Timbers respond again, score in Dallas

Nagbe's goal give Portland a 1-all tie and point on the road
March 17, 2012

Portland took another step toward its goal of reaching the MLS Playoffs by rallying for 1-all tie at FC Dallas Saturday.

Darlington Nagbe scored in the 51st minute after a bad pass by the Dallas defense to knot the score after the Timbers had given up a goal in the first half.

Nagbe's goal brought Portland back from a goal down for the second straight week. The Timbers trailed Philadelphia in their opener before scoring 3 goals in the second half for a 3-1 win.

The Timbers and Dallas both left the field at 1-0-1, 4 points.

Portland plays at New England, which lost 3-0 to Sporting KC earlier in the day, on Saturday.

Dallas carried the action to the Timbers until finally scoring in the 22nd minute, when a cross from Carlos Rodriguez found Bryan Levya on the right side of the Timbers box. Leyva, making the first appearance of his MLS career, put in a hard shot on Timbers 'keeper Troy Perkins that was brushed away only to find a wide-open Blas Perez waiting to put in the rebound for his first career score.

Live video by Ustream

Portland picked up its play directly after the goal and had a free kick by captain Jack Jewsbury in the 36th minute hit the post off a header from Lovel Palmer.

Kris Boyd had a hard, point black shot hit the post as well.

Dallas led the game stats in corner kicks with seven, while Portland managed just three, all in the final 20 minutes.

The game featured only one offsides call.


Soccer City pounds brothers from Philly, 3-1

Boyd scores on a night of firsts for the Timbers in MLS regular season opener
March 12, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

In the opening match of their second MLS campaign, the Portland Timbers used a series of firsts to defeat the Philadelphia Union, 3-1, on a soaking wet night at Jeld-Wen Field. 

Kris Boyd and Andrew Jean-Baptiste scored on their MLS debuts, while Kalif Alhassan scored in his first MLS goal and first regular season goal ever in Portland to lead the way for the Timbers. The club also won after conceding the first goal, something it was unable to do in 17 chances in 2011.

After a scoreless and sometimes slow-paced first half, the Union were the ones to get on the score sheet first when a Gabriel Gomez free kick found the back of the net after a deflection by Jean-Baptiste. While officially a Gomez goal, even Jean-Baptiste admitted after the match he was the one who put it in.

“We all make mistakes. Every defender who has played has scored an own goal,” Jean-Baptiste said after the match. “After that, I tried to get the team back in the game.”

And Jean-Baptiste did just that by putting in a Jack Jewsbury free kick with a little help from a floundering Zac MacMath. Jean-Baptiste, who was drafted 10th overall by the Timbers in this season’s MLS draft, was only making the start after Hanyer Mosquera was unable to secure his International Transfer Certificate before the match.

After Jean-Baptiste goal, it was all Timbers. Boyd found the net 12 minutes after Jean-Baptiste’s goal, when Alhassan served up a beautiful cross to the Scotsman. All MacMath could do was watch as Boyd’s header went across his body and into the net.

Boyd’s goal gave the Timbers a quick return on their multi-million dollar investment. Coach John Spencer said postmatch that he hoped Boyd will be able to “build a house with his log slices” and Boyd will become a legend in Portland.

Alhassan’s first ever MLS goal sealed the win for Portland, as his cross found the inside of the net as a helpless MacMath could do nothing to stop the ball from going in. Alhassan had a second half to remember with a goal, an assist, and with multiple plays where he dribbled through the union defense.

While the Timbers played exceptional in the second 45, the first half saw few chances for either team. The best chance was an Eric Alexander chip that was deflected just wide by MacMath.

Portland started the match with numerous potential starters out due to injury or contract issues with Franck Songo’o, Futty Danso, Sal Zizzo, and Hanyer Mosquera all left out of the 18-man gameday roster.

My men of the match were Jean-Baptiste, who looked strong at the back despite his one mistake and Boyd, who showed Monday why he was brought to Portland.

