The Portland Timbers exorcised a lot of demons in their 2015 MLS Cup run. And at their first training session on Saturday morning it was clear that the Greed-and-Gold are still carrying with them a great deal of confidence from their trophy-winning campaign.
But among the foes that remain for this team is one that should have been vanquished long ago: March wins.
On the morning of July 9, Timbers fans were whipped into a frenzy of anticipation, as news started to leak that head coach John Spencer would be fired later that day. That anticipation abruptly turned to, well, something else entirely at about 10am, when Geoffrey C Arnold reported that Gavin Wilkinson would be serving as interim head coach until a replacement could be found.
Video of Jim Curtin's postgame press conference, and locker room interviews with Danny Cruz, Sebastien Le Toux, Zac MacMath, Ethan White and Sheanon Williams. Also postgame quote sheet, including remarks from Jack McInerney.
I came up with this headline all by myself. I am proud of me.
Needing a victory to stay in the thick of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Union delivered Saturday night with a 2-1 victory against a Montreal Impact side they had previously struggled against this season. The victory moved the Union to 5th place in the Eastern Conference and they have now gone unbeaten in their last five matches.
Long time rivals from the lower divisions of soccer meet in Canada this weekend, as the former A-League/USL/USSF D-2 members Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact meet for the third time in MLS history. While the Timbers have some confidence after a home win and some key players returning to health, Montreal is on a four match losing streak and the entire team is trying to find some answers to their troubles.
Sporting KC allowed a goal against the Montreal Impact for the first time this season, but it wasn't enough to keep Kansas City from sweeping the season series last night in Montreal. Sporting KC got a pair of goals from Dom Dwyer, his fourth and fifth against the Impact this year.
Hoo boy. Two teams without wins but with playoff potential. A former managerwho inspires mixed emotions due to his legendary (?) status as a player, but a crap coach. Desperate fan bases that teeteron the verge of optimism and anger.
As we have been harping on for months now, the U.S. Open Cup is D.C. United's last chance to salvage anything on the field this season. The next step towards the final comes tomorrow night against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. But after United's 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact, there are questions at two key positions.
Goalkeeper Troy Perkins offers candid thoughts about how trades affect family members and discusses the Impact's current form. In the second segment, Sports Illustrated and FOX Soccer reporter Grant Wahl calls in to talk hats, Gold Cup and MLS.
Follow @GrantWahl on Twitter | Follow @GrantWahlsHat on Twitter
RELATED: Read Grant Wahl's recent article on Major League Soccer's playoff and regular season schedule.
The Portland Timbers were hosting the Montreal Impact in the hopes to gain some needed points at JELD-WEN Field before traveling in their next two matches. The Impact had other ideas after getting a win in Seattle last weekend, and they scored goals in the 30th and 60th minute to take a two goal lead.
Defender A.J. Soares scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth made a career-high seven saves to notch his second straight shutout as the New England Revolution closed the 2012 season with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo.
Montreal poured on a late onslaught, and Marco DiVaio came close to becoming the latest player to burn Toronto FC with a late goal, but the Italian missed a golden chance late and spared TFC another collapse.
Goalkeeper Freddy Hall made some key late saves to help Toronto salvage a scoreless draw against the Impact at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Portland Timbers were hoping to continue their winning ways on the road against the Montreal Impact, but like in many affairs this season, they fell behind early. After taking the lead before the halftime break, Portland had to rally with a second half goal by Diego Valeri to win 3 to 2 for their second consecutive victory.
Things return to normal this week, as just three teams are on bye, and nobody plays more than once. This round we have a tie at the top of the leaderboard between Futbol5 and Bayern Neverlusen on 118 points. Both teams captained Camilo (VAN, $8.0M), who rewarded them by scoring 50 points on 3 goals and 2 assists.
PORTLAND, Ore.-It has been 390 minutes since the Timbers have conceded a goal in front of the home fans and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is one of the major reasons why Portland is enjoying its best run of form since joining MLS in 2011.
The Jamaican International arrived in Portland last August in exchange for fan favorite Troy Perkins.
The Timbers fell behind by two goals for the second time in seven days but, despite applying pressure to the Montreal defense in the second half, were unable manufacture a repeat of the Season Opener and salvage a point.
