The 2014 MLS regular season starts on March 8 when the Portland Timbers host the Philadelphia Union. History from previous Timbers openers should tell us that there should be rain, goals, and smiles from the Timbers Army, but Philadelphia has added some serious pieces to a strong club that would love to leave the Rose City with three points.
In our final season preview entry for Oregonlive.com, we look at the forwards. While the Timbers have a wonderfully talented group of players up top, there are also questions surrounding each one of them. If the answers to those queries turns out positive, there are plenty of opposing goalkeepers that will have sleepless nights facing this bunch.
In part 7 of our 2014 season preview for Oregonlive.com about the Portland Timbers, we look closely at the team's midfield. It was a source of strength in 2013 due to several player changes, and it would appear that 2014 will only add more talent to an already solid group of individuals.
In part 6 of our 2014 season preview for Oregonlive.com, we focus upon the defensive line. The Timbers will return three players from their center back rotation and their regular starters at the defensive wings, but they've added some intriguing pieces that should give them plenty of exciting options to use throughout the year.
For part 5 of Oregonlive.com's 2014 Portland Timbers season preview, we look at the men that guard the goal for the club, the goalkeepers. Portland has seen some of the very best players fill this role for the team over the years, and the 2013 effort from starter Donovan Ricketts was historic for many reasons.
The Portland Timbers introduced two new kits on March 4 at an event for fans in NW Portland's Pure Space venue, but the resulting shirts are really inspired by previous eras of the club in their various leagues before joining MLS in 2011. The team unveiled an updated secondary black/red kit and a new dark green/gold look as their alternate or third kit choice.
The Portland Timbers played their final exhibition match for 2014 to finish up the Rose City Invitational tournament, facing off against their long time rivals from the North, the Vancouver Whitecaps. While the Timbers were able to strike early courtesy of a Will Johnson free kick, they couldn't hold the lead as Vancouver's Sebastian Fernandez tied the score on a penalty kick in the second half.
The Portland Timbers played their first of three matches in the 2014 Rose City Invitational tournament at Providence Park against their old rivals, the San Jose Earthquakes. While the Timbers held significant advantages offensively in terms of possession and chances, they couldn't break down San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch.
The Portland Timbers increased their roster by two on February 11 by agreeing to terms with two of their 2014 Super Draft selections, forward Schillo Tshuma and defender Taylor Peay. Per league and club policies, terms of the individual deals were not disclosed.
The Portland Timbers started team activities officially on January 25 with their first practice of 2014. Considering they played their last competitive match in late November, there wasn't much down time from last year, but the team remained focused on their goals to improve from last season. That won't be easy with what they accomplished in 2013, but to a man, they are ready for whatever challenges present themselves this year.
Sacramento Republic FC officially announced on January 23 that they had reached an affiliation agreement with the Portland Timbers for the 2014 MLS and USL Pro campaigns, which was exciting news for the club. The information was tempered slightly by a development whereby Sacramento will also be an affiliate for San Jose, the closest MLS club to them in proximity.
Major League Soccer held the final two rounds in the 2014 Super Draft via conference call, and the Timbers selected three additional players during the proceedings. With several matches in various competitions and potential Reserve matches to prepare for, some of these names could be key depth players or occasional contributors to a very busy season.
The Portland Timbers went into the January 16 MLS Super Draft hoping to find attacking talent and depth within their roster, and they left after the first two rounds rather excited at their results. The Timbers selected forward Schillo Tshuma, center back Taylor Peay and midfielder Aaron Long, which should add even more speed, creativity and craftiness to an already powerful roster.
After watching several other MLS clubs make various signings and trades to alter their rosters, the Portland Timbers finally announced some long rumored adjustments to their collective of players. Portland said hello to forward Gaston Fernandez, center back Norberto Paparatto and defensive back/Home Grown Player Bryan Gallego while sending forward Jose Valencia on loan for the 2014 season to Club Olimpo.
The Portland Timbers have been expected to announce some long rumored signings forthcoming to bolster the roster, but on January 10, they released word of an unexpected move. Portland signed goalkeeper Andrew Weber to a contract while officially indicating that forward Sebastian Rincon, who has been with the team for the past two seasons, will not return after signing a contract to play in Argentina.
The Portland Timbers officially added Frederic Piquionne to their 2014 roster after he signed a deal with the team on January 7, but the team still has several other rumors floating about regarding player moves. This could be a busy few weeks, especially with Portland having six draft selections in the 2014 MLS Super Draft taking place on January 16.
To finish out a busy week of Timbers news relating to player movement and All-Star Game preparations, Portland announced one final move for the week involving midfielder Sal Zizzo. Zizzo, who has been with the Timbers since 2011 but was out of contract after the 2013 season, was traded to Sporting Kansas City for allocation money.
A flurry of moves altered the Portland Timbers roster significantly. The team started the day by trading Andrew Jean-Baptiste for Jorge Villafana and a switch in spots for the December 12 MLS Re-Entry Draft. They followed it up by exercising the pick for former Seattle Sounders FC forward Steve Zakuani, a former teammate of several current Timbers and a player under Timbers Coach Caleb Porter while he was there.
The Portland Timbers announced their pre-season travel plans on December 11, which includes a two week training camp in Arizona and four matches against varied competition. They will return to Portland to host their annual pre-season tournament, now called the Rose City Invitational, where the Timbers will play San Jose, Vancouver, and Portmore United FC from Jamaica over the week long event.
Days after the MLS Cup has been completed, the business of updating team rosters began with several clubs waiving players, extending contracts or exposing players to the Re-Entry Draft. Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft will take place on Thursday, December 12, where Portland would have pick 17 of 19 in the first round.
The Portland Timbers started the process of determining their 2014 MLS roster by announcing several player moves to add to the 12 players that were already signed for 2014. While nine players will return after their options were picked up, four were not retained while the Timbers continue negotiations with six others to potentially add them to the roster.
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.
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 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.