Portland was 0-13-4 after conceding the first goal in a game last season. Jack Jewsbury’s two assists tie him for the league lead with Blas Perez of Dallas and Colorado’s Kosuke Kimura. Western Conference teams were 5-1 versus Eastern Conference teams during the first week of MLS play

The Timbers take on FC Dallas Saturday at Pizza Hut Park at 5:30 Pacific time. 

For coverage of every game, check out OregonSports.com and twitter.com/TheMikeDonovan.

Don’t forget that OregonSports will be broadcasting its new web series, No Pity City, every Tuesday night at 8:30 P.M. live from the Bulldog Tavern.

Countdown to opener begins with rain

Timbers players get into groove for Monday's game with Philly
March 10, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

With the Major League Soccer season set to begin in Portland on Monday, the weather at Jeld-Wen Field shifted to remind those involved with the team about the team's opener last season.

"Yes, I remember that pretty good," Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury said following a light workout. "You don't get to play in weather like that too often."

Portland beat Chicago 4-2 in a constant rain on April 14, a game that started the team toward a playoff run that came up just short in the final two weeks. Along the way, the Timbers fanned the flames of the community's passion for the game and will face Philadelphia Monday at 6:30 p.m. with the goal of playing into the playoffs and beyond.

Several international additions, most notably Kris Boyd from Scotland, have bolstered the roster as the team's second season readies to start.


Timbers rally for another draw, 1-1

Kawulok nets first goal as Portland hangs with Chivas USA
March 1, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Portland coach John Spencer got a good look at most of the players either looking for a roster spot or consistent playing time Thursday night, and they were able to rally in the second half for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA before 15,195 fans at Jeld-Wen Field.

Ryan Kawulok scored in the 78th minute to match a first-half score by Chivas and the Timbers finished with their second draw of the preseason tournament, three days after a 1-1 tie with San Jose.

Spencer suited up a line-up full of players from last season's U23 squad as well as unsigned players led by forward Sebastian Rincon. The unit applied consistent pressure, but few serious scoring opportunities until Kawulok found the net off a corner by Kalif Alhassan, who entered as a second-half sub.

"He did well with the goal," Spencer said of Kawulok.  "That's why we signed him. He's ready to play in the first team right now." 

Portland plays its final preseason game Sunday against Sweden's AIK.


There's no pity if you're not creative

Oregonsports.com begins its foray into soccer coverage with "No Pity City"
Feb. 7, 2012

As the media world continues to move forward technologically pretty much every day, it's bringing the wide world of television continually closer to the average person.

In the past, one needed a bundle of cameras, operators, video editing bays and people to produce all the material in front of and behind those cameras.

It's a helluva task to produce a television show, especially a live show.

And, that's what we're delving into at oregonsports.com, live television. It's not television, because there's no station call letters or the FCC involved, but it's the worldwide web version of TV, we're using Ustream.

Thursday, the staff oregonsports.com will produce its pilot episode of "No Pity City," which will focus on soccer in Portland, especially the Timbers, their players, coaches, games and fans.

The premiere episode is set for live viewing at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, with filming taking place at the Bulldog Tavern in Southwest Portland.

Viewers can follow the show and contribute through the chat room that will be active during the show. Publisher Cliff Pfenning and Timbers beat writer Mike Donovan will serve as co-hosts of the show, which is being presented by the Bulldog Tavern and the Vanport Batting Cages.

Viewers can watch the live show from this page.

Live video from your Android device on Ustream

Cascadia Scouting: Caps and Sounders Open Preseason

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 5:16pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

The Timbers' 2012 preseason officially opens on Tuesday, when we face the LA Galaxy down in Carson. The long dark offseason is finally over, and we who spend our waking hours obsessing over this team can finally have some new information to chew on about the team that will carry our hopes in 2012.

