When a manager and general manager go about building a team before the season, low on the list of priorities is concern over who should be the sixth choice center back. At best, a player that far down the depth chart might make the game day 18 on occasion and might get a run or two in a reserves match. Such has been the season of injuries, suspensions, and international absences for the Portland Timbers that the sixth choice center back will be starting on the road on Friday against the team at the top of the table in yet another critical game in a critical stretch of the schedule. It is a fine time to make your first team debut, Rauwshan McKenzie. Continue reading
At the Half……..
So here we are seventeen Portland Timbers matches into the 2013 MLS season. Halfway to, WGWTL [This Year!]
3-3-1 Continue reading
1. Frustration unleashed
Darlington Nagbe and Kalif Alhassan were the only players on the pitch for the Portland Timbers for Wednesday night’s game against the Wilmington Hammerheads who also were on the pitch a year ago for the infamous Cal FC debacle. It is safe to say that the bulk of the players in green and white were not out to avenge past U.S. Open Cup futility, but for those who have suffered in the stands the beat down the Timbers put on Wilmington helped (a bit) to release years of frustration. It couldn’t have been scripted better. An early goal followed by a pile of goals left little doubt about the game’s outcome for the bulk of the evening. The game gave Caleb Porter an opportunity to rest some of his key players and to evaluate some of the guys who have been on the fringe of the starting XI. There were no injuries and Seattle lost, which brings another USOC match against a lower division side to Portland in a couple of weeks. The difference a year makes, and all that jazz. Continue reading
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