Portland Timbers

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 keep rolling with 3-0 win

Portland overcomes weather and San Jose at Providence Park
Staff Report

The season just keeps getting brighter for the Portland Timbers, whether the weather cooperates or not.

Behind a brace from Jaroslaw Niezgoda and a stellar performance from its defense, the Timbers beat visiting San Jose 3-0 Sunday for their fifth-straight win in MLS play.

Portland stayed even with Seattle atop the Western Conference standings through 16 matches, and produced a shutout for the third time in four matches.

Following a 1-1 draw with the Earthquakes on Sept. 16, the Timbers are 6-1-1 in their last eight matchs, and have outscored their opponents 21-10 - with four of those opponents' goals in a 4-2 loss at LAFC, Sept. 13.

Portland returns to action Wednesday at Real Salt Lake, which is nursing a three-match losing streak.

Felipe Mora's goal in the 86th minute off a brilliant cross from Diego Chara gave him seven goals for the season, matching both Diego Valeri and Jeremy Ebobisse for the team lead. Portland is the lone team in the league with three players having scored seven goals this year. Niezgoda improved his total to five goals.



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.



COVID-19 finally strikes Timbers schedule

Saturday's match with Colorado gets postponed due to Rapids outbreak
Staff Report

The MLS game between the Colorado Rapids and the Portland Timbers has been postponed after the Rapids confirmed two more players and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

"Major League Soccer today announced that the match between the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers, scheduled for Saturday at Providence Park, has been postponed after two additional Colorado Rapids players and one additional staff member have confirmed cases of COVID-19," a league statement said.

"For the health and safety of all players and staff, Major League Soccer postponed the match until Nov. 4 at 10 p.m. ET.

"Following the first confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on Sept. 24, the Colorado Rapids closed their training facility and have not trained since. All players and staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have entered self-isolation and the players and staff that have continued to receive negative results have remained in self-quarantine while following MLS health and safety protocols."

The Rapids suspended training late last week when a first round of positive tests came through that included one player and three staff, and placed them in self-isolation. MLS then took the step of postponing the Rapids match on Sunday. A source added that the Rapids had hoped to return to training by Friday.

The postponement on Saturday's Colorado-Portland match is the second since MLS teams began playing games in home markets following the MLS is Back Tournament, which concluded on Aug. 11. At that tournament, which was held inside a bubble in Orlando, both FC Dallas and Nashville SC were forced to pull out due to a cluster of confirmed positive tests.

Since then, there had been less than a handful of confirmed positive tests. The Chicago Fire announced on Aug. 21 that one of its players had a confirmed positive test. More recently, FC Cincinnati said on Saturday that one of its players had a confirmed positive test.


Finally, the Portland Timbers put their offense and defense together at the same time - and historic fashion.

Despite having just 38 percent of possessions Saturday night, the Timbers scored a franchise record six goals and thwarted host San Jose time and again on the way to a 6-1 win in MLS action.

Diego Valeri scored twice and had an assist as the team topped its previous high late in the match.

Portland's win moved it into a tie for fourth in the Western Conference standings with two matches remaining, both at home.

"It was a wonderful match, regardless of the score," Portland coach Gio Savarese told media via virtual contact.

Portland improved to 5-4-3 for 18 points, while San Jose fell to 2-5-5, 11 points. The Earthquakes, who trailed just 2-1 at halftime, were 10 days removed from a 7-1 shellacking in Seattle.

In between San Jose's two defensive blowouts, the team scored a pair of draws, including 1-1 against Portland Wednesday. A number of changes in the starting rotation by both teams saw a seesaw match until Valeri broke the tie in the 25th minute with a penatly-kick goal after a handball was called. Moments later, Jeremy Ebobise headed home a long pass from Jorge Villafana to double the lead. 

San Jose answered in the 44th minute with a Carlos Fierro score and put consistent pressure on Timbers goalie Aljaz Ivacic, but he made a number of highlight-reel saves to keep the Earthquakes at bay. Starting his first match for Portland, Ivacic recorded three saves.

Valeri scored again in the 57th minute on an assist from Diego Charra and the route was on after San Jose responded with four substitutions - all offensive-minded players for defensive players. The Timbers got goals from Yimmi Chara, Julio Cascante and Jaroslaw Niezgoa in the remaining time to surpass its previous MLS high of five goals scored against Minnesota to open the 2017 season.