Down in Casa Grande, Arizona, though, the other two teams contesting the Cascadia Cup this season faced off Monday in what surprised no one in being a relatively rough, unfriendly preseason matchup. 9 yellow cards and 1 red (now meaningless because it was just a friendly) were the result, as well as a possible injury to Mike Fucito from a bad tackle in the first period. Let's have a look at the teams that we will be playing 18% of our MLS matches against this season, not to mention the Cascadia Cup.

Since the game was divided into three periods with completely different rosters, I'm going to treat it almost like three different games. This is cobbled together from several different live reports, but hopefully it gives some idea of what our two Northwest rivals are up to down there:



Full time score: Sounders 0-1 Whitecaps

Goals: Camilo 1' for Vancouver


Sounders: Michael Gspurning; Adam Johansson, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez; Fredy Montero, Mike Fucito (Roger Levesque 29').

Whitecaps: Joe Cannon; Alain Rochat, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Young-Pyo Lee; Camilo, John Thorrington, Jun Marques Davidson, Atiba Harris; Sebastien Le Toux, Eric Hassli

Cards: YC Atiba Harris (4'), YC Martin Bonjour (14'), YC Jeff Parke (20')

Since each team played their best XI for the first 45-minute period and then subbed them all out for the second, that first period is going to be the most useful for looking at both the Sounders and Whitecaps. In particular, the attacking trio of Camilo, Le Toux and Hassli is going to make up a huge proportion of Vancouver's goals this season. It wasn't new-boy (and former Sounder) Le Toux but last season's hero Camilo who opened the scoring after just 35 seconds. 

The story of the first half, aside from Camilo's super-early goal, was the rough play from Vancouver. Sounders fans across the web were complaining almost from the start, and it seems not without reason. Two early cards and a barrage of fouls after that show that the Vancouver back line and midfield are very much in preseason form. They weren't exactly clean themselves, with Parke earning a yellow as well. The Sounders had the better of the possession, but were unable to create much from it. Bonjour's high tackle on Fucito was the only really worrying one. Fucito was taken out and replaced by Levesque about 15 minutes after the hit. His leg was taped up heavily and told SoundersFC.com's liveblogger that he had never been fouled that hard before. At time of writing this, there was no further update.



Full time score: Sounders 1-0 Whitecaps

Goals: Carrasco 3' for Seattle


Sounders: Andrew Weber; Wes Feighner, Zach Scott, Andrew Duran, Marc Burch; Mike Seamon, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Lamar Neagle; Sammy Ochoa, David Estrada.

Whitecaps: Brad Knighton, Jordan Harvey, Carlyle Mitchell, Michael Boxall, Greg Klazura; Darren Mattocks, Floyd Franks, Gershon Koffie, Lee Nguyen; Davide Chiumiento, Omar Salgado.

Cards: YC Ochoa (29')

The battle of the backups was noticeably less chippy than that of the starters. Once again, it didn't take long to see a goal, with Carrasco opening the Sounders' preseason tally in only the third minute. Things were pretty quiet and even from there on, with both sides holding possession and creating chances, but neither breaking through. 



Full time score: Sounders 0-0 Whitecaps


Sounders: Bryan Meredith; Amadou Sanyang, Tim Pontius, Harlinton Gutierres, Ever Alvarado; Cordell Cato, Andrew Vanzie, Alex Caskey, Jason Banton; Roger Levesque, Babayele Sodade.

Whitecaps: Andrew Fontein; Russell Teibert, Bilal Duckett, Mitchell, Chris Estridge; Long Tan, Floyd Franks (Bryce Alderson 16'), Patrick Cregg, Michael Nanchoff; Matt Watson, Darren Mattocks (Caleb Clarke 16').

Cards: YC Caskey (4'), YC Vanzie (11'), YC Patrick Cregg (20'), RC Banton (28'), YC Gutierres (30')

The Sounders again replaced the entire side for a third period, this one 30 rather than 45 minutes. Vancouver, however, left Franks and Mattocks on for an additional 16 minutes. This time, it was the Sounders who came out a bit more physically, earning (completely meaningless) yellow cards for Caskey, Vanzie, and later Gutierres. No early goal in this one, and in fact neither side seemed particularly eager to put a move together. For such a physical set of matches, and one that may have even produced a significant knock on one player, it took all but two minutes of the day for a player to see red, and for all the bitching and moaning from Seattle fans, it was their own Jason Banton who was sent off for a two-footed tackle. No score in this one.


