Timbers season draws to a close

The 2012 campaign featured plenty of drama and a Cascadia Cup
Oct. 27, 2012 / By Mike Donovan,

Portland didn’t get a penalty kick, the Timbers Army screamed their lungs off, rain fell at Jeld-Wen Field and the Timbers gave up the first goal.

So Saturday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes played out like a mini version of their entire 2012 season. And for the third time this season, the San Jose Earthquakes were unable to knock the Timbers, as the teams fought to a 1-1 draw.

Bright Dike’s fifth goal of the season negated Chris Wondolowki’s 27th and Portland was able to end the season on a 6-game home unbeaten streak.

And while the Timbers season was certainly a disappointment, here are five positives Timbers fans can take from the 2012 season.

1. Jeld-Wen Field still has some magic

The Portland Timbers finished the season with just four home losses in their 17 matches at Jeld-Wen. Portland also went undefeated against the two MLS Conference champions at home this season (2-0-1).

2. The Timbers are young

The average age of field players in the Timbers 18 for Saturday’s game was 23.6. Numerous key players for the Timbers future are 25 and under including Franck Songo’o (25), Darlington Nagbe (22), Danny Mwanga (21) and Andrew Jean-Baptiste (20). Bright Dike, who lead the team in goals scored since John Spencer was fired, is also only 25.

3. The play of Steven Smith, Hanyer Mosquera and Songo’o

While Kris Boyd was not the player the Timbers FO had hoped, three new acquisitions had decent years for the club. Mosquera was the team’s best player for the first half of the season, while Smith and Songo’o improved immensely by the end of the season. There is no reason to believe the trio will not be improved in their 2nd MLS season.

4. Ownership that cares

Meritt Paulson cares about in-game officiating, fans and his community, while other MLS owners care about their other pro sports franchises. Timbers fans should be happy to not be owned by the Stan Kroenkes of the world.

5. Cascadia Cup

Trophies not friendlies.


Rankings freeze heats up playoff berths

Football, Volleyball and Soccer begin settling into playoff brackets this week
Oct. 24, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

With October drawing to a close, the high school state playoffs begin to take shape with the rankings developed by the OSAA turning from a constantly moving list to one that's frozen so that playoff qualifiers can be established.

The Class 4A rankings was the first to be frozen following matches on Tuesday night. Rankings for Class 6A and 5A volleyball will be frozen by Saturday night, while those for boys and girls soccer go through Oct. 31 at the latest.

Football rankings will be frozen following games Friday and Saturday.

Rankings for volleyball and football are frozen by Saturday night at the latest, whild boys and girls soccer go through Oct. 31 when Class 5A shuts down.

Once rankings are frozen, playoff brackets begin to form with a play-in round for Class 6A, 5A and 4A schools. Class 3A, 2A and 1A have the number of district representatives established prior to the season and have them placed into a 16-team bracket without a play-in round.

The play-in round for Class 6A involves 22 automatic qualifiers with 10 play-in games to produce a 32-team bracket. The Class 5A and 4A models involve eight automatic qualifiers and eight more that survive the play-in round.

Cross Country teams will have their district meets resolved by Saturday at the latest leading into the state meet at Lane Community College, Nov. 3.

Here's the playoff outline for team sports:


Play-in round matches are set for Oct. 30, while the bracket begins Nov. 3.


Play-in round games are schedule for Nov. 1, while the bracket begins Nov. 6.


Play-in round games are scheduled for Nov. 2, with the bracket beginning on Nov. 9.



Penalty kick only infuses energy into Timbers

Portland responds with the energy of a Cup champion in 1-1 draw
Sept. 29, 2012 / By Mike Donovan,

The ball did not strike David Horst’s arm.

Now that we have that out of the way, the fight of the Portland Timbers in the final 30 minutes cannot be overlooked by Timbers management and fans alike.
When adversity strikes Portland in 2012, they haven’t always been able to pick themselves up off the mat and throw the next punch. That was not the case for the Timbers Saturday against DC United.

After Horst was called for a handball by referee’s assistant Kermit Quisenberry and Chris Pontius blasted in the resulting penalty, the Timbers weren’t necessarily more motivated. But they were definitely pissed off.

“I thought they were more pissed off and annoyed,” interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson said after the match. “They felt they had been hard done by, they felt like they had probably dealt with this enough this season. And their response was a positive one.”

Horst, who was at the center of the controversy, agreed that the call made the Timbers angry.

“If anything it pissed us off even more, got the guys fired up a little bit,” Horst said. “And you saw we didn’t give up at all, we got after them even more and we got the goal back and kept fighting.”

And, while sometimes anger leads to disorganized play that was not the case for Portland. The Timbers dominated possession in the final 30 minutes of the game and threatened DC United’s net more than once.