Portland plays host to Seattle Wednesday, and Vancouver Sunday. The Sounders lead the Western Conference with 21 points, while the Whitecaps won for the third time in four matches with a 2-1 decision at Real Salt Lake Saturday and moved into a tie for seventh place, with the top eight teams reaching the playoffs.

The Timbers edged Seattle 2-1 on Sept. 6 in Seattle two weeks after losing 3-0 at home. They have not played Vancouver this season.



Sept. 16, 2020

In the long-term view, the Portland Timbers only have to qualify for the MLS playoffs to be a contender for the 2020 league tournament.

In the short-term view, though, the frustration from recent results leaves plenty of hardcore fans to wonder how the team will be competitive for any playoff results, especially after such a strong performance at the league’s MLS is Back tournament in August.

Portland struggled to a 1-1 draw with host San Jose Wednesday, earning one point in the Western Conference standings to remain tied for fifth with both Los Angeles clubs needing only to finish eighth to reach the playoffs.

The draw, however, came only a week after the Earthquakes lost 7-1 to Seattle, and days after the team failed to score against the LA Galaxy - in a 0-0 draw. San Jose has allowed three or more goals in three of its five games since the league returned to regular-season play. 

Yimmi Chara scored his first goal of the season off a feed from brother Diego to put Portland up 1-0 in the 33rd minute, but San Jose tied the match with a score by Vako off a feed from Chris Wondolowski.

San Jose dominated possession (63-37 percent) and shots (19-6), causing goalkeeper Steve Clark to make five assists, including a dazzing one in the final minutes. Most of San Jose’s possessions (75 percent) were spent in the Timbers side of the field.

The draw improved the Timbers to 1-3-2 since its return, but continued a familiar pattern of game-play where they create a lead, but cannot hold it. Portland has scored first in four of its six matches, including Wednesday’s match, but managed a win in just one. Those stats include giving up two goals in extra time in a 4-4 draw with Real Salt Lake two weeks ago.

Portland (15 points) plays at San Jose again Saturday with its final two matches at home against Seattle and Vancouver.

San Jose (12) and Vancouver (11) occupy the bottom two spots in the Western Conference standings.

Houston and RSL are tied for eighth at 14 points, with Colorado at 13.


Portland shows off to nation

Outstanding tourney ends with title trophy
Staff Report

The Portland Timbers closed out a great month of matches with a dominating performance Tuesday, scoring a 2-1 victory over Orlando City in the finale of the MLS is Back Cup.

Defenders Larrys Mabiala and Dario Zuparic scored off set plays to power the Timbers to victory at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, which played out minus fans during it's month-long run. Portland won five of its seven matches in regulation and scored twice in six of the seven.

Twenty four of the league's 26 teams participated in the tournament, which began with six groups of four teams playing three matches each.

Portland placed four players on the all-tournament team.

The Timbers scored in the 30th minute when Mabiala headed home a free kick from Diego Valeri, a score that countered much of the first half's domination by Orlando City.

The Lions rallied just before halftime with Mauricio Pereyra redirected home a cross from Nani past Portland keeper Steve Clark.

Portland dominated much of the second half possession and scored the winning goal off another set play with Zaparic redirecting a frantic cross midway through the second half. Orlando City did not mount a serious scoring threat through the remainder of the match.


MLS return, Orlando, Moreira - Timbers questions abound

Soccer's return looks very tentative with two weeks to go
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The Portland Timbers are set to return to Major League Soccer play sometime after July 8, although that schedule seems a bit tentative with a surprise announcement Monday - from the National Women's Soccer League.

Orlando, one of the nine NWSL teams set to play in the league tournament that begins Saturday, withdrew due to positive tests for COVID-19 from both players and staff. 

Orlando is the site of the MLS Tournament that includes all 26 teams. The tournament is scheduled to be played all at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on the site of the Walt Disney World Resort. Fans will not be part of the action.

Heading into Tuesday, the league had released the list of eight groupings for the event, but not a schedule for matches. Three matches - one in the morning and two in the evening, will be played throughout the tournament, which has a final scheduled for August 11.

Following the tournament, the league has announced regular-season play will continue at home sites in some form.

