Timbers primed for season

Portland begins Sunday in Los Angeles
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

Season eight is just about active for the Portland Timbers, and their many fans.

After an off-season of trades, signings and a new coach, the Timbers will begin the Major League Soccer regular season Sunday at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.

Portland will enter the pitchas the top returning team from the Western Conference last season, although that resulted in a playoff loss immediately, which kept the franchise from the CONCACAF Cup, which would have been its second foray into the North American Champions League.

The Timbers did, though, regain the Cacadia Cup by virtue of its three wins against the Vancouver Whitecaps and a pair of draws against the Seattle Sounders. Portland had eight differenct players score its nine Cup goals and secured the Cup for the first time since 2012 after having held it in 2009 and 2010 while playing the USL.

Portland will be looking to win its second MLS title, three years after winning its first.

Giovanni Savarese takes over as head coach after Caleb Porter capped a very successful five-year run. In the past two months, the team signed a handful of international players geared toward making the team's offense much more impressive.

And, the Timbers traded much beloved midfielder Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta.

The MLS season begins with 23 teams as LAFC joins the league. The season begins Saturday.

Miami and Nashville have been awarded franchises as the league moves toward 26 teams by 2021.


Portland Timbers Schedule

Major League Soccer

2018 Schedule
4      At Los Angeles Galaxy, LOSS 2-1
10    At New York Red Bulls, LOSS 4-0
24    At FC Dallas, DRAW 1-1
31    At Chicago Fire

8      At Orlando City FC
14    Minnesota United FC
22    New York City FC

5      At San Jose Earthquakes
13    Seattle Sounders
19    Los Angeles FC
26    At Colorado Rapids

2      Los Angeles Galaxy
9      Sporting Kansas City
24    At Atlanta United FC
30    At Seattle Sounders

7      San Jose Earthquakes
15    At Los Angeles FC
21    Montreal Impact
28    Houston Dynamo

4      Phildelphia Union
11    Vancouver Whitecaps
15    At DC United
18    At Sporting Kansas City
26    Seattle Sounders
29    Toronto FC

1      At New England Revolution
8      Colorado Rapids
15    At Houston Dynamo
19    Columbus Crew
22    At Minnesota United
29    FC Dallas

6      At Real Salt Lake
21    Real Salt Lake
28    At Vancouver Whitecaps

Timbers keep roster fluid

Portland acquires another International standout
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

Samuel Armenteros, one of the most experienced players in Europe, has signed with the Portland Timbers, the club announced Friday.

Set to turn 28-years old this year, the twice-capped Swede is currently on the books of Serie A club Benevento, and will be on a season-long loan with the Timbers, who may then chose to purchase his contract.

Armenteros has had successful stints in Holland and Belgium prior to heading to Italy to play in one of the world’s best leagues.

During the previous season, Armenteros scored 22 goals in 32 matches with Heracles of the Dutch Eredivisie league.

He scored one goal in nine matches in Italy.

“Samuel Armenteros has a proven track record of scoring goals, and we will look for him to help bolster our attacking corps for the 2018 MLS season,” Portland GM Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement. “It was a priority of ours to bring in another attacker who can help influence games for us. As we looked to strengthen our group this season, we believe that Samuel has the proper mindset and characteristics to have a positive impact with this club.”

Armenteros will likely compete for time with Nigerian striker Fanendo Adi, who is returning to play under new coach Giovanni Savarese after it briefly appeared he might make an overseas move. Also age 27, Adi has 42 league goals across the past three seasons, including 16 each in 2015 and 2016 before hitting 10 in an injury-obstructed 2017 campaign.

The Timbers were in the market for attacking depth after they traded Darren Mattocks to D.C. United this past offseason.

“We are pleased to add another quality attacker to our team," Savarese said. "Samuel is a player with good technical ability that can bring others into the game and has proved to be a prolific goal-scorer. We look forward to building Samuel into the squad during the remainder of preseason, and having yet another solid attacking option to rely on for the upcoming season.”

Portland begins its eighth season in Major League Soccer in March.


Timbers have plenty of training camp talent

Portland's roster is stacked


No. Name                          Age Home 

9 Fanendo Adi                    27 Nigeria

5 Vytas Andriuskevicius       27 Lithuania

19 Victor Arboleda              21 Columbia

27 Dairon Asprilla               25 Columbia

1 Jeff Attinella                    29 US/Florida

23 Jack Barnby                   23 England

10 Sebastian Blanco            29 Argentina

x Julio Cascante                  24 Costa Rica

21 Diego Chara                   21 Columbia

47 Rennico Clarke               22 Jamaica

x Caleb Duvernay                21 US/N.C.

