portland mls

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 get regular-season playoff preview

Portland's plays a series of matches against solid opponents
August 24, 2015

With eight games left in the regular season, the Potland Timbers are far from having wrapped up a playoff spot in the Western Conference. But, they're on that path and have an exciting final two months of matches that should help them to a run at the MLS title if it's going to happen.

That run starts Sunday with a game at Cascadia Cup rival Seattle.

The remainder of the regular season includes a match against league-leading Los Angeles, one against the New York Red Bulls (No. 3 in the latest MLS Power Rankings), two against Kansas City (No. 4), and one against Toronto (No. 6).

Portland enters the week at No. 7 in the rankings - produced by mlssoccer.com, and in fourth place in the West with a record of 11 wins, eight losses and seven draws. With 40 points, the Timbers are five points ahead of seventh-place San Jose and only six points behind the Galaxy.

The game at Los Angeles figures to be a huge playoff update as the last game in Los Angeles produced a 5-0 disaster on June 24.

The Timbers enter Sunday's match having no chance to reclaim the Cascadia Cup as a win would only tie them with Vancouver, which has a win and two draws in its three games against Portland. A win Sunday would keep the Sounders from claiming the Cup.

Sunday's game is set to be televised on ESPN at 2 p.m.






Timbers finally break into win column

Portland's 3-1 win over Dallas shows off offense, defense, resiliency
April 4, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - Like an oil well awaiting to be discovered, the Portland Timbers finally found their way into the win column with an explosive 3-1 win over FC Dallas Saturday night before a sold-out crowd at Providence Park.

Nat Borchers, Maximiliano Urruti and Diego Chara all scored for the Timbers, who had one loss and three draws in their previous MLS regular season games. Portland's record defied its offensive play in particular as it was the league leader in chances created and second in shots on goal entering the game.

"The weight's been lifted," Portland coach Caleb Porter said afterward. "Now we can work on accumulating points and go on a run."

The Timbers (1-1-3, 6 points) have a week off before playing at home against Orlando City, April 12.

Dallas dropped to 3-1-1, 10 points.


Borchers, who had souvenir handouts with his head on them showing across the stadium, opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a header off a corner kick by Jorge Villafana.

Dallas responded six minutes later with a goal by Tesho Akindele.

Urruti boosted Portland back in front in th 62nd minute, taking a cross from Dairon Asprilla and flicking it just past Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz.

The Timbers added an insurance goal on a viscous counterattack by Chara, who beat Seitz in a one-on-one duel at the Dallas 20.



West leading Dallas just what the Timbers need

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 8:33am
Cliff Pfenning
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PORTLAND - After four games the Portland Timbers are just three points shy of the third spot in Major League Soccer's Western Conference. Trouble is, that's a big three points as it equates a victory.

So far, the Timbers have been victory-challenged, turning in four solid performances that turned into three draws and a frustrating loss at Vancouver Saturday.

Portland has scored three goals during the season, and given up four, but two of those were in the 90th minute or stoppage time, including Saturday's game-winner.

Vancouver won 2-1 in the first of six games that make up the Cascadia Cup between the Timbers, Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders.

A victory this week would be a huge lift as Saturday's opponent is Dallas FC, which leads the Western Conference with 10 points in four games.

Dallas has scored six times, and given up a league-low one goal amongst teams that have scored at least one goal. Colorado has given up no goals, but also scored none, settling for three draws.

Saturday's game is set for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Portland's offense has been centered around forward Fanendo Adi, who has all three goals, which has him tied for first in the league with four other players. One of those players is Blas Perez of Dallas.

The Timbers appear ready for a breakout game offensively. They lead the league in corner kicks with 26, and are second in shots-on-goal with 18, trailing only Vancouver with 20.

Timbers not in a hurry to panic

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:20am
Cliff Pfenning
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Last seen: 5 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

After a lively practice performed in front of more than a dozen local media members, Portland Timbers coach Caleb Porter had a resilient response to the undertone of the ensuing question-and-answer session that resonated around the teams’ first three games - all draws.

The undertone? Is he starting to get frustrated/worried about the Western Conference standings and the points his team is missing out on by not winning at least one of the games, two of which it clearly outplayed the opponent.

The answer? Not at all.

“We’ve got three points, and that’s more points than we had after three games than we had two years ago when we won the West,” Porter said referring to his first season as coach when the Timbers finished atop the conference standings. “The points will come. We just have to stay consistent in what we’re doing because we’re playing well.”

Portland won the conference title in Porter’s first season after moving up from the University of Akron. The team attacked the goal constantly and it turned into 57 points. Last season, the speed of play seemed to slow down just a tad other than a regular late blast and it turned into 49 points.

But, those 49 points were one shy of Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff spot.

So, naturally there’s regular conversation from every group of team supporters about those points left on the field and not being put on the standings.

Porter pointed to the length of the season - 29 more games - and the fact the Timbers have given up just two goals.

