portland timbers soccer

Portland celebrates in the sun

Late goal by Blanco beats Seattle, scores fourth-straight win
Staff report

The hottest day of the year turned into the hottest ticket of the year, and the Portland Timbers didn't disappoint Sunday.

With a stellar connection between Samuel Armenteros and Sebastian Blanco and simple chip from 10 yards away to provide the scoring in the 86th minute, the Timbers won their fourth-consecutive game of the MLS Season, with three of them at Providence Park in front of the 21,444 screaming masses.

Blanco's goal was his team-leading fifth of the season, and made a positive memory of what was largely a bland meeting of the franchises for the 100th time, historically, through the NASL, USL and now MLS. The bitter rivals managed just 15 shots combined in the match, and only three were on target - each goalkeeper made just one save.

Jeff Attinella recorded his third-consecutive shutout for Portland.

Portland moved into a tie for fourth in the Western Converence at 14 points after having started the season with just two through five games. The Timbers are also one of four teams in the league without a loss at home, although only one has played fewer home games - DC United, which has played at home just twice in advance of opening a new stadium in two months.

The win was the first step in the Cascadia Cup, as well, between the teams.

Portland next plays host to FC Los Angeles, which is second in the West with 20 points and recently opened its own stadium near the Los Angeles Coliseum.



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 keep roster fluid

Portland acquires another International standout
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

Samuel Armenteros, one of the most experienced players in Europe, has signed with the Portland Timbers, the club announced Friday.

Set to turn 28-years old this year, the twice-capped Swede is currently on the books of Serie A club Benevento, and will be on a season-long loan with the Timbers, who may then chose to purchase his contract.

Armenteros has had successful stints in Holland and Belgium prior to heading to Italy to play in one of the world’s best leagues.

During the previous season, Armenteros scored 22 goals in 32 matches with Heracles of the Dutch Eredivisie league.

He scored one goal in nine matches in Italy.

“Samuel Armenteros has a proven track record of scoring goals, and we will look for him to help bolster our attacking corps for the 2018 MLS season,” Portland GM Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement. “It was a priority of ours to bring in another attacker who can help influence games for us. As we looked to strengthen our group this season, we believe that Samuel has the proper mindset and characteristics to have a positive impact with this club.”

Armenteros will likely compete for time with Nigerian striker Fanendo Adi, who is returning to play under new coach Giovanni Savarese after it briefly appeared he might make an overseas move. Also age 27, Adi has 42 league goals across the past three seasons, including 16 each in 2015 and 2016 before hitting 10 in an injury-obstructed 2017 campaign.

The Timbers were in the market for attacking depth after they traded Darren Mattocks to D.C. United this past offseason.

“We are pleased to add another quality attacker to our team," Savarese said. "Samuel is a player with good technical ability that can bring others into the game and has proved to be a prolific goal-scorer. We look forward to building Samuel into the squad during the remainder of preseason, and having yet another solid attacking option to rely on for the upcoming season.”

Portland begins its eighth season in Major League Soccer in March.


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 score huge win

PK and solid defense net 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake
Oct. 14, 2015

Give those Portland Timbers credit when and where they deserve - especially in Utah.

Portland scored its second win of the season over Real Salt Lake, 1-0, Wednesday in MLS action, effectively knocking the host team from the playoff race for the first time in seven seasons.

A 54th-minute penalty kick by Fanendo Adi proved the decisive score, which moved the Timbers three points clear of San Jose in the race for the Western Conference's final playoff spot with two games remaining.

Portland plays at Los Angeles Sunday, and then closes out the regular season at home against Colorado, Oct. 25.

At 13-11-8, 47 points, Portland is tied with Seattle for fifth place in the West, and just four points shy of LA for second place.

San Jose has matches remaining against Sporting KC, and FC Dallas - both Western playoff teams entering the final week. Dallas leads the West with 54 points.

Portland's win, which followed a last-second win earlier in the summer, was its league-leading 13th shutout of the season.

RSL dropped to 11-13-8, 41 points.

Adi got the PK - his 13th goal of the season - off a foul earned by midseason acquisition Lucas Melano, who beat the RSL defense and was tackled at the edge of the 18-yard box by Jamison Olave. Officials conferred and then sent off Olave before the crowd of 19,457.

Portland finished with a 15-7 edge in shots, and 5-2 on goal.

Timbers struggle to score again

Portland gets Valeri back, but draws with Vancouver 0-0
May 2, 2015 / Staff Report

PORTLAND – The Portland Timbers did basically everything but score Saturday night, and that played out to a scoreless draw with the rival Vancouver Whitecaps at Providence Park.

Portland held possession for 65 percent of the match, and even earned a penalty kick, but Vancouver’s defense was enough to concede only one actual shot on goal, and the the PK hit the right post midway through the first half.

Portland (2-4-3, 9 points) earned a point with the result, and remained tied for fifth place in the highly-competitive Western Conference. But, the game was a perfect opportunity to take over sole possession of fifth place after nine games. Portland has scored just seven goals this season.

Vancouver (5-2-3, 17 points) remained in a tie with Dallas for first place.

The home crowd was sent into a frenzy upon the return of Argentine playmaker Diego Valeri, who came on as a second-half substitute after missing the first two months of the season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered in the season finale last year.

Neither team found much of a rhythm in the first half, and the Timbers squandered two golden chances to score at the half-hour mark.

First, Vancouver center back Pa Modou Kah was called for a handball in the box in the 29th minute. But Darlington Nagbe pinged the ensuing spot kick off the right post on a right-footed attempt.

