jackie Hendrickson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Rampart H.S.) placing successful strikes at the 40:12 and the 44:37 mark. Sydney Tucker (Redmond, Ore./Redmond H.S.) was credited with the assist on Blalocks's score while Hayley Hayes (Meridian, Idaho/Rocky Mountain H.S.) nabbed the assist on Hendrickson's tally giving CU eight different players that registered a point in the half.

 

VIDEO FROM 2010 CAVALIERS

 

 

Timbers set to reveal third kit,

Portland fans await the next version of the team uniform
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The Portland Timbers narrowly missed a spot in the playoffs in their first season as an MLS franchise, but hometown fans followed through on the "Soccer City, USA" nickname and gave the town a presence within the league despite not having any big names on the field.

This week, Portland fans - the Timbers Army - will learn of the design of the Timbers third kit, or uniform, just in time for the holidays.

Portland is set to release the kit design Tuesday morning at Jeld-Wen Field.

Last week, the Timbers announced the date of their home opener for the 2012 season - March 12, as part of the MLS releasing the home opening date for its 19 franchises, including the expansion Montreal Impact - a second franchise moving up from the USL.

Here's the schedule of openers.

WEEK 1:

Saturday, March 10: Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Sunday, March 11: Chivas USA, FC Dallas
Monday, March 12: Portland Timbers

WEEK 2:

Saturday, March 17: Sporting Kansas City, Montreal Impact, Real Salt Lake
Sunday, March 18: Philadelphia Union

WEEK 3:

Saturday, March 24: Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution, Toronto FC
Sunday, March 25: New York Red Bulls

WEEK 10:

Saturday, May 12: Houston Dynamo

The opener in Houston will be part of the celebration of the franchise's new home.

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