What’s frustrating to watch is how well the team plays and the results that it doesn’t turn into. In their season opener, for example, Portland scored an amazing 11-0 edge in corner kicks against Real Salt Lake. The game, though, ended 0-0.

The Timbers went up by a goal twice the following week against Los Angeles only to have the Galaxy even the score for a 2-2 draw. Saturday, an evenly-played match ended 0-0 at Kansas City.

This week the team travels to Vancouver, B.C. for the first of their matches with their Cascadia Cup rivals.

Portland actually has some good history on its side in looking at its record. Not only do the Timbers have three points, but they’ve got two shutouts. Under Porter, the Timbers have finished seasons impressively. Not only did they win the West in 2013, they finished third in the league in goals scored, and first in goal differential - 21. They led the league in draws as well as had a league-low in losses with just five.

Last season, Portland finished third in goals scored and second in draws. In his third season, Porter is 26-14-31.

Three points after three games is actually a good start to a season, but that’s equal to one win and two losses. That’s maybe the most frustrating part for fans, deciding if one win - to get that sense of victory - coupled with two losses is better than not losing at all. It goes against the drama of sports, which the Wide World of Sports highlighted in the ‘70s with the tagline “Thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”

Draws work well in that they keep a team moving forward in the point totals, but they get on a supporters’ nerves after awhile. So, hopefully, this week the Timbers will get off that train of single points, and either win or lose.

After three no-decisions, even a loss might help fans feel more comfortable with the team this season.

Timbers starting to draw a pattern

Portland settles for its third tie of the season at Kansas City
March 21, 2015 / Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Several things almost happened in Saturday night’s game. Two important things didn’t.

Nobody scored in the match in Kansas City, and neither Sporting Kansas City nor the Portland Timbers managed to pick up their first win of 2015.

Portland’s Adam Kwarasey and Sporting’s Luis Marin were able to pick up clean sheets for their respective clubs, which provided some solace.

The Timbers managed to stay unbeaten with their third draw in as many outings, while Sporting failed to score for the first time this year and saw their winless streak – dating back to October 2014 – reach seven matches across all competitions.

On the positive side for Portland, three points in three games has the team only a point out of fourth place with the top five of 10 teams reaching the playoffs.

It didn’t shape up like a scoreless draw in the early going, though, especially with speedy Colombian winger Jimmy Medranda making his first start of the year for Sporting while Krisztian Nemeth was out with a knee sprain sustained in training this week.

With Medranda active in ball-winning and pushing hard down the flanks, Sporting came out pressing hard and high. They were nearly rewarded for it in the ninth minute, only to see center back Ike Opara’s powerful header off a corner kick sent inches wide of Kwarasey’s left post.

Paulo Nagamura smashed a left-footed shot just wide in the 24th minute, as the hosts continued to create opportunities in and around the Portland 18. Nagamura had a second shot in the 39th minute saved and then cleared out of danger by Kwarasey.

That was the only shot on goal for the hosts in the first half, despite a 9-4 advantage on overall attempts before the break.

It was the same story in the second half as well, with promising possessions for Sporting coming to nothing – such as Graham Zusi’s twisting, weaving run through the defense in the 61st minute, followed by a block of Bernardo Anor’s shot from distance.

Portland showed flashes of danger themselves, as when Fanendo Adi forced a save from Marin in the 62nd minute, but struggled to assert themselves in the buildup as Sporting kept a tight defensive presence on speedy midfielder Darlington Nagbe.

Opara had another solid chance in the 77th minute, when he found himself in space near the back post, but headed Marcel de Jong’s cross over the bar. In the 79th, Jalil Anibaba’s header – this one off a Zusi corner kick – flashed right over the goal.

Both teams are away next Saturday as Sporting visit expansion side New York City FC and the Timbers meet their Cascadia Cup rivals in Vancouver.

Timbers start season with style

Portland's MLS franchise shows off it's new primary kit for 2015
March 3, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The Portland Timbers put their own special spin on fashion every year with their unique uniform designs, and they showed off their primary kit for the 2015 season Tuesday night at the Exchange Ballroom in lower Northeast Portland.

After introducing each of the players on hand, all of whom walked the runway of fashion, the primary kit hit the stage to significant applause from season ticket holders, sponsors and select members of the Timbers Army.

The jersey, in men’s, women’s and youth sizes, will be available starting Wednesday at the adidas Timbers Team Store at Providence Park. Additional 2015 clothing and merchandise will also be available in the adidas Timbers Team Store.

The popular Timbers Army refrain, “Let it rain. Let it pour. Let the Portland Timbers score,” is highlighted in the jersey’s neck tape with the Timbers word mark displayed on the back neck. The club’s secondary logo is featured on the left chest while a Timbers 5/40 nod, recognizing the team’s fifth year in MLS and 40th anniversary since the team’s founding in 1975, is included on the jersey’s jock tag.

All 20 MLS clubs will debut at least one new jersey ahead of the start of the 2015 regular season this weekend. The Timbers kick off the regular season Saturday, when they play host to the Real Salt Lake at Providence Park at 7:30 p.m.

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