I was reading the review of Portland's 2012 season posted on the MLS website and saw they had a look at the Opta stats. In the Opta stats article they had a link to download the Timbers' passing matrix, and so I did. I wanted to show you some observations I found and see what everyone else thought about the matrix.
Donovan Ricketts started his MLS career with the LA Galaxy in 2009. Having spent five years with League 1 side Bradford City, the lanky Jamaican quickly established himself as one of the best keepers in the league, winning the league's Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2010.
But after spending much of 2011 injured and being spelled by the capable Josh Saunders, the LA Galaxy sent him to Montreal in exchange for allocation money.
Joe Bendik was the Timbers' number two keeper for most of the 2012 season and saw the field five times thanks to injuries suffered by Troy Perkins and his upgrade, Donovan Ricketts. Bendik came on as a substitute twice and started three times, allowing eight goals, two of which were penalty kicks, and making eleven saves.
At the beginning of the 2011 season, both the first- and second-string keepers Troy Perkins and Adin Brown picked up injuries and Jake Gleeson, suddenly the team's only healthy keeper, was called on to start a few games early in the season, including the home opener. In that time, Gleeson endeared himself to the fans and made some thoroughly impressive saves.
The 2012 season has been an absolute disaster in just about every way it could have been. Hopes were high at the start of the season because of the relative success of the 2011 campaign, and many of us scoffed at pundits who dared predict the Timbers might finish in sixth place in the Western Conference.
With 87 points, n00bius led all teams in scoring this week. Robbie Keane (LA, $11.0M) was the vice captain and (Mauro Diaz?!) notched 2 goals and an assist for 30 points. Both Erick Torres (CHV, $7.4M) and Javier Morales (RSL, $9.3M) scored 12 points - Torres with 2 goals, and Morales with 1 goal and 1 assist.
Our own Handsome Boys SC scored 75 points to lead the league this round. Nathan Sturgis (COL, $4.7M) captained the side and scored 14 points. His Rapids teammate Dillon Powers ($6.3M) scored a goal and earned an assist to score 12 points. Three other players scored seven points -- Chris Klute (COL, $5.
Week 4 is in the book, and we have a new overall leader in the league, as well as a new addition to the weekly leader list. Allie's Awesome Team scored 77 points, with midfielder Patrice Bernier (MTL, $8.0M) leading scoring with 18 points as captain, followed by defenders Josh Williams (CLB, $5.3M) and Matt Hedges (DAL, $5.
MLS week one is in the books, and we're either patting ourselves on the back or cursing ourselves and sobbing gently in the corner. We begin with a nod to Killer Angels, whose 85 points set the B&RU pace, with the key move being making Graham Zusi the captain, and reaping the benefits with 28 points.
Troy Perkins decides to retire after long pro career, while Wade Webber joins club from Washington Premier FC.
The Seattle Sounders added a pair of former MLS players to their academy coaching ranks on Monday, with Troy Perkins become the goalkeeping coach and Wade Webber becoming the head coach of the U15 team.
Andy Rose and Andy Craven remain out of contract, but have been offered new deals.
There weren't a ton of big surprises as the Seattle Sounders released their updated roster situation on Wednesday. Nine players had their options for 2016 declined, and while there were several notable names the only one who qualifies as anything approaching a big surprise would be Marco Pappa.
MLS returns with a full slate, and four Montreal players lead the charge.
To kick things off we have Bayern Neverlusen leading the way this week with 97 points. Captaining the ship was Montreal's Jack McInerney ($8.2) with 28 points while playing twice, scoring two goals, and should probably get bonus points for scoring what will probably be goal of the year against Houston.
"Perkins, Perkins! Give us a wave!" The loud booming chant by the Timbers Army was heard well enough by Troy Perkins as he wandered over to his net by the Timbers Army. After about 15 seconds, Perkins glanced over his shoulder and gave a small wave... From my view in section 108, I would say that Perkins' wave was almost reluctant.
Troy Perkins, Bryan Namoff, Bobby Boswell (Devon McTavish, 59), Greg Vanney, Marc Burch (Rod Dyachenko, 41), Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez, Clyde Simms, Fred, Luciano Emilio (Nicholas Addlery, 65), Jaime Moreno. These were the D.C. United starters and substitutes that took on the Chicago Fire five years ago tomorrow in what was, until now, the team's last playoff game.