17 Jeremy Ebobisse             20 US/Maryland

32 Marco Farfan                  19 US/Oregon

x Andrews Flores                 27 El Salvador

90 Jake Gleeson                  27 New Zealand

x Mamadou Guirassy           22 France

20 David Guzman               27 Costa Rica

x Stuart Holdthusen            22 New Zealand

x Modou Jadama                 23 The Gambia

x Foster Langsdorf               22 US/Washington

33 Larrys Mabiala                30 France

43 Kendall McIntosh            24 US/California

26 Lucas Melano                 24 Argentina

7 Roy Miller                        33 Costa Rica

x Tim Mueller                     22 US/Idaho

4 Chance Myers                  30 US/California

13 Lawrence Olum              33 Kenya

x Andy Polo                        23 Peru

2 Alvas Powell                    23 Jamaica

24 Liam Ridgewell               33 England

23 Bill Tuiloma                   22 New Zealand

16 Zarek Valentin               26 US/Pennsylvania

8 Diego Valeri                    31 Argentina

x Eryk Williamson              21 US/Virginia

COACH: Giovani Savarese, first season


Timbers introduce Gio to Portland

New Portland coach talks of his first experiences in the Rose City
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Giovanni Savarese said all the right things in all the right ways during his first press conference as head coach of the Portland Timbers Monday at Providence Park.

Savarese flew into Portland this past weekend and has been getting a fast introduction to the city, including getting his hair cut.

"The lady cutting my hair asked where I was from because of my accent," said Savarese, a native of Venezuela who speaks four languages. "She told me it was easy to spot because I had walked in with an umbrella. I know now people from here don't use umbrellas."

Savarese is the team's third head coach, and follows Caleb Porter, who guided the team to the MLS Cup title in 2015. Porter left the franchise following the 2017 season after a dispute with management.

After five seasons as coach of the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, which came with three league titles, Savarese, 46, said the move to Portland was the right fit.

"This is a great franchise, and I think any coach would love to be here," he said during the 25-minute press conference. "I've had other opportunites to move from the Cosmos, but this just felt like the right move at the right time."

Portland begins it's eighth season in Major League Soccer March 4 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, and plays its first home game April 12 against Minnesota.


Savarese ready for Portland intro

Timbers get 2018 moving with new coach, schedule
Staff report

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers plan to introduce new head coach Giovanni Savarese to the public Monday through a press conference at Providence Park. This comes a week after announcing the team’s schedule for the 2018 season that begins March 4 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, and at home April 12 against Minnesota.

A Venezuelan international and distinguished scorer during his own 18-year playing career, which included 52 goals in 121 MLS regular-season and playoff appearances with the MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls), New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes, Savarese becomes the third full-time head coach of the Timbers’ MLS era, succeeding Caleb Porter, who departed Portland shortly after the conclusion of their 2017 campaign.

The 46-year-old arrives from the NASL’s New York Cosmos, where he enjoyed five years of sustained success in a variety of circumstances, leading the Cosmos to league championships in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as well as a trip to this year’s championship game, where they fell to the San Francisco Deltas. He departs the club with an overall regular-season record of 65-26-51.

“We are excited to bring Gio on board as the club’s head coach. Gio brings a wealth of experience across all levels of the game, and his playing philosophy aligns with the expectations of the club and suits the playing personnel,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “His leadership and man-management, coupled with his core values and previous accomplishments, made him the right fit for this club, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Timbers.”

Though born in Caracas, Savarese carries a deep knowledge of the US soccer landscape. He played college soccer at Long Island University and coached in the MetroStars’ and Cosmos’ youth systems before ascending to the professional level. He also logged extended time abroad as a player, most prominently with Swansea City and Millwall in Great Britain.

“I am both excited and proud to become the head coach of the Portland Timbers, and this is an ideal fit and outstanding opportunity for me as I take the next step in my coaching career,” Savarese said. “The passion, ambition and support surrounding this club is truly inspiring, and I am sincerely honored and grateful for this opportunity to lead it on the pitch and to build on the club’s history of success for the community and the incredible supporters of the Portland Timbers.”

MLS Cup winners under Porter in 2015, the Timbers finished first in the MLS Western Conference standings during the 2017 season but fell to the underdog Houston Dynamo in the conference semifinal round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, wracked by a devastating postseason injury crisis. Playmaker Diego Valeri won this year’s Landon Donovan MLS MVP award, while influential midfielder Darlington Nagbe left the club via a blockbuster trade with Atlanta United last week.

MLS honors Valeri, Portland

Portland's top scorer and community hero earns MVP Award
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers missed out on their season-long goal of playing in the MLS Cup, which is set for this weekend, but the team got a league-wide honor Monday.