The Timbers' off-season roster moves hit an unexpected question as well on Monday when news of defender Jorge Moreira's return to Athletico River Plate was reportedly scuttled due to Moreira. The 30-year-old, who played last season with Portland while on loan, told online site transfermrkt.com that he wanted to return to the Timbers as opposed to the Buenos Aries club that plays in the Superliga in a stadium with 65,000 seats.

River Plate is one of the Argentine league powers with six players on the national squad and a budget that pays out roughly five times what the Timbers pay their players. Moreira's playing time was a significant question with his home club, while he was a starter in Portland.

"I will not have a place in the team, the places are complete," Moreira said to the media site TyC Sport, transfermrkt.com reported.

Portland will have to pay $1.5 million to complete the transfer. Moreira wants to continue his career in Portland but could also move to another MLS team. "Right now we are looking at all possibilities," Moreira said.

The Timbers have not commented about a potential return of Moreira.

Portland began individual workouts for the MLS Tournament in early June. 

With COVID-19 cases increasing daily in Florida and the Orlando exit from the NWSL Tournament, comment from MLS has become increasingly important.


Timbers get their sked

Portland's three MLS Challenge matches begin July 13
Staff Report

Two weeks after grouping teams for the upcoming MLS Bracket Challenge, the league released the schedule for the event that begins July 8.

The Portland Timbers earned an opening match five days after the event begins as part of being in Group F.

Portland faces the LA Galaxy in its opener, with matches against Houston on July 18 and LAFC on July 23 to follow.

The event is set to close out August 11.

All matches will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.

Orlando is also the site for the NBA reboot set for late July.

Three matches will be played during the MLS tourney, with one match in the morning and two in the evening on most days.

Portland's matches are all at 5 or 7:30 p.m. Pacific time and available for live viewing on FS1 or ESPN2.


Timbers, MLS begin road back to business

Individual workouts are active at training facilities
Staff Report

The MLS season is still on hold with no return date in sight, but players were given the go-ahead by league officials to start working out on company land and they did Thursday.

With their training facility separated into zones, several Portland Timbers started workouts to return to game-day condition, and they were more than happy to get that return nod.

“It felt almost therapeutic to be back out there on the field ...,” Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse said, speaking to the media from his home via a Zoom video conference. "To get out there and see some of the other faces, as well, even if it’s from a distance. The bond felt closer today.”

“[T]o be in such safe conditions was really, really important to my mental health."

Players took rotating shifts on the Timbers’ field, with the pitch divided into personalized quadrants to endure social distancing. For sanitation purposes, players were responsible for maintaining their own equipment and gear, with daily wellness quizzes as well as temperature checks ensuring anyone exhibiting symptoms of the novel coronavirus did not have access to the grounds.

“We have been waiting for a long time to be able to come back to the facility, to be able to train,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “One thing that we definitely miss is having the players here, training in our field – being here, around, doing our job.”

“It’s amazing to be here …,” captain Diego Valeri said. “Obviously, it’s nice to start working out again on a field, with different kinds of spaces, even with social distances, watching our teammates training, too.”

Portland split its first two matches - both played at Providence Park, when the season was put on indefinite hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Timbers, Pilots share a common denominator

Harry Merlo not only supported UP's program, he owned the Timbers
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Harry Merlo.

The name is recognized for the University of Portland's prized soccer field (how many fields actually have grass on them anymore?), and as a supporter of sporting events in the 80s by Oregonians family with the state's history.

But, most people don't know of his history with the Portland Timbers - as owner for three seasons through through the lumber company Lousiana Pacific, which he was president of for 22 years.

With the team ready to fold, Merlo came to the rescue in 1980 and provided plenty of cash and optimism - including the franchises indoor team - in rollicking days of the North American Soccer League.

Portland had already established itself as Soccer City, USA, in the stands, and Merlo sought to take advantage of that on the field through signing European players. But, it didn't take and the team finished above .500 in just one of those three seasons. With the team unprofitable at the close of the '82 season, Merlo looked for a buyer but none arrived. The team folded.

The three extra years, though, helped Soccer City, USA, long into the future, though, as many influential figures in the Rose City's soccer history arrived, or remained here from their home bases in Great Britain.

The story of Portland's soccer roots are covered in 

Oregonsports Journal


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.



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