It is remarkable how quickly the Portland Timbers have been transformed. We are six games into the 2013 season and what we are seeing on the pitch is so very different than what we have ever seen before. Even with a roster that was blown up and even with a new manager who comes with a new philosophy, the pace of change has been unexpectedly fast.One interesting part of this transformation of club has been the rebirth of the players who are helping to transform. Continue reading
Now that Portland has played a five spot of games we have a pretty good [small] sample size of how things are progressing in Porterland. Through the first, one-seventh of the season I’ve felt it best to look at each match as an individual idea and for my own sanity I’ve followed Caleb Porter’s advice and did my best in blanking out the horrors of previous regimes. I’ve found this way of thinking is the trend among the folks I’ve personally raised pints with this season.
From time to time comparisons do popup within the ranks of the Timbers faithful but for the most part, much trust has been placed in Porter’s hands. To reverse things and see the past as a positive, the modern era Timbers haven’t been a club known for playing technical football, until now. Out, is the manager who preached the dinosaur football we’ve grown up watching. In, is the manager who stresses tactical awareness and has a strong eye for what his players need to be successful.
For me that’s the biggest challenge for the modern manager. Knowing what the players needs are to be successful, and being able to bring that out for the benefit of the team. Obviously it’s early days but it looks like Mr. Caleb Porter has quickly identified how the core of this team works individually for the betterment of the collective. This change in philosophy has already reaped early benefits. We’ve seen the emergence of a strong physical and mental attitude of Rodney Wallace. The benefit to the team was snatching a 90th minute goal to earn a point in Seattle….off the head of RodWall. Legend.
Did I mention the 5mTKO World Empire has increased by one?
It was an unsettling weekend without a Timbers match. Yes, there were some familiar sights:
Lovel gets FacePalmed
1. It’s hard to play well fresh off the plane
It don’t know about you, but whenever I travel on an international flight I am a mess for at least a few days afterwards. Between the free booze, listening to screaming children for 10 hours, and the bad sitcoms that are part of the in-flight entertainment, it takes at least 72 hours to recover.
One can hope that the travel, lack of training, and general unfamiliarity with his surroundings will make Mikael Silvestre’s performance on Sunday a one-off nightmare and not the norm. There is a ton of pressure on the Timbers center backs to perform well. Clearly, the most decorated player on the Timbers roster fell far short of that standard in his debut. As they say, time will tell if he is the right guy for the job. Continue reading
In his brief stint as Portland Timbers manager, Caleb Porter’s job has been to make choices. Does he trade all of John Spencer players for allocation money or bury them in the Willamette River? Does he laugh at his general manager’s eagerness to bring in Belize’s best for a trial or does he placate him? Does he bust out the sweater vest and blazer combination for the AIK match or save it for a nationally televised game?
In some cases he has had choices made for him by circumstance. What to do with Jack Jewsbury’s armband and playing time? Give them away and claim injury as the reason. Who to choose as number one striker, Ryan Johnson or Bright Dike? Put Dike under the knife and watch Johnson net a preseason hat trick to make everyone forget about Dike’s existence. Continue reading
He might not pack the one liners or have the charmingly hard to understand accent or the smartyphone, but this Caleb Porter fellow has a few things going for him that make him a person worthy of a Valentine’s Day card or two placed in his cubbyhole.
For one thing, he makes up for his lack of pizazz with a refreshing degree of candor that aren’t always on display from his bosses. For another, he seems to have an idea about where he sees things going in 2013 and he has a clue about what he needs to get there. Witness his comments following yesterday’s move to acquire Ben Zemanski. Yeah, there is the bit of hyperbole about Zemanski being one of the best midfielders in MLS, but there is also this bit:
Heard when the guys from Dropping Timber stepped outside the Bullpen for a smoke the other night Dropping Frank’s preseason press pass was stolen. Anyone know about this? If anyone in the Timbers Army has seen Dropping Frank’s preseason press pass please return it ASAP. He’s been twittering about it for the past few days now. Apparently Merritt and Gavin aren’t going to replace his preseason press pass.
The 5mTKO HD cameras captured a truly inspired first day of Timbers Training with new coach Caleb “Hey” Porter at the helm. Clearly the boys look focused for this transition from Pre-Season Power to a MLS Cup contending side. RodWallEvenScoresAnOwnGoal. Enjoy!