What a difference a day makes

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 2:05pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

Three player moves in 24 hours have completely changed the Timbers’ season opener, not to mention their 2012 season.

When the Timbers kick off their MLS season at home against the Philadelphia Union on March 12th, they will be carrying much heavier expectations than they did a year ago. Most Timbers fans were reasonably pleased with a freshman season in MLS that saw us competing for the playoffs until the very last matchday, but now we expect a playoff appearance.

When we all turned off our Twitter and went to bed Saturday night, there was reason to worry that the season opener, and indeed the 2012 season, would present some real obstacles to that playoff dream. Our newest striker, Jose Adolfo Valencia, had missed several practices and a mysterious “red flag” had been raised in his physicals. On the other side, the man who completely defined Philadelphia’s offense for the past two seasons, Sebastian Le Toux, looked to be settling for another season in MLS rather than moving off to Bolton in the Premier League.

How things have changed in the last day.

First and foremost, the Timbers have signed Kris Boyd. The Scotsman who holds the all-time scoring record in the Scottish Premier League is certainly the biggest signing in Timbers franchise history, and I think has to be considered in the top five signings in MLS history as a whole.

Then, Sebastian Le Toux was traded to Vancouver. On a season-long basis, that may be a negative for us, since we face him three times with the Whitecaps rather than once with the Union, but it certainly declaws our opening match opponents. Le Toux was responsible, in either scoring or assisting, for 57% of the Union’s goals over the past two seasons.

Then, in another blow to the Sons of Ben, Philly’s 2011 starting keeper Faryd Mondragon announced that he has come to terms with the Union to return to his native Colombia and play for Deportivo Cali, his first professional team. Last season, Mondragon started 29 games for Philly, and was tied for the second-lowest goals against average among active starting keepers. Zach MacMath is a very talented keeper, but give me a seasoned vet in goal over a gifted youngster any day.

So in the last day, we have an explosive new striker, and the Union have lost their most important offensive player and one of the best keepers in the league. If the noise from the crowd wasn’t going to give us the advantage on March 12th, these moves certainly do.


Spencer has plenty of wisdom to pass to Boyd

Portland coach heads list of Scotland's top MLS players
Feb. 1, 2012 / By Mike Donovan, oregonsports.com

This offseason has seen the Portland Timbers sign Scotsman Kris Boyd to a lucrative contract, while the Montreal Impact selected Scotish-born Calum Mallace in the second round of the MLS draft.

Mallace and Boyd are trying to follow in the footsteps of 11 other Scottish players who have played in at least one MLS league match. The previous make up a list of both champions and busts.

Here is a ranking, in order from best to worst, of every Scottish player in MLS history based on their performance in the U.S.  

1. John Spencer – Colorado (2001–04)

The current Timber head coach made 88 appearances for the Rapids and finished his MLS career with 37 goals and 17 assists. Has the most goals and best scoring ratio (1 goal per 2.4 appearances) of any Scot in MLS history. He is also the only Scot to be named to multiple MLS Best XI teams.  His 14 goals in 2001 were the good for third most in the MLS, as were his 14 in 2003.

2. Mo Johnston – Kansas City (1996–2001)

Johnston made 149 regular season appearances for the Kansas City Wizards, scoring 31 times for the club. He also played in 15 playoff games including the 2000 MLS Cup. Well respected by teammates and loved by fans, Johnston was the first player to hold the 2000 MLS Cup trophy after he helped KC beat the Chicago Fire, 1-0. Johnston has the most appearances and assists (28) of any Scottish player in MLS history.