Midfielder Diego Valeri took home the league MVP Award in a ceremony at the Adidas Village in North Portland.

In his fifth year with the team, Valeri, 31, scored 21 goals and had 11 assists to lead the Timbers to the top record in the Western Conference, although those marks did not transfer into a playoff series win over Houston, which ended the season. Valeri scored a goal in nine consecutive matches in midseason, setting a league mark in the process.

Timbers players voted him the team MVP, fans voted him the team's MVP as well as its Community MVP. He is only the second player in the 22-year history of the league to score more than 20 goals and record more than 10 assists in the same season.

Valeri, an Argentine national, was the MLS Newcomer of the Year in his first season, 2013, and scored the fastest goal in MLS Cup history in 2015 - 29 seconds, leading the Timbers to the league title that season. He earned the MLS Cup MVP Award in that game.

Portland has signed Valeri through the 2019 season.





Timbers hire Savarese, schedule opener

Portland addresses the 2018 season and beyond
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND – The Portland Timbers needed only a short time to fill it’s coaching vacancy, tapping Giovanni Savarese as the club’s head coach Monday.

Savarese becomes the team’s third head coach, replacing Caleb Porter who resigned in November following a disappointing playoff exit.

Savarese brings over 25 years of professional experience as a player and coach, most recently serving as the head coach and sporting director of the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, where he led the club to three Soccer Bowl championships in five seasons.

Savarese, 46, will be formally introduced as the Timbers new head coach during a press conference in early January.

“After an intense coach search, I am very pleased to introduce Gio Savarese as the head coach of the Portland Timbers,” said Merritt Paulson, owner of the Timbers. “Gio is an intelligent, attack-minded coach and is a driven individual who is both a great fit with us on and off the field. We are extremely pleased to welcome Gio and his family to Portland.”

“We are excited to bring Gio on board as the club’s head coach. Gio brings a wealth of experience across all levels of the game, and his playing philosophy aligns with the expectations of the club and suits the playing personnel,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “His leadership and man-management, coupled with his core values and previous accomplishments, made him the right fit for this club, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Timbers.”

The Timbers announced they will play the LA Galaxay at the StubHub Center in their 2018 season opener, March 4, and their home opener, April 14, against Minnesota United FC, at 7:30p.m.

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Savarese developed the Cosmos into one of the most successful clubs in the NASL, compiling a 65-26-44 record in 135 regular-season games, including a career-best 20-7-5 record in 2016.

Additionally, the Cosmos scored 223 goals during Savarese’s five seasons at the helm, which rank as the most in the NASL during that stretch. Savarese led the Cosmos to four Soccer Bowl appearances, claiming the 2013, 2015 and 2016 championships.

Savarese guided the Cosmos to a 10-7-15 record in 2017 and their third straight appearance in the NASL championship match. They fell 2-0 to the San Francisco Deltas in the final.

“I am both excited and proud to become the head coach of the Portland Timbers, and this is an ideal fit and outstanding opportunity for me as I take the next step in my coaching career,” Savarese said. “The passion, ambition and support surrounding this club is truly inspiring, and I am sincerely honored and grateful for this opportunity to lead it on the pitch and to build on the club’s history of success for the community and the incredible supporters of the Portland Timbers.”

Savarese enjoyed an 18-year professional playing career, including five seasons in MLS. He scored 159 goals in 322 games played in various leagues in the United States, Venezuela, Italy and England. At the international level, Savarese earned 30 caps for the Venezuela National Team from 1989-2001, scoring 10 goals, including a notable finish against South American rival Argentina in 1996.

Porter, who led the Timbers to the 2015 MLS Cup title, stepped down after guiding the Timbers to the top record in the Western Conference this season, but lost to Houston in their first playoff round.


Timbers keep playoff streak alive

Portland returns home after 0-0 tie at Houston

Playing their first postseason match of the 2017 campaign, the Portland Timbers battled the Houston Dynamo to a 0-0 draw before 15,169 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs on Monday night.

The Timbers, making their third appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs in the last five seasons, will return to Portland to play host to Houston in the second leg of the two-game, aggregate-goal series at Providence Park on Sunday.

Portland is unbeaten in seven consecutive playoff matches, including the 2015 championship match at Columbus.

Opening up their 2017 postseason campaign after bypassing the Knockout Round as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Timbers produced nine shots in the match, while holding the Dynamo scoreless on their home field. Attacking early in the game, Portland created a strong chance quickly on the break when forward Darren Mattocks slipped a pass in behind for midfielder Diego Valeri. Sprinting down the left wing, Valeri quickly played a curling pass into the box for an unmarked Darlington Nagbe, whose first-time effort went wide of the far post in the sixth minute of play.

