After the dust has settled on the 2013 season, I wanted to recap some of the many highlights from the Portland Timbers campaign. While they fell short of the goal to bring the MLS Cup to the Rose City, they certainly had plenty of positives to rest their laurels on.
We have complete player evaluations for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the 1 to 0 loss to Real Salt Lake that eliminated the Timbers from the 2013 MLS playoffs. We also have marks for the coaching staff and a complete team rating.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to continue their magical run through the 2013 playoffs, but they needed to overcome a two goal deficit Real Salt Lake had created in leg 1 of their two match series. While Portland certainly showed energy and tenacity, they couldn't generate goals that counted while Real Salt Lake took advantage of a defensive gaffe to add to their lead.
With a break in the schedule, we break open the Timbers Mailbag to cover random topics, including some thoughts after leg 1 with RSL, the playoff schedule in general and some news about the 2014 MLS season.
We have complete player evaluations from the Portland Timbers 4 to 2 loss to Real Salt Lake back on November 10 in leg 1 of their two match playoff series. There are ratings for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the match, plus a composite rating for the entire team and coaching staff.
The Portland Timbers had a quick turnaround after defeating Seattle in the Western Conference semi-finals to battle Real Salt Lake in leg 1 of the MLS Western Conference finals on November 10 in Utah. Although Portland took an early lead with a Will Johnson free kick, RSL turned the match around with four consecutive goals to put forth a rather daunting deficit.
The historic 2013 season for the Portland Timbers will have another chapter after the Timbers defeated their Cascadia rivals, Seattle Sounders FC, in the two match MLS Western Conference semi-finals. After beating Seattle 2 to 1 up there on November 2, Portland used first half goals from Will Johnson and Diego Valeri plus a second half header by Futty Danso to jump to a 3 to 0 lead before the Sounders made a late rally to bring it close.
We have complete player evaluations from the Portland Timbers 3 to 2 win over the Seattle Sounders FC on November 7 to advance to the MLS Western Conference finals. There are scores for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the match, plus a composite rating for the team and coaches.
We have complete player evaluations for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the 2 to 1 win over the Seattle Sounders FC on November 3 in Seattle for leg 1 of the MLS playoffs. There is also a composite rating for the coaches and the entire team.
The Portland Timbers might not have much experience in the MLS playoffs, but they certainly turned in an extremely savvy, experienced effort in defeating the Seattle Sounders FC 2 to 1 on November 2 up in Seattle, WA. Forward Ryan Johnson scored in the 15th minute, forward Darlington Nagbe tallied in the 67th minute, and the Timbers defense and Donovan Ricketts held strong until the late stages of the match when Seattle got a late goal from Osvaldo Alonzo.
We have complete player evaluations for the Portland Timbers big win over Chivas USA 5 to 0 to finish the 2013 regular season. We have individual marks for every player that appeared in the match, plus a composite rating for the coaches and team.
History was already made before the Portland Timbers took on Chivas USA to finish the 2013 regular season, as the Timbers had already clinched a postseason berth. However, their travel plans and playoff opponent were still to be determined by the weekend's matches. Portland took a huge step to give themselves control of their playoff future with a resounding 5 to 0 over Chivas USA that gave them the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Portland Timbers don't have complete control of their quest for the Supporters Shield, but with a win against Chivas USA on October 27, they will finish the 2013 MLS season as the top club in the Western Conference which is a huge accomplishment. The Goats, however, have been one of the most difficult clubs for Portland to secure points against especially down in California, but the Timbers have most of their key regulars ready to go to break down that trend before the end of the regular season.
We have complete player evaluations from the Portland Timbers scoreless draw versus Real Salt Lake on October 19 at JELD-WEN Field. We have ratings for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the match in addition to a coach's rating and complete team score.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to keep hold of the top spot in the West with a win against Real Salt Lake, a team they've struggled to defeat over their three years in MLS. With both sides playing a very defensive, measured approach, neither side generated many chances on goal as the teams played to a scoreless draw.
In a rather busy weekend of matches key to playoff positioning, there likely isn't a more important match than the one taking place at JELD-WEN Field: the first place in the West Portland Timbers will host second place Real Salt Lake. Portland has had some issues with matching up against RSL, but the Timbers are optimistic they have the healthy players ready to go to secure victory in this match.
We have complete player evaluations from the Portland Timbers 1 to 0 win over the Seattle Sounders back on October 13 at JELD-WEN Field. The marks include every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the match, a composite rating for the coaches and the entire team.
The Portland Timbers were geared up to face their rivals from Washington state, the Seattle Sounders, in front of a packed house and an ESPN audience. The match didn't disappoint as the Timbers made Kalif Alhassan's first half strike stand up for a huge 1 to 0 victory. The match featured plenty of physical play, outstanding saves, and a second half ejection that could dramatically affect the Sounders' playoff hopes.
The Portland Timbers will be hosting their longtime rivals from Washington on October 13 at JELD-WEN Field as the Seattle Sounders come calling. The match not only has bragging rights within the supporters groups, there are also serious playoff race impacts and the fate of the Cascadia Cup to be decided in this one.
