diego valeri

Timbers don't win/lose again

Portland gives up extra-time goal, settles for 1-1 draw with Seattle
Staff Report

It happened again.

For the third time this season, and second in five days, the Portland Timbers gave up a goal in extra-time and settled for a 1-1 draw, this time with rival Seattle at CenturyLink Field Thursday.

The Timbers got a goal in the 10th minute from Andres Flores, and it held up for more than 80 minutes before Will Bruin scored in the 93rd minute to cause the draw between the teams atop the Western Conference standings. Bruin's shot was the only one on goal for the Sounders who outshot the visitors 15-8. Seattle held an 8-3 edge in corner kicks as well.

Portland moved to 9-5-5 overall with 32 points, and remained tied with the Sounders. But, they missed out on moving three points ahead of their rivals due to the late goal.

LAFC managed a 1-1 draw with the Timbers Sunday with a goal in the 93rd minute at Providence Park, where the team settled for a 4-4 draw with Real Salt Lake, Aug. 29, when the visitors scored in extra time as well.

Portland has nearly a week off before facing the LA Galaxy Wednesday at home.

 

 

Timbers' offense rolls over LA

Portland thumps Galaxy 6-3
Staff Report

The Timbers defense finally let up in a regular season game Wednesday, but no one was thinking about the defense after a stellar offensive performance on the road.

With Felipe Mora and Jeremy Ebobisse both scoring twice, Portland thrashed the LA Galaxy 6-3 to remain in second place in the MLS Western Conference standings.

The win was the second-consecutive six-goal output against a California team, following a 6-1 win at San Jose, Sept. 19. Portland had its streak of two shutouts snapped and hadn't given up more than one goal in the past four matches, but the offense was the story vs. the Galaxy, which beat the Timbers 3-2 in Portland Sept. 2.

Portland, 24 points, is 4-0-1 in its past five matches and kept pace with Seattle, which remains in first with 27 pooints. Those teams meet in Seattle, Oct. 22.

Diego Valeri and Larrys Mabiala also scored Wednesday.

Portland plays host to San Jose, which sits in last place in the West, Sunday.

Real Salt Lake, third in the West with 26 points, plays host to Portland Wednesday.

 

 

Timbers rebound with defense

An early score leads to 1-0 win over Nashville
Staff Report

Completely different game, completely different result - that's what the Portland Timbers gave their fans Sunday at Providence Park.

A week after dominating possession against Minnesota in a 3-1 loss to open the Major League Soccer season, the Timbers got an early goal and essentially played defense for three-fourths of the match. But, it ended 1-0 in favor of the home team against expansion Nashville.

Diego Valeri scored a highlight-reel goal in the 12th minute and the Timbers held Nashville to just four shots on goal, sending the visitors to their second loss in as many games.

Portland managed just two shots on goal and finished with no corner kicks, while Nashville had nine. The opener featured just two corner kicks for the host team.

The Timbers had a 57-43 edge in possession in their opener, but trailed 52-48 against Nashville.

Portland was charged with three yellow cards, including midfielder Diego Chara, who will miss Sunday's game at New England due to also picking one up against Minnesota.

And, yet, the win was the important part, moving the team to seventh in the 13-team Western Conference.

"Sometimes these games are not pretty," Portland coach Giovanni Savarese told media afterward. "The important thing for us was to make sure that we got a win to get three points."

Valeri's goal came after the visitors were unable to clear possession farther than the edge of the 18-yard box and Andy Polo found Portland's top scorer and he fired a shot from the left side to the top right of the goal for his second score of the season.

"I was so happy about it," Valeri told media. "You always want to see the ball in the net."

Valeri, with a penalty kick in the opener, has both of Portland's scores this season.

New England is 0-1-1, one point.

 

 

Timbers show off to some degree

A frustrating 3-1 loss to Minnesota is plenty to talk about
Staff Report

The Portland Timbers opened the 2020 Major League Soccer season with a dazzling performance in front of their home fans at Providence Park - for a half.

But, the second half was a different story and without having scored in the first half, the Western Conference rival Loons took advantage of several defensive lapses and left town with a 3-1 victory in hand before another sold out crowd.

Portland got a score from Diego Valeri on a penalty kick, but Minnesota got a pair of goals from Kevin Molina and became the first road team to win in a season opener in Portland since the club joined MLS 10 years ago.

