Portland has five players doing international duty during two-week layoff
June 5, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
It's been nearly a week since the Portland Timbers helped establish a new level of success ... for adult amatuer soccer teams by losing 1-0 to Cal FC in the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday.
But, that's in the past for the Timbers and their fans. Up next is a two-week layover before the team visits Los Angeles for a game with the Galaxy.
Portland had one of its most successful months since it joined Major League Soccer last year by winning once and earning a draw in three other matches to go unbeaten in May - the team's first unbeaten month in MLS action.
Although, the joy was short-lived, the Timbers used the month to rally back into the thick of the tightly-knit Western Conference at 3-5-4, 13 points. Portland is tied with FC Dallas for seventh place.
The Galaxy, last season's league champion, is last in the West at 3-8-2, 11 points.
The teams play June 17 at the Home Depot Center.
While the Timbers won't play until then, five of their players are in action with national teams, including several World Cup qualifiers.
Jake Gleeson (New Zealand), Futty Danso (Gambia), Steve Purdy (El Salvador), Lovel Palmer (Jamaica) and Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica) are all with their national teams. Wallace and Purdy will face one another during a World Cup qualifier June 8.
This topics and more will be part of Tuesday's "No Pity City" webcast, live from the Bulldog Tavern in West Portland at 8:30 p.m. The webcast can be seen on this page or join the UStream page and chat online with co-hosts Cliff Pfenning and Mike Donovan.
NPC: We'll be talking Eric Brunner and Cascadia Cup Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.
May 20, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com
Sometimes it takes a unlikely spark to start a fire, and Sunday it was Eric Brunner during the Portland Timbers' 2-1 win at home over Chicago at Jeld-Wen Field.
Sunday was the 80th time Brunner had stepped on the field for a MLS match and for the first time in his 80 matches he was able to score a goal with his foot. But his right footed poach into the inside netting ended a 448-minute scoreless streak by a Timber and eased the nerves of both the Timbers players and their Army.
Brunner had missed the last two Timbers games with a hip flexor and seemed ready to cause damage from the get go. Moments before the starting whistle, Brunner was joking with coach John Spencer on the sideline before running to his fellow defenders for some pregame chatter.
But it wasn’t just his intensity or even his goal that made Brunner so valuable for Portland Sunday afternoon. Brunner had one of the statistically best passing games ever for a Timbers defender, successfully completing 17 of his 22 passes. And of those five, three were on clearing headers.
Brunner’s goal in the 20th minute ended a goal-scoring drought that spanned 36 days for Timber players. However, goalkeeper Troy Perkins shutout streak ended at 377 minutes after Jalil Anibaba beat the defensiveless goalkeeper after a poor clear from Steven Smith.
A Logan Pause own goal turned out to be the winner for Portland. Pause’s deflection came after a Kris Boyd header was turned towards the goal off a Sal Zizzo corner kick. While Boyd won’t get the credit, he easily beat Fire rookie Austin Berry to the Zizzo’s kick. The own goal was the fifth the Timbers
Zizzo’s corner was just seven minutes after he came onto the pitch as a halftime sub for Franck Songo’o. Zizzo seemed to provide a spark off the bench.
“When Sal comes on, the crowd appreciate him. It gives you a lift, especially in front of the Timbers Army,” Spencer said following the game. “You can just tell the Army are back in the game, he certainly gives us that jolt.”
Despite the goal from Anibaba, Perkins had a nice match that included a diving save on a blast from an unmarked Pavel Pardo. After the half, Perkins was mostly a spectator and saw zero shots on target in the final 45.
The own goal was the fifth the Timbers have received as a MLS club. All five have been at the North End of Jeld-Wen Field.
Portland returns to the field Saturday against Cascadia Cup rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Check out No Pity City live on oregonsports.com, Tuesday at 8:30, and twitter.com/theMikeDonovan all week for Timbers coverage.
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. Live video from your Android device on Ustream
NO PITY CITY: The world game gets a fresh taste from Portland
So, just what impact does Portland have on the soccer world outside of Portland?
At oregonsports.com, we're working to promote the passion of the local community across the world with the web series No Pity City, which is scheduled to be broadcast every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m.
Portland might be Soccer City, USA, and have the best fans in the world, but that's only known throughout the Northwest, south of Seattle. The World Wide Web is about to change that.
And, not it a polite way. Which is how Portland rolls.
Portland's professional soccer community fanbase, anyway.
Most of the world sees Portland as a community of pleasant, biking, multicultural vegans who enjoy a pint or two at a local microbrewery. When their Nike overseers allow.
The Rose City is a pretty isolated pro sports community. The Timbers can only alter that through championship-level play.
At oregonsports.com, we're undertaking the challenge of promoting Portland's soccer passion to the world through No Pity City, our web series devoted to showcasing Soccer in Portland, starting with the Timbers, and unshowcasing the challenges the Timbers face each week.
We'll be covering much more than the Timbers, but it starts there, especially the No Pity portion.
"There's no pity in the Rose City" has been a comfortably chant at Timbers games for years, but it's headed for the world on oregonsports.com, every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m.
Publisher Cliff Pfenning and beat reporter Mike Donovan and a weekly guest delve into the game and its impact on the community and world, with contributions from fans across the world via the NPC Chat Room.