We have complete player evaluations from the Portland Timbers 2 all draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps on October 6 at B.C. Place. There are ratings for every Portland Timbers player that appeared, plus a composite rating for the team and coaches.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to gain some ground within their playoff quest and keep control of the Cascadia Cup as they visited the Vancouver Whitecaps on October 6. They took a first half lead courtesy of Darlington Nagbe, but they couldn't hold the lead despite several outstanding saves by Donovan Ricketts as the teams played to a 2 all draw.
The Portland Timbers have a playoff berth within their sights, but their attention gets a little broader with a trip across the border to visit the Vancouver Whitecaps. Portland would love to defend the Cascadia Cup they currently hold, but with just three points at this juncture they would need a win in order to have any hopes to hold onto it.
We have complete player evaluations for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the 1 to 0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy back on September 29 at home. There is also a rating for the coaches and the overall team effort.
The Portland Timbers hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy on September 29 in front of another sellout crowd at JELD-WEN Field that wasn't deterred by the torrential downpour that struck the area. The Timbers put forth a stellar defensive effort and made Maximiliano Urruti's 51st minute goal stand up for a 1 to 0 victory to keep them in third place in the Western Conference.
The Portland Timbers continue their home stand and playoff push by hosting the Los Angeles Galaxy on September 29 in a nationally televised match that will appear on NBC. With the Timbers sitting in third place in the West and the Galaxy just a point behind in fourth, the match has significant playoff implications for both teams in their quest to qualify for the postseason.
We have full player evaluations for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the Timbers 1 to 0 win over Colorado at JELD-WEN Field on September 19. I've also included an overall rating for the coaches and full team as well.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to fortify their playoff aspirations with the Colorado Rapids visiting JELD-WEN Field. The Rapids came into the match with confidence and sitting in third place in the table, but fell behind when Rodney Wallace took advantage of a defensive error and gave Diego Valeri the chance to score his eight goal of the year.
The Portland Timbers are very much in the playoff hunt, but the recent draw to Chivas USA didn't improve their overall standing. The team is hoping to rebound against Colorado for their third and final meeting of the regular season, but it's not exactly the same Rapids club that the Timbers blew out back in June.
We have complete player evaluations from the Portland Timbers 1 all draw versus Chivas USA on September 14 in Carson, CA at Stub Hub Center, a place where Portland has struggled for points and results. Every Timbers players is rated, including a rating for the coaches and the entire team.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to gain some traction in their search for a playoff berth against Chivas USA on the road. Unfortunately, a lackluster first half and a goal from Bryan de la Fuente put the Timbers in a hole that it took a lot to recover from. Midfielder Diego Valeri came on as a substitute and gave Portland hope with a goal five minutes into the second half, but the Timbers couldn't get any closer as the teams played to a 1 all draw.
The Portland Timbers head out to the road to play Chivas USA, a team they've not seen since May when they blew them out 3 to 0 at home. Since that point, Chivas USA has found some different talent and a new coach, but they're still floating at the bottom of the West standings. It should be an easy Portland win, but road matches are difficult to gain points from, especially for the the Timbers in their history at Stub Hub Center.
The Portland Timbers made another trade announced on September 9, sending fan favorite Bright Dike to Toronto FC for forward Maximiliano Urruti. While Dike has produced several legendary moments in his four years in Portland, his career has been beset by injury although he's recovered from each situation to return to play.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to rebound from their first back to back losses of the 2013 season against Toronto FC, one of the teams floating near the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference. Kalif Alhassan scored a goal in first half stoppage time, but the Timbers exploded for three goals in the final 7 minutes of the match to post a 4 to 0 win in front of another sellout crowd at JELD-WEN Field.
The Portland Timbers have just four losses on the 2013 season, but they've lost their last two matches in a row to cause some concern amongst the faithful. The team gets a golden chance to regain some confidence against Toronto FC, a team dealing with their own issues on the pitch. However, Portland will need to do this against a team that they haven't beaten before while missing several key players due to international duty and injuries.
The Portland Timbers made a couple of roster adjustments prior to their match against Toronto FC on September 7 at home. They traded for San Jose midfielder & defender Brad Ring for a 2014 draft pick while also designating defender Ryan Miller for injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Miller suffered a stress fracture that will require surgery and at least four months' recovery time.
We have complete player evaluations for every Portland Timbers player that appeared in the 4 to 2 loss to Real Salt Lake back on August 30 at Rio Tinto Stadium. I have also included an overall team mark, a rating for the coaches, and a mark for the RSL home support.
The Portland Timbers were hoping for a change in fortune as they traveled to Salt Lake City, UT to battle Real Salt Lake. Unfortunately, the Timbers fell behind by two early goals, then lost midfielder Ben Zemanski to a red card after getting the score to 2 to 1 behind a Darlington Nagbe goal. RSL scored two more goals in the second half, but the Timbers got it close with a late goal by Sal Zizzo in a 4 to 2 loss at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Portland finishes up a brutal stretch of matches for August with their final road trip of the 2013 regular season that will take them out of the Pacific Time Zone - a date with Real Salt Lake on August 30. After having battled them twice this month in Open Cup and league play, it's evident both teams play a very similar style.