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.
Jan. 30, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Kris Boyd, the all-time leading scorer in the Scottish Premier League, agreed to sign with the Portland Timbers, the club announced Monday.
Boyd, 28, had been mulling over a contract offer from the Houston Dynamo, but chose to sign with Portland and coach John Spencer, also a Scottish national, and said he would be in the Rose City in time for the team's season-opening game with Philadelphia, March 12.
"Kris is a proven goal-scorer at the highest levels of the game and we expect that to continue here in Portland," Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said Monday.
In seasons with both Kilmarnock and Rangers, Boyd scored 164 goals before moving to Middlesborough, where he languished and eventually left the club in 2010. He signed with a top-flight Turkish club in late summer, but left in December and returned to the UK to determine his future. Houston offered him a contract earlier in January.
Boyd, who ended last season on loan to Nottingham Forest, received interest from English Premier League clubs and was also rumored to be ready for a return to Rangers. He has 18 caps with the Scottish national team.
He now needs a visa and worker's permit to play in the U.S.
The league listed Boyd as one of Portland's designated players.
Boyd's signing also increases the focus on the Timbers' December signing of striker Jose Adolfo Valencia, who is a designated player but has yet to appear active at a practice while the club assesses his physical well-being.
He is the league's first designated player from Scotland.
Portland's defensive stalwart showcased the path to victory in 2011
Jan. 28, 2012 / By Ian Rose
For all the passion and noise coming from the Timbers Army every home matchday, the Timbers themselves rarely let their feelings get the better of them in 2011. No team in the league committed fewer fouls over the season.
Now, there’s always the question in interpreting foul statistics whether a low number represents good discipline or a lack of intensity.
However you look at it, there was one player who bucked the overall trend of the team. From the MLS team with the least fouls came the individual with the most fouls: Diego Chara.
In 28 games for the Timbers, Chara committed 64 fouls, a team and league high. For his trouble, he picked up no fewer than seven yellow cards (also a team high), but never pushed his luck to the point of a straight red or a second yellow. He was the Timbers' bulldog in 2011, the one player most willing to tackle hard to win the ball or stop an opposing move.
That aggression turned into wins.
When Chara was more active and more aggressive, the Timbers’ were significantly better. Chara ranged from 0-5 fouls per match in his 28 games, and a split within those numbers reveals the Timbers' success.
The Timbers won half of the games in which Chara fouled three or more times, but only one in five of those in which Chara was present, but committed less than three fouls. A loss was more than twice as likely in the lower-fouling games.
Chara’s offensive output: two goals and four assists; was split evenly between the two fouling segments, with a goal and two assists in each. It’s a small sample, but it doesn’t suggest that there’s much of an offensive trade-off to his more aggressive matches.
March 12th brings the Timbers’ 2012 MLS opener at home to Philadelphia. I for one will be watching Diego closely and hoping to see the hard-nosed midfield play that was so important to Timbers fans last season.
It is hard not to analyze the first few trainings for the 2012 Portland Timbers without jumping to conclusions. After months without the team on the pitch, watching them for two straight hours leaves your head spinning in all sorts of directions about what kind of season Portland will have.
That being said, here are 11 observations from Wednesday morning’s training session.
1- The practice consisted of fitness drills, lots of one-touch passing drills and 9v9 half-field scrimmages. Head Coach John Spencer’s voice filled the training ground during the passing drills, but he was quiet for most of the 9v9 games.
2. It was nice to see some aggression displayed during the mock games. Futty Danso was constantly yelling directions at teammates, as was Troy Perkins.
There were also some contentious challenges, the hardest of which happened when Kalif Alhassan took out Eric Alexander with a slide tackle. Alexander shoved Alhassan’s legs to the ground and yelled at the Ghanaian before walking away. While some might see the chippiness as a bad thing, it seemed that none of the players nor coaches had any issues with it.
3. The field players were broken up into 3 squads of 8, while the goalkeepers rotated between the teams. Missing from the teams were David Horst, Sal Zizzo, and Jose Adolfo Valencia. Horst and Zizzo are continuing rehab from injuries, while Valencia was having “physical testing” done.
4. While the teams were not broken down by playing time necessarily, two of the teams certainly shared the most experienced Timbers players. Here is a breakdown of the teams-
Team A- Jack Jewsbury, Mike Chabala, Darlington Nagbe, James Marcelin, Eddie Johnson, Eric Brunner, Miguel Ibarra, and Hanyer Mosquera
Team B- Rodney Wallace, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Danso, Alhassan, Jorge Perlaza, Diego Chara, Bright Dike, and Franck Songo’o
Team C- Alexander, Steve Purdy, Chris Taylor, Lovel Palmer, Freddie Braun, Ryan Kawulok, Brent Richards and Brendan King
5. The team of Johnson and Chabala was the most consistent and scored quite a few goals. Chabala, in particular, had some nice crosses, while Johnson looked completely game ready after dealing with concussions last season. Other players who looked good were Nagbe, who chased down quite a few long balls, and Brunner, who continues to dominate the air. Ibarra seemed to struggle to hit accurate crosses and shots.