3. Richard Gough – Kansas City, San Jose (1997–98)

A defender, Gough played 36 games in two seasons in the MLS. The former captain of the Scottish national team scored twice in MLS career, both for San Jose. After his 1997 season with Kansas City, he became the first Scot to be named to the MLS Best XI and is just one of two Scots to ever be named to the MLS Best XI. In 1997, he played alongside fellow Johnston, marking the only time in MLS history that a team played two Scots at the same time.

4. Paul Dalglish – Houston (2006–07)

The son of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, Paul played in just 11 regular season games and four postseason games over his two MLS seasons in Houston. The striker scored four goals total, two of which were in the regular season. He is most remembered for his two-goal performance in the 2006 Western Conference Finals against the Colorado Rapids for which he was named Man of the Match. He won the MLS Cup in both his seasons in the MLS. 

5. Adam Moffat – Columbus, Portland, Houston (2007)

Moffat’s MLS career has been injury-riddled and full of ups-and-downs. A successful 2010 season with Columbus and a great end-of-2011 with Houston sandwiched a subpar stint with Portland. To date, Moffat has played in 61 games in his five MLS seasons and scored seven goals. His two goals last season were both named MLS Goals of the Week. He was also named Dynamo Newcomer of the Year, despite playing just 13 games with the club. Is expected to start in central midfield this season for the Dynamo.

6. Jamie Smith – Colorado (2009)

The current Rapid has seen time in 46 regular season matches for the club, scoring four times, while assisting on 13 other goals. Started in Colorado’s 2010 MLS Cup victory in the central midfield. Became third Scot to win MLS cup. His goal in the 2011 season opener against the Timbers was nominated for MLS Goal of the Week. In both 2009 and 2011, Smith’s season was cut short by a knee injury. Smith is still recovering from a torn ACL and hope to return to the pitch this June. 

7. Thomas “Tam” McManus – Colorado (2008)

In his one season in Colorado, McManus appeared in 22 league matches, making 15 starts. His five goals in 2008 were the third most for the Rapids. McManus is most remembered for his long distance goal against Chivas USA, which was named MLS goal of the week and one of the ten best MLS goals in 2008. After 2008, McManus and the Rapids could not agree on a new contract and McManus signed with Irish club Derry City.

8. Kenny Deuchar – Salt Lake (2008)

Deucher played in 29 regular season games in his one season with Real Salt Lake before returning to Scotland. The striker also played one minute in one postseason game for the club. He scored 3 goals and had two assists while making 18 starts for the club, which made its first trip to the postseason. One of the few professional soccer players ever to have been a practicing doctor while playing, Deuchar could never match his scoring rate that he had with previous club in Scotland, where he scored 63 times in 93 games for Gretna.

9. Jamie Clark – San Jose (1999–2000)

The only Scottish MLS player who attended college in the United States, Clark was drafted by the San Jose Clash in the 2nd round with the 21st overall pick. The defender played 34 games for San Jose, getting 27 starts. He scored two goals in the MLS including a late equalizer in his second professional game. Also added two assists in the MLS. His official biography on the University of Washington’s web site (where he is now the head coach) describes his MLS career as “disappointing and injury-filled.”

10. Kevin Souter – Kansas City (2008-09)

Souter made just eight appearances in two seasons with Kansas City. He was signed to the Wizards after appearing at an open tryout for the club. The midfielder scored his one and only MLS goal in a 2-0 victory over Toronto. After the MLS, Souter became a player-coach for Ryerson University in Toronto.

11. Peter Canero – New York (2006)

Canero played just 278 minutes played in nine appearances with the Metros. He had zero goals or assists and ended his MLS career with as many yellow cards as shots on goal (1). Despite being known as a player who could play multiple positions, he was beat out by Seth Stammler, Carlos Mendes & Jeff Parke.  He is easily Scotland’s most monumental MLS bust due to his cost of $142,996 and his lack of production.


Manning, Madonna, Boyd, and Gatorade, too

SPORTSLAND 86 delves into the issues of the day, including prop bets
Jan. 31, 2012

It's the week before the Superbowl, and the Sportsland, Oregon has the preview episode that covers all the bases, from predictions to prop bets.