Luis Amarilla scored Minnesota's other goal in his first match since joining the team on loan from Argentinian squad Velez Sarsfield.

Portland put plent of pressure on the visitors and finished with 57 percent of possession, 14-10 edge in shots and passing advantage of 513-367. But Minnesota used an effective counterattack to score three times, finishing with a 22-18 edge in crosses and two thirds of their passes coming in the Timbers defensive half.

The match was the league opener for Portland forward Felipe Mora, who is on loan from Pumas in Liga MX, Yimmi Chara, who moved up from Athletico Miniero in Brazil and joined his brother Diego in midfield, and defender Dario Zuparic, who moved over from Croatian side HNK Rijeka.

Next up, the Timbers face expansion franchise FC Nashville, which opened its league existence with a 2-1 loss to Atlanta before a crowd of 59,069 fans at Nissan Stadium - home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

NO PITY CITY PDX

 


 

 

Timbers, Thorns made some memories in 2019

Portland got an entertainment overload even without a title
By Cliff Pfenning

In early May, Brian Fernandez arrived at Portland International Airport and was greeted by an anonymous person, who stood next to him, lit up with a big smile and had someone take a photo of them together. 

Fernandez, a 24-year-old Argentinian, had just been signed by the Portland Timbers from his team in Mexico’s Liga MX, wore a long-sleeve shirt, faded jeans, and hat and had a guarded look on his face as if to say, “who are you? And are with the team?” 

Then more people showed up for photos, and then more. As the photos progressed, Fernandez seemed to figure out these were fans and he just landed in a hotspot of soccer fandom - and his face lit up, too. Soon, Fernandez started showing up on social media with a beaming smile when anyone noticed him and asked for a selfie. And, why not? Portland loved him and he performed.

Fernandez had one of the all-time great introductions to a new team starting slightly more than a week later. Having arrived on May 6 after the team paid an estimated $10 million for his rights, he scored his first goal May 15 after being inserted late in the match at Houston. Then, he scored again - twice - in the next match, and again in the next match. Fernandez scored in this first five Major League Soccer matches, something that had not been done since the league began in 1996, and added scores in two US Open Cup matches giving him nine goals in his first seven appearances in a Timbers kit.

Portland vaulted from being just a team to a contender for another trip to a league final, something it did just last year. But, then all the optimism came crashing down. Fernandez stopped scoring in every game and ended the season in substance-abuse rehab. Emotional sideline outbursts lit up social media, as did rumors of contract negotiations. And, of course, there was the Iron Front, which led the Timbers Army into a national discussion of civil liberties. That was the Timbers.

The Thorns, the women’s side of the franchise, were equally dramatic starting with the Women’s World Cup. The team had four players on the winning US side, which vaulted into nation attention for its success and dispute with USA Soccer over equal pay with the much-less successful men’s team. 

Portland led the National Women’s Soccer League for much of the season and seemed headed for another trip to a final and third league title when suddenly it stopped scoring, and closed out its season with a half-hearted loss in the first round of the playoffs.

Both the Timbers and Thorns lost their first playoff match and had their seasons close out this past weekend. As the playoffs head toward crowning league champions, Portland fans will only be able to follow from afar. And yet, it was not a boring year. 

The 2019 season might have been the most memorable, at least in terms of story-telling, since the franchise initially arrived in 1975 and led fans to claim the monicker of “Soccer City, USA.” In fact, that 1975 team was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in September.

If the goal of a sports team is entertainment, the 2019 season for the Timbers and Thorns might be the most entertaining for any team that’s not going to win a league title. Fernandez arrived, Diego Chara finally played in a league All-Star Game, Diego Valeri reached the 70-70 mark and Steve Clark played stellar in goal in a season that started with 12-straight road matches. And the Thorns had the thrill of the World Cup and an early-season rise to the top of the league in spite of all those road matches only to slide in a historic level.

And, there was the Iron Front.

It all started March 2 in Denver, where so much snow landed on the field the second half had to be stopped to dig out the lines so everyone could see where the field ended. The match started at 18 degrees - the coldest in league history. Portland led 3-2 and had a man advantage in extra time, but the Rapids scored to force a 3-3 draw leading Timbers fans to snap their fingers and think what could have been with just a little more defense. 

The Denver result was a huge missed opportunity because the team lost its next five matches and was at the bottom of the league with just one point after six weeks.