The breakthrough finally came for the Timbers when Bright Dike blasted the ball over Bill Hamid’s head from a tough angle in the 79th minute.

Captain Jack Jewsbury was happy with the shape the game took after the penalty kick.

“I thought the reaction after that was very good from the group, just press, press, press, until Bright got the goal,” Jewsbury said. “To not put our heads down and continue to fight was good.”
Dike’s goal came after a Steven Smith cross was stopped by DC’s Andy Najar. However, Najar couldn’t clear the ball and Dike shot it home with his left foot.

The Timbers almost had a winner in the 87th minute when Franck Songo’o got his foot on a cross five yards from goal. However, his shot went flying into the Timbers Army and the team had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

It wasn’t just the offense that showed well after the penalty kick. In the 34 minutes that followed the call, DC United did not have a single shot.

Near the end of a trying season, the team still put in the fight of a team battling for a playoff spot.

“They didn’t feel sorry for themselves they responded positively. It just goes to show you a lot about the guys where we’re at this stage of the season,” Wilkinson said.
Despite virtually no chance of making the postseason, Portland still can win a trophy with a point in next week’s Cascadia Cup match at Seattle. Dike thinks tonight might have foreshadowed next week.

“If the boys keep fighting like that, only positive things can come in the future,” Dike said. “Take how we played in the 2nd half and bring it to Seattle.”



Where's 'GW Out Crew' after Colorado loss?

The Timbers might not make the playoffs, but the Cascadia Cup is close
Sept. 6, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

   Imagine if the Portland Timbers had won Wednesday's game in Colorado. 

   At 30 points, with seven games, left, there might actually have been some considerable excitement about the team maybe squeezing into the playoffs, especially with one game left against Vancouver - the team in fifth place.

   And, the winless streak on the road would have been history.

   All gone.

   So the Timbers are back to where they've been all season on the road - seemingly somewhere else.

   General Manager Gavin Wilkinson had some momentum on his side entering the game with those eight points in August, having named an incoming head coach, and sending an inspired line-up onto the field game after game, regardless of the status of Kris Boyd.

   All the grumbling about GW being replaceable, just like anyone else, seemed like an early pounce on the team's savior. Calm down, Armed ones!

   What now?

   What's all that momentum matter without a win?

   So, the GW Out crew has reason to show up in force Sept. 15 when the team returns to Jeld-Wen Field for a crucial Cascadia Cup match against Seattle, a win that would wrap up the Cup for Soccer City USA.

   That's going to be a challenging game for the GW Out crew. On one hand, a Timbers win would be fantastic because it would secure the Cup. On the other hand, a loss would be great fodder for sending GW to another post in the organization, or, perhaps, another organization.

   That's going to be an entertaining game on and off the field, more than usual.


A bright night leads to another win

Dike scores to put Timbers in win column for second-straight game
Aug. 31, 2012

The Portland Timbers have slowly been knocking off targets in the past two weeks - first away goal in weeks, point at home in weeks, then win under coach Gavin Wilkinson.

Friday, a day after the franchise announced it had found a coach, the Timbers pounced on the Colorado Rapids and scored a 1-0 victory at Jeld-Wen Field, giving the team consecutive wins for the first time this season.

Bright Dike directed home a cross from Sal Zisso for the game's lone goal, Zisso having taken a solid pass from Darlington Nagbe. Dike's goal was his second of the season, the first coming Aug. 19 during a loss at New York.

With the three points from the victory, the Timbers moved out of last place in the Western Conference past Colorado. Portland is 7-13-6, 27 points, just ahead of Colorado, which is 8-17-2, 26 points. The teams meet in Denver Wednesday with Portland aiming for its first road win of the season.

Dike's goal came in his third straight start. Kris Boyd, the team's highest paid player and top scorer, played the final two minutes after subbing in for Dike.



Pilots open season with Tar Heels

Portland gets the national power to start 2012 campaign
Aug. 6, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

Following a fantastic performance by alumni in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, the University of Portland women's soccer team opens its season August 17 against one of the top programs in the nation - North Carolina.

Portland, with two NCAA national titles, will play host to the Tar Heels, with 20 NCAA titles.

The match will be the third time the teams have met at Merlo Field, with the Tar Heels having won in 2006 and the teams having tied 0-0 in 2002. North Carolina also beat Portland 2-1 in the 2001 NCAA Tournament semifinals.

In the following week, the Pilots play host to Oregon State and Oregon.

The Pilots, on Sept. 7, also play host to Notre Dame, which has won three titles, as part of their 12-game home schedule.

Portland reached the NCAA Tournament second round before falling to Florida State, 3-1, to end the season at 9-10-2, the first time the program finished under .500 in more than a decade.

The Pilots return seven starters, including defender Taylor Brooke, the lone senior on the roster.