6. Danso led his team with a steady presence at the back, while Wallace looked good when on the attack. Chara seemingly had no influence in the middle and appeared to be a step slow on the attack. Sango’o has the ability to get through traffic looks like he might be able to stick with the team.
7. Alexander was aggressive throughout the practice and put in the ball in the back of the net on multiple occasions. Taylor has some decent crosses, but had a few costly mistakes at the back, including a complete whiff on a clear that set up a Perlaza goal.
8. First round pick Jean-Baptiste is much thicker in person than he appears. He has a similar body type to Dike. After practice, Spencer talked about the massive jump from college soccer to pro soccer and it seems Jean-Baptiste is experiencing that. I would be surprised if Jean-Baptiste is in the 18-man game day roster on March 12.
9. If I had to make a prediction based on one practice, I’d say Songo’o might get signed for the season. He is definitely my favorite out of non-roster invitees. The only issue is the fact he is from Cameroon and would count against the international roster spots.
10. After practice, Spencer said Nagbe was “by far, technically the best player on the team.” He also said he projects that Nagbe could be as good as Brad Davis and Landon Donovan. Spencer also said that Jewsbury will be captain for as long as Spencer is the coach of the Timbers.
11. My first prediction at who will be in the 18 for the season opener vs the Philadelphia Union on March 12. The starters will be Perkins, Palmer, Brunner, Mosquera, Chabala, Nagbe, Jewsbury, Chara, Alhassan, Perlaza, and Johnson. The bench will be Gleeson, Valencia, Marcelin, Wallace, Dike, Danso, and Alexander.
Spencer talks up Portland's goal of not only making the playoffs, but more
Jan. 23, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
The Portland Timbers officially opened their 2012 season with Media Day Monday at Jeld-Wen Field, and coach John Spencer wasted little time setting out the mission for the team in its second year of Major League Soccer.
"Sure we want to make the playoffs, that's a good goal for our second," he said to a crowd of local reporters, "but that's not a goal we're going to be satisfied with.
"We want to win a championship, that's our real goal."
The Timbers narrowly missed a spot in the 10-team playoffs last year, but had an inspired season that's led to the optimism of what might happen in their second season. In the last month, the team signed a pair of Columbian nationals to help boost the roster and traded veteran Kenny Cooper, perhaps as a way to make room on the field for a new crop of players.
Spencer said the moves were interesting, but he's been mostly focused on the fitness level of returning players, and in that area he's been very impressed.
"It's great to see guys working out over the winter, really taking their workouts seriously," Spencer said. "That gives you a lot of confidence in what your team can do during the season."
Jack Jewsbury said he's been working out with several teammates, but more as the training camp has neared.
"The guys definitely have the itch to get going again," he said. "It's going to be an exciting year.
"We want to be in the playoffs and fight for the title."
The Timbers will train in Portland through the end of next week then train in Los Angeles for two weeks before returning to Portland for a four-team tournament, Feb. 27.
Portland opens MLS play March 12 at home against Philadelphia.
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
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.
Portland will showcase striker Jose Adolfo Valencia in February
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 delves into recycled fabric and a traditional look with third kit
The Portland Timbers delved into their past to create their third kit, which they unveiled Tuesday at Jeld-Wen Field.
During an hour-long event, the Timbers showed off the white jersey with a green collar developed in conjuction with Adidas during the past year. The jersey includes a replica of the team's original logo on the front and features a replica of the original lettering from jersey sponsor Alaska Airlines on the front.
The third kit joins the team's green and red kits, each of which do not have a collar.
Team owner Merritt Paulson donned one of the uniforms taken from the first box of a limited edition of 2012 jersies the team produced in time for the Holidays. Each jersey, packed with a scarf, is available for $175 through the team's store or online.
Portland's second season in Major League Soccer begins in March with the team's home opener March 12.
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.
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
Saturday, March 17: Sporting Kansas City, Montreal Impact, Real Salt Lake Sunday, March 18: Philadelphia Union
Saturday, March 24: Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution, Toronto FC Sunday, March 25: New York Red Bulls
Saturday, May 12: Houston Dynamo
The opener in Houston will be part of the celebration of the franchise's new home.