The switch to Clark in goal seemed to start a turnaround. Portland won its next three matches as rumors of the Fernandez deal swirled across the land. Then he landed and the franchise really took off and the team rose to as high as No. 5 in some weekly power rankings. And then they started playing at home after the $85 million expansion of Providence Park finally finished up. Fans in the Timbers Army began arriving at the stadium half a day ahead of matches to be allowed in an extra 30 minutes early, continuing the city’s love affair with the franchise. All those home matches, though - 17 of the remaining 22, led to a thought of the players becoming complacent. The Army wasn’t complacent.

With politics sweeping the nation ahead of the 2020 Election, the league’s ban on political signage hit the Army due to its support of a symbol from 1930s Germany. The Iron Front, three arrows pointing downward diagonally, represented a group that opposed facist Nazis until 1933. The symbol, being waved on flags across the North end of the stadium, drew the league’s ire, especially after politicians in Washington starting deeming anti-facists as terrorists because of the violence that often erupted when they showed up to events organized by White Nationalists.  

With the team, somewhat incredibly, banning fans from matches, all manners of protests were tossed about on social media, from just not showing up, to walking out, to not purchasing concessions. Eventually, it turned into a silent protest for the first 33 minutes of the Aug. 23 match with rival Seattle, which included Seattle fans. Being televised by FOX, the stadium had never been as quiet. 

A month later, the league relented and eased its policy on fan support to allow for the Iron Front.

The protest received national attention, but it also received on-field attention as the team lost 2-1 and social media lit up because owner Merritt Paulson apparently cussed the fans out - linking the protest to the loss. 

The Timbers were potentially headed for as high as second place in the Western Conference, but a late-season collapse halted that dream. Portland finished the season with one win and three draws in its last six matches - just six points of a possible 18, and missed second place by just seven points, falling all the way to six instead.

A 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake ended the season, Oct. 19.

Still, Chara, perhaps the team’s most revered player, played in his first All-Star Game in his ninth season in the league.

Valeri, the league’s MVP just two seasons ago, reached the level of 70 goals and 70 assists, becoming only the ninth player in league history to accomplish that feat. 

And, Clark, who started the season as the back-up to Jeff Attinella, had two entries on the online Save of the Year ballot - the lone keeper to have two entries.

The original Timbers, the 1975 squad of 17 primarily British players that reached the NASL final in its inaugural season, received a spot in the Hall, Sept. 24. The five members on hand for the ceremony at the Multnomah Athletic Club, noted the season was highly memorable for the fan support - two playoff crowds topped 30,000 fans, and the length of the season - 10 weeks by their memories. The regular season actually lasted 14 weeks, May 2 through August 9 for a 22-match schedule. To save money, the team’s East Coast road swing lasted nine days: four matches in nine days, including matches in Hartford, Conn., and Boston on consecutive days (played before crowds of 2,582 and 1,518, respectively).

The Thorns set an attendance record for their 2019 campaign, closing with an average of 20,098 fans per game - better than more than half of MLS teams. The World Cup buzz might have had something to do with that as four of the team’s starters: Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Emily Sonnet and Adrianna Franch, helping the US win the Cup, closing with a 2-0 win over The Netherlands, July 7. 

The Thorns had five other players in the tournament as well, including team captain Christine Sinclair.

Portland opened the season with its bevy of international players and scored eight goals in its first three matches before the World Cup called for talent at the start of May. The Thorns had three wins, a pair of draws and just one loss in the six road matches it played before opening at home, June 2, with a 3-0 win over Chicago. With 11 of its remaining 17 matches at home, the team was on fire.

When the US starters returned for a July 24 home match with Houston, magic erupted in a 5-0 victory before 22,329 fans. The Thorns closed out August with a 3-0 home win over Chicago and had 10 wins, six draws and only three losses for the season. Then, the goals ended. 

Over the remaining six weeks, the Thorns scored just one goal and managed to rack up only four points in the standings from a potential 15. Meanwhile, North Carolina, the defending league champion, won eight of its final nine matches, a stretch that included a 6-0 win over Portland, and finished first in the league standings for the third consecutive year.

With a 1-0 loss at Chicago, Sunday, the season came to a halt, leading into much-needed discussion of the future of the women’s game. In the NWSL, that includes league sponsors (Budweiser became the official beer sponsor), media rights and expansion franchises, one of which is due for Louisville, Ky., in 2021. And, the US women’s team salaries.