The cast starts off discussing the Timbers' new addition, Kris Boyd, the all-time leading goal scorer in the Scottish Premier League. What's his move to the Timbers mean for soccer in the Northwest?

From one local professional team they move on to the other, breaking down the Blazers' inconsistencies over the past week and assessing how bad Nick Batum's knee injury may turn out to be after another road loss.

Then, after some basketball Civil War talk and Signing Day thoughts, it's finally time for Superbowl predictions.  The guys give their thoughts on who the winners and losers will be, then break down their favorite prop bets, including the length of the National Anthem and what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach.  

All that, plus the usual segments, including What Plucks My Duck and What Makes Your Beaver Eager, all of it recorded at Portland's Blitz in the Pearl Restaurant.



Cooper dealt to New York in draft day deal

The well-paid striker struggled to make good on his promise
Jan. 11, 2012 / By Mike Donovan

Less than one year after it began, Kenny Cooper’s stint with the Portland Timbers came to an end Thursday, as he was traded to the New York Red Bulls for allocation money and a first round pick in the 2013 draft. Cooper’s name will live in the Timbers record books much longer than his 360-day career with the club.

When Cooper was introduced as a Timber last February, head coach John Spencer said he was “one of the top young American players in the game today,” and that “he's a massive asset to this football club.” Yet his career in Portland was one that had a few highs, some lows, and a middling inconsistency that left Timbers fans yearning for more production from the 6-foot-3 former American International.

Cooper, who along with Troy Perkins had the highest salary of any Timber, started his Timbers career with a bang when he scored the first goal for the MLS Timbers in their 3-1 opening day loss to the Colorado Rapids. His 30-yard free kick rocket seemed to bode well for the future, however, it would be the only time Cooper would score a free kick goal for Portland.

The major turning point in Cooper’s stay in the Rose City happened May 29, when he yelled at coach Spencer, after the coach tried to replace him as penalty kick taker with captain Jack Jewsbury. Spencer immediately pulled the hulking striker off the pitch for the final 21 minutes of the match.

Following the match, Cooper was remorseful while teammates and coaches vowed that the incident was behind them. But Cooper struggled mightily on the field and had seemed to have lost his way. He went the next 10 games without a goal and lost his starting spot.

Throughout his summer slump, coaches praised his work ethic and form in practice. Practice form does not make fans nor ownership content, however, goals from their prized striker do. Trade rumors swirled and fans began to jeer him when he was brought into matches.

Eventually, Cooper regained some of his lost mojo. He found himself back as a starter for the LA Galaxy game after Eddie Johnson sustained a concussion during pregame warmups. He played a key role in Jorge Perlaza’s goal in the 3-0 victory over the eventual MLS Cup champs.

The following match, he ended his drought with a goal during the club’s 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. By the time the season ended, Cooper was back in form with four goals in the club’s final seven matches. In fact, he finished the Timbers first MLS campaign as their leading scorer.

It's fitting that despite leading his team in goals, Cooper will always be remembered as someone who didn’t quite live up to hype. Seemingly everything about him in 2011 was a dichotomy.

He looked like one of the most intimidating players in the league, but most of the time he played passively. He was hyped as a goal-scoring attacker, but seemed to prefer to be with the ball at his feet on the wings away from the goalmouth. He was the only Timber to play every MLS game, but is more remembered for getting benched.

In a time when many athletes are perceived to incessantly want the spotlight on them, Cooper went the other way.  He was always one to credit coaches and his teammates, but never to hype up himself. He didn’t quite fit the role of the big-time, in-your-face, aggressive goal scorer.

Now, he's headed to New York.

It makes sense that Cooper was shipped out of town on the same day as the MLS draft occurred. The spotlight around the league will be shining on many young and confident future stars waiting to make an impact.

No matter what happens in the future, Cooper will always have his name first in the Timbers MLS goal register. Not bad for the most enigmatic player of the Timbers inaugural season.





RSS feed