Portland alums Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt have all been key players in the Olympics, with Sinclair and Rapinoe combining for five of the seven goals scored in the epic U.S win over Canada Monday.



Late score salvages another game for Timbers

Nagbe scores in the 82nd minute to tie Toronto 2-2
Aug. 15, 2012

The Portland Timbers opened a two-match road trip with a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC before 18,773 fans at BMO Field on Wednesday. Midfielder Sal Zizzo scored a first-half goal and midfielder Darlington Nagbe delivered a late equalizer to help Portland earn a point on the road.

The Timbers took a 1-0 lead into halftime on Zizzo’s first-career MLS goal. But Toronto FC was able to overturn the deficit early in the second half, as forward Eric Hassli recorded a goal and assist to help the home side score twice inside a six-minute span, to take a 2-1 lead in the 63rd minute. With eight minutes remaining, Nagbe headed home a chipped pass from defender Steven Smith to level the score at 2-2, helping the Timbers pick up their first road points since May 15.

Nagbe scored his career-high fourth goal of the season, Smith logged his second assist of the season, midfielder Eric Alexander recorded his team-high fifth assist and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made four saves in this club debut to help the Timbers (5-12-6, 21pts) end a five-match losing streak on the road.

Hassli’s goal and assist contributed to his first multiple-point performance of the campaign, forward Luis Silva scored his third goal of the season and defender Ashtone Morgan recorded his team-best fifth assist for Toronto FC (5-13-5, 20pts).

The Timbers struck for the opening goal in the 21st minute. A corner kick from the right side by Smith set up defender David Horst for a headed ball back in front of goal. Zizzo has his initial attempt blocked on the goal line by Toronto FC’s Eric Avila, but Zizzo was in position to drive in the rebound, scoring Portland’s first goal on the road since mid April.

Toronto FC pulled level in the 57th minute as Hassli capitalized on a deflected ball in the box to tie the score at 1-1. A free kick by defender Richard Eckersley helped put Silva in position for an open look from the top of the box. Ricketts parried Silva’s shot with an outstretched hand, but the ball fell onto the path of Hassli slashing in on the left post and Hassli converted his first goal as a member of Toronto FC.

Six minutes later, Toronto FC overtook the lead 2-1 on a goal by Silva. Morgan, from deep in the left corner, was able to beat his marker to get off a cross in to Hassli at the near post. Hassli then flicked the ball on in front of goal, where Silva knocked in the go-ahead goal with a sliding effort.

After a close chance in the 70th minute, in which forwards Mike Fucito and Kris Boyd combined for an open look on goal, the Timbers were able to knot the score at 2-2 in the 82nd minute. A throw-in by Smith into the Timbers’ attacking third led to a quick succession of passes between Boyd and Alexander to set up Smith for an open run into the box. Faced with a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, Smith chipped a pass across the goal mouth to an open Nagbe in the right side of the box. Nagbe jumped up and snapped his header into an open net.

The Timbers continue a two-game road trip Sunday as they visit the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena at 4 p.m. (Pacific). The match against New York will be televised live on KPTV, across the Portland Timbers Television Work and in Spanish on EstrellaTV. Live radio broadcasts will be available on 750AM The Game and in Spanish on La Pantera 940AM.

Timbers keep roster shuffling

Chabala goes to DC, team signs international - Ian Hogg
Aug. 9, 2012

The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has acquired New Zealand international defender Ian Hogg and has traded defender Mike Chabala to D.C. United in exchange for a natural first-round pick in the 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft. Per club and league policies, terms of the transactions were not disclosed. Timbers general manager/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made the announcements.

Hogg, 22, recently competed for New Zealand in the London 2012 Olympics and has four caps with the senior New Zealand National Team. Hogg has played six seasons in New Zealand’s first division, the ASB Premiership. He will be added to the roster officially upon receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

“Ian is a young, talented left back with good athleticism and a desire to succeed,” Wilkinson said. “We have signed him through the remainder of the season and look forward to closely evaluating him as we move to next season.”

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Hogg played in all three group-stage matches for the “Oly Whites” at the London 2012 Olympics. He made his senior international debut May 23, scoring a goal in a friendly against El Salvador, and also played in two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers during the OFC Nations Cup in June. Hogg has been a part of the New Zealand National Team system at the U-20 and U-23 levels and also competed in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Hogg began his career at the age of 16 with Hawke’s Bay United during the 2006-07 season. He played the past three seasons (2009-12) for Auckland City FC, helping the club to three consecutive playoff appearances, two FIFA Club World Cup appearances (2009, 2011) and back-to-back O-League titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Hogg was selected as Auckland City’s Young Player of the Year following the 2009-10 campaign, in which he played in 31 matches and scored two goals across all competitions.