Put altogether, FC Portland had a truly memorable year, without winning a title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timbers ready for Sounders challenge

The 100th meeting between two of America's top rivals is Sunday
Staff report

It's a match for the ages set for Sunday at Providence Park: Timbers vs. Sounders.

The 100th meeting between the two clubs - starting in their NASL days - will begin at 1 p.m., with fans of the Seattle Sounders having been ushered in more than an hour ahead of Portland's army of fans.

Of course, Portland's diehard fanbase will have begun showing up at least two days prior in order to secure their treasured spots within the Army's section 107.

The match's historic nature spawned a video entitled "The Rivalry" that even got a response on Twitter from Ken Burns.

Both teams worked their way into the Major Lleague Soccer's history book in the recent past with Portland winning the MLS Cup in 2015 and Seattle winning the following year. This season, though, has been a challenge for both teams as the Timbers managed just two points through the opening five games - all on the road, and the Sounders managing just five points in its first seven games.

Sunday's match, though, will feature teams riding on optimism. The Sounders won their match Wednesday in Toronto against the league champion from last season, while the Timbers have won their past three games to move into a tie for sixth and just two points from third in the Western Conference.

 

Timbers have plenty of training camp talent

Portland's roster is stacked

2018 TRAINING CAMP

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

 

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 slice up Minnesota in opener

Portland pounds the expansion club 5-1 before home crowd
Staff report

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers are going to need a bigger log if Friday's season opener was any indication of the season ahead.

Sparked by a goal in the 14th minute, and capped by three goals in the final 11 minutes of play, Portland beat expansion Minnesota United 5-1 in the season opener for both teams Friday at Providence Park.

Newcomer Lawrence Olum scored first for Portland, and Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi each talled twice as the Timbers pounded the visitors before yet another raucous, sold out crowd. The Timbers edged Minnesota 13-11 in shots, but had a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.

Both of Adi's goals were in extra time.

Portland returns to action Sunday at Los Angeles against the Galaxy, and returns home March 18 to play the Houston Dynamo.

 

 

 

Timbers ready to rock Portland

Portland starts Season 7 in MLS at home vs. expansion foe
March 3, 2017 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

A season after getting largely overworked by a schedule that seemed to not end from the title season the previous year, the Portland Timbers are back to chase their second league title.

Portland opens its 2017 MLS season Friday against Minnesota United at Providence Park.

A late-season slump caused the Timbers to miss out on the playoffs last season, but it helped the team recupperate for this season and retool its lineup.

Leading scorer Fanendo Adi remains as the team's top offensive threat, while midfielder Darlington Nagbe is working his way into the national landscape on Team USA. And, fan favorite Diego Chara isn't going anywhere. Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson returns as well.

Two key losses are defender Nat Borchers, who retired, as did long-time captain Jack Jewsbury.

“We are hoping that it is going to be a very good season,” striker Fanendo Adi told the press at training on Tuesday. “We had a very successful preseason, playing friendly games against very good teams, so we are hoping that will translate into the games that matter the most. Hopefully we will go into the game on Friday with confidence from our last game.”

Of course, the Timbers have had their fair share of success in recent years. They finished the 2013 season on top of the West before making a run to the Conference Championship in the postseason, then surged to MLS Cup 2015, where their 2-1 win over Columbus Crew SC made history for the club.

In both of those seasons, the Timbers were bouncing back from disappointment. The 2012 season marked Portland’s worst year in their MLS era, forcing the club to make their only coaching change since joining the league as they finished second-to-last in the West. The 2014 campaign, like 2016, was saddled with high expectations after the Timbers’ first-place finish in their conference the year before. But a slow start to the season saw them fall just short of a playoff spot, missing out on the sixth and final seed by a single point.

The Timbers would like to break out of their boom-and-bust cycle. Yet for now, they’re focused on moving past the disappointments of 2016 as they start a new season.

“Everyone needed to rest after 34 games in the season,” said Adi. “It was a good offseason, but now that we are back there is just one thing on the plate: we play for trophies, we play to win games as they come. We are going to lose some, but the focus of every game is to come into the game and win.

The Timbers’ leading scorer for the last two seasons, Adi believes it is the players behind him in the formation that could make this season special.

 

 

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