Approaching the midway point of the first half, the Timbers threatened Houston’s goal again in the 20th minute of play when midfielder Dairon Asprilla received the ball on the left side of the 18-yard box, blasting a strong effort that went wide of the target.

The Timbers opened up the final 45 with another strong chance when Valeri and Nagbe combined in the final third, creating space for Valeri to fire an effort from distance and forcing a strong save from Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric in the 50th minute of play. Less than 10 minutes later, shortly after entering the game, forward Jeremy Ebobisse latched on to a pass from Valeri inside the 18-yard box, whipping an effort on target and forcing another save from Deric.

Continuing to create chances in the second half, the Timbers came close to scoring in the 68th minute when defender Vytas drove a pass across the six-yard box, finding defender Liam Ridgewell for a close-range effort that was blocked wide by the Houston defense. Six minutes later, an effective combination play in the middle of the field allowed Valeri to release Mattocks inside the box, with the striker hitting his effort at Deric, who made a strong save to prevent the scoring opportunity.

On the defensive end, goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made two strong saves in the second half, as Portland recorded its fourth shutout in its last seven games played across all competitions. In the 50th minute, with Houston attacking on the counter attack, Attinella made a strong save off his line to deny forward Alberth Elis. Five minutes later, Attinella produced another solid save in the 55th minute when he denied a looping header from defender Philippe Senderos, reacting quickly to push the defender’s chance over the crossbar.

All the Timbers need to win is an Army

Portland's home field edge comes through Tuesday in 2-1 win
July 3, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

In just a season-and-a-half, Jeld-Wen Field has quickly become the place where the top of MLS heap is cut down to size.

Tuesday night marked the fourth time in the club’s MLS history that the Portland Timbers took on the MLS leader at Jeld-Wen Field. And for the fourth straight time, it was the home fans who went home happy as Portland knocked off the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 in front of another sellout crowd.

In his first start in Portland since being traded to the Timbers, former Jefferson High School star Danny Mwanga gave the Timbers the lead in the 29th minute on a marvelous counterattack. It took just 12 seconds for Franck Songo’o to steal the ball from San Jose’s Rafael Baca on the edge of the Timbers penalty area, have a give-and-go with Eric Alexander and then pass the ball to a cutting Mwanga.

The goal came directly in front of the Timbers Army and sent the crowd into a bedlam. Coming off their worst loss of the season, Mwanga’s goal seemed to give an extra boost of energy to the Timbers.

For the 9th time in 2012, San Jose conceded the opening goal. But that might have been a good omen for the club, due to their 4-2-3 mark in those games. The comeback kids could not match the Timbers in front of their home fans.

Jack Jewsbury’s first goal of the season gave the club a 2-0 just before the 60-minute mark. Former Timber Alan Gordon got one back for the Quakes in the 74th minute but they were unable to get a shot on target after the goal.

Despite playing their worst game of the season just 72 hours earlier, the crowd was as loud as ever. Something that was not lost on head coach John Spencer.

“I think it’s easy to get up for games here. The passion and the energy in this stadium was tremendous. Felt it from the first whistle,” Spencer said postmatch.

The game was the 26th the Timbers have played at Jeld-Wen since their ascent to the MLS. Tuesday’s victory runs Portland’s record in those games to 14-7-5. Jewsbury says the fans play a direct part in the Timbers home success.

“With the fans and the energy they create, it makes it a bit easier for us and in that sense its great to play here, “ said Jewsbury, who scored for the first time in his last 25 games Tuesday.

But the Timbers know that their home dominance will mean little without getting results on the road. Portland has just two points from their seven road matches this season.
“Now, it’s a matter of us creating the same amount of energy for ourselves when we don’t have the fans there on the road,” Jewsbury said.

John Spencer, however, had a different idea on how to replicate the Jeld-Wen atmosphere for Saturday’s game at Real Salt Lake. When asked how the Timbers can play with the same fire this weekend in Utah, Spencer put his owner Merritt Paulson on the hook.

“I think our owner has planned to send 15,000 people, free of charge to Salt Lake next Saturday,” Spencer said, with a wry smile on his face.
The victory kept one of the more unusual streaks alive for Portland. The Timbers move to 4-0-1 in their last five home games playing under a full moon extending back to the USL era. Portland will play one more game at Jeld-Wen under a full moon this season on August 31 against the Colorado Rapids.

Full Moon or not, it is getting harder to deny what a homefield advantage Jeld-Wen Field has become.

RSS feed