Chabala, 28, played in 23 matches (19 starts) and recorded a goal and two assists for the Timbers since joining the club from the Houston Dynamo in a trade July 21, 2011. He played nine games for Portland in 2012. In his career, Chabala has played 70 MLS matches with Houston (2006-11) and Portland, logging 5,154 minutes, two goals and nine assists.

Goal-less streak falls, but winless lives

Portland's season is down to celebrating just scoring to forge a draw
Aug. 5, 2012 / By Mike Donovan,

The Timbers finally were able to put a ball in the back of the net, but Jack Jewsbury’s left-footed rocket was not enough to prevent Portland from failing to win in its sixth straight game.

Playing in the hottest home game this season, the Timbers came out in the same lineup that produced many chances against Chivas USA, but no goals. While Franck Songo’o had a second straight good match, Brent Richards wasn’t a presence like in last Saturday’s match.

Songo’o has been a consistent attacking threat in the last few games for the Timbers. His seven shots were the most by a Timber since they became a MLS franchise. However, none of his shots challenged Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and Songo’o’s streak of not scoring in a league match is now 1,268 days old.

Songo’o’s offensive presence was a much-needed spark for the Timbers, who had some players struggle in the 90-degree heat.

Kris Boyd was nowhere to be found during his 61 minutes on the pitch. Boyd had just four touches during his hour-long stint. And, while his free kick did force a diving save by Hartman, the Timbers will need to see more production to justify his contract, which is five times more than any other Timber.

General Manager/interim coach Gavin Wilkinson blamed the heat for Boyd’s performance.

“Kris played the game in conditions that maybe unsuitable to him,” Wilkinson said. “Maybe we got to do a better job of getting him on the ball and he’s got to do a little better job to find the ball.

“I don’t think the conditions were ideal for Kris today.”

Despite their striker’s poor performance, Portland was still able to get 21 shots off, which is the most this season for the club and second most as an MLS club. Ten of those shots came after Dallas’s Zach Loyd was sent off for a second yellow card.

Loyd was beat on multiple occasions by Songo’o. Loyd’s struggles came hours after his former college teammate Kirk Urso passed away.

Urso, who was in his rookie season with the Columbus Crew, was former college teammates with both Loyd and Dallas starting defender Matt Herges. Urso was honored with a moment of silence before the match.

Jewsbury’s goal was the first for the Timbers in 370 minutes, which is the longest in the MLS this season. Portland now has the first and second longest goal-less streaks in the league this season.

In addition, the 79th-minute goal was the first home game-winning or game-tying goal in the final 15 minutes for Portland as a MLS club. Portland now looks to end its MLS-record 697-minute goal-less streak in away games, as it travels to Toronto on August 15.

The matchup will feature the bottom clubs in each of the MLS’s respective conferences.


Timbers finally occupy the goal, draw 1-1

Jewsbury gets a slice against Dallas to end scoreless streak
Aug. 5, 2012

It might have taken a scortching day to warm up the Portland Timbers, but it finally happened Sunday at Jeld-Wen Field.

Jack Jewsbury powered home a shot in the 79th minute to help Portland forge a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas in 90-degree heat.

The win boosted the Timbers to 5-12-5, 20 points, with their first goal in four games and first point in six contests.

A goal by Dallas forward Scott Sealy in the 51st minute – beautifully assisted by midfielders Brek Shea and David Ferreira – had Dallas in line for their second consecutive victory over Portland before a Zach Loyd red card gave the Timbers a man edge for most of the second half.

After a dour first half that didn’t see much except some rough challenges and one sterling save each from Troy Perkins and Kevin Hartman, things came to life just on the other side of halftime.

After Julian De Guzman fluffed a perfect look two minutes in, Ferreira, Shea and Sealy combined to give the visitors the lead four minutes later. Shea, making his first appearance since July 18, snuck past a flat-footed Portland backline to get onto the end of Ferreira’s perfectly-weighted through ball. He then squared for Sealy, who had a simple tap-in for his second goal of the season.

Less than 60 seconds later, however, FCD were down to 10 men when Loyd was send off for dragging down Portland’s Franck Songo'o, his second yellow of the game. At that point, it became the Kevin Hartman show.

The veteran ‘keeper posted a series of highlight-reel saves in the second half, turning away Songo’o in the 62nd, Bright Dike in the 68th and Danny Mwanga in the 78th minute. But the Timbers continued to press, and Jewsbury was in the right place at the right time to get onto the end of a Hartman punch-out, lacing a left-footed volley that evened the score in the 79th.

The result allowed Dallas to inch ahead of Colorado and into a tie with Chivas USA for sixth place with 26 points from 24 games. FCD host Colorado next Saturday.

Portland remains in the conference cellar with 20 points from 23 games, but snapped their five-game losing streak. They’ll have next weekend off before traveling to Toronto on Aug. 15.

RSS feed