Then, three minutes later, a free Maximiliano Urruti met a pinpoint cross from Rodney Wallace in front of goal, but the header attempt was angled just over the bar.

Vancouver’s best chance of the first half came in the very first minute when left back Jordan Harvey made a sneaky run into the box to receive a Mauro Rosales cross for an open shot, but it was dealt with easily by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.

Valeri’s biggest imprint from his near 40-minute shift came in the 78th minute when he ran onto a Jorge Villafana cross in the box but pushed his sliding shot just wide.

Vancouver, meanwhile, were limited to just seven shots, two on goal. Late attempts by Octavio Rivero, Kekuta Manneh and Gershon Koffie all went begging for more.

Timbers score win in NYC

Asprilla nets his first goal as the difference in the game
April 19, 2015 / Associated Press

NEW YORK – Dairon Asprilla’s 79th-minute strike, his first career Major League Soccer goal, lifted the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 win over New York City FC Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.

Darlington Nagbe started the sequence with a penetrating run through midfield. NYCFC were unable to clear at the top of the box and the ball fell to Asprilla, whose shot took a deflection off defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe and in.

Rookie Khiry Shelton had two terrific opportunities to equalize in the 88th minute, but his shot from 16 yards was right at goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey. Seconds later, Shelton was played in by Pablo Alvarez, but Kwarasey came off his line to make a heroic save.

After a scoreless first half, Portland (2-2-3) had a golden chance two minutes into the second half when miscommunication between Chris Wingert and Josh Saunders resulted in a deliberate back pass and an indirect free kick from the edge of the box.

Nagbe’s attempt, though, deflected off defender Watson-Siriboe at the end of the wall for a Portland corner.

In the 58th minute, Patrick Mullins forced Kwarasey to dive to his left to save his low shot before Liam Ridgewell cleared.

Saunders came up big for NYCFC (1-3-3) in the 69th minute when he came off his line to challenge Ishmael Yartey, who was played in behind on a clever Nagbe chip. The rebound popped to Fanendo Adi, but Jeb Brovsky slid in to avert the danger.

Nagbe again turned provider in the 75th minute, slotting to an open Adi on the left, but the Nigerian Designated Player had his low shot blocked by Watson-Siriboe for a corner.

Three minutes later, Mullins had an open header on the other end after latching onto a Brovsky cross, but the forward headed over the bar.

The game’s first quality scoring chance went to NYCFC in the 16th minute when Shelton fed Mullins, who took a touch inside the box and lashed a shot from 17 yards out on frame. But Kwarasey parried it away for a corner.

In the 31st minute, Mehdi Ballouchy nearly notched his second goal in as many games when a deflected Portland clearance fell at his feet. But the Moroccan midfielder’s shot from 14 yards was blocked by Nat Borchers, resulting in another corner.

Kreis, who was already missing regular starters David Villa (hamstring), Mix Diskerud (ankle), Jason Hernandez (calf) and Josh Williams (adductor strain), was forced to make his first change in the 35th minute when Sebastian Velasquez replaced Tony Taylor, who was stretchered off with an apparent knee injury.

New York City FC will look to snap a five-game winless streak when they head to Chicago to take on the Fire Friday (8 pm ET, Univision Deportes), while the

The Timbers return to action Sunday at Seattle, with the Cascadia Cup match set for 6:30 p.m.

New York City is scheduled to play at Chicago Friday.

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.



Timbers not in a hurry to panic

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:20am
Cliff Pfenning
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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.

Busy week for Timbers

The expansion draft keeps the potential 2015 roster in play
Dec. 9, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

With the Major League Soccer expansion draft for Orlando City and New York City FC upcoming Wednesday, it's a big week for teams to sign, trade and protect players.

And, unprotect players, too.

Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was among the players left unprotected by the Portland Timbers in advance of the expansion draft, established to stock the two clubs that will join the 19-team league in spring.

Three of the team's six international players: Fanendo Adi, Liam Ridgewell and Maxi Urruti; were protected, as were franchise fan favorites Diego Chara, Will Johnson and Darlington Nagbe. Also on the 11-player list were Nat Borchers, Diego Valeri, Rodney Wallace, Ben Zemanski and Alvas Powell.

Ricketts, the 2013 Goalkeeper of the Year in the league, and Gaston Fernandez were notables to not be protected, which allows them to be selected by either of the two expansion teams. The other players are Jack Jewsbury, Pa Modou Kah, Rauwshan McKenzie, Danny O'Rourke, Norberto Paparatto, Jorge Villafana, George Fochive, Bryan Gallego, Jake Gleeson, Michael Nanchoff, and Andrew Weber.

The position of goalkeeper became highly interesting when the team announced it had signed Ghanaian international goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey to a long-term contract.

Among other moves, the team exercised the purchase option on Powell’s contract from Jamaica’s Portmore United and he was signed to a new, long-term deal after originally joining Portland on loan in 2013. Defender Villafaña, who was out of contract, was also re-signed by the Timbers.

The Timbers are in further contract discussions with forward Fernández.

Four players’ contract options were declined and two players from the club’s 2014 roster are out of contract.

The Timbers declined the 2015 contract options on midfielders Kalif Alhassan and Steven Evans, and defenders Bryan Gallego and Pa Modou Kah. Alhassan is eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft. Additionally, the club announced that forward Jose Valencia was sold to Argentina’s Club Olimpo Bahía Blanca, while Evans has signed a contract with T2.

Defenders Rauwshan McKenzie and Danny O’Rourke are out of contract and have not been extended bona fide offers. Both players will be eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft.

On Monday, the league also introduced what the new game ball will look like:



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