Tag Archives: Portland Timbers

Revolution Home Again: Three Points to Stopping Portland Timbers

By Kevin Koczwara

The New England Revolution opened the season with two games on the road and two losses. It’s not the kind of beginning Jay Heaps hoped for when he took the job as the team’s coach.

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Local derbies key to league success


Major League Soccer needs to embrace and promote rivalries for the future of the league.

By Michael King

During the past two weekends of MLS action, we’ve seen the best of what the league offers in terms of rivalries. A match between Chivas USA and the Los Angles Galaxy on Saturday, as well as the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders last weekend, demonstrated the sport’s potential for creating consistently exciting matches between the same two teams.

These games featured an intensity and competitive flair that is not often felt in a typical regular season game. It’s not difficult to reason why ESPN chose these matches to feature in its ‘Game of the Week’ coverage. Clearly these matches were special for both the fans and players.

As Major League Soccer continues to expand and establish itself as a popular sports league, the development of such rivalries is critical to its growth.

The other major American sports thrive on their long-established rivalries through the associated increased media coverage and fan interest. It’s evident that interest peaks in baseball when the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees compete, especially in the playoffs.

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Versatile Jewsbury eyes leadership role with Timbers

Jack Jewsbury (left) tackles New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares (right) during Saturday's 1-1 draw. (Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net)

By Michael King

The goal for the Portland Timbers in 2011 is to solidify themselves as a legitimate Major League Soccer team. Though not a true expansion team, Portland enjoyed success as a member of the USL. However, the Timbers have a long way to go to make their impact in MLS.

The team kept some of its USL players, but built its core squad from a combination of the MLS Expansion Draft, Superdraft, and various trades. The resultant team is light on defense and heavy on quick, offensive-minded players. The Timbers play a unique style of attacking soccer that involves limited attention to defending their own goal. Portland is less concerned with maintaining its defensive form than with getting forward and keeping the ball in the offensive third.

However, in order to play that type of soccer successfully, a team needs a versatile midfield, equally capable of leading the offense and stifling counter-attacks. For the Timbers, that midfield core lies around Jack Jewsbury.

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MLS 2011 Season Preview: Western Conference

Major League Soccer's Western Conference outshone the East last season, look for it to do the same this year as many of the teams only got better. (Courtesy Major League Soccer)

By Kevin Koczwara

There’s no disputing that the Western Conference was the better than the East last year. The two MLS Cup finalist teams, FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids, were both from the West and so was the top two teams in the regular season, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake. The West had six of the best eight teams in the league last year. This year looks no different. In fact, many of the teams out west have improved this offseason.

There is a major shake-up in the west though. With the addition of teams in Portland and Vancouver, the Western Conference has a true rivalry in the works in the Northwest and potentially two teams looking to follow the Seattle Sounders’s model and come out swinging from the first whistle, upsetting the established balance.

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Timbers fans excited for first MLS season

By Kevin Koczwara

Ben Anderson, 26, and John Holden, 24, support one of Major League Soccer’s newest teams, the Portland Timbers. Both Anderson and Holden were supporting the team they love at the MLS SuperDraft.

The Timbers were the first team Holden saw play in the U.S. and he hasn’t stopped supporting the team since.  “The Timbers’ game was far and away the best experience I’ve had at a soccer game, and from there it [his love for the team] snowballed,” said Holden.

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Kevin Koczwara can be reached at Kevin.Koczwara@thesoccerguysonline.com.

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Time to get on board with Timbers and Whitecaps fans

The Portland Timbers' fans have already stamped their claim on the battle for the Northwest. Already, the club has sold 10,000 season tickets. (Courtesy Portland Timbers/Michael Stringfield)

By Ryan Fleming

Two new teams are coming into the MLS this year, the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps. That we know. What we don’t know is how successful Canada Part Deux will be. Toronto FC, the league’s first Canadian team, has an enormous following, something I experienced first hand when I went down for the MLS Final. They have supporter bars and clubs that emphasize how much our neighbors to the North really appreciate their team. The rest of the country should take notice.

The MLS decided to give it another go by giving the Whitecaps a gateway into the MLS.

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MLS Unprotected Players List for Expansion Draft

Jay DeMerit signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps after enjoying a successful World Cup with the U.S. men's national team in South Africa. He was not offered a new contract with his former club, Watford, this year. Courtesy Vancouver Whitecaps

Posted By Kevin Koczwara

The Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps have already made some moves to shape their squads. The Whitecaps signed U.S. men’s national team player Jay DeMerit as its top-defender and brand name player. The Timbers have already traded for New York Red Bulls defender Jeremy Hall for a third round MLS Super Draft pick.

The the 2011 Major League Soccer  expansion teams have sured up their defense with two quality players. DeMerit, a strong leader who recently captained Watford of the English Championship – England’s second division, will give the Whitecaps a rock solid, no nonsense center back in a tough league. The Timbers went after Hall – a young and promising defender that the Red Bulls were more than likely going to lose in the draft anyways – to give them a quick and promising talent to build on.

Next is the expansion draft for the latest additions to the MLS. Portland and Vancouver will have a chance to draft players from the existing clubs in the MLS in an expansion draft to sure up their line-ups. Each team in the MLS can protect up to 11 players on its rosters from the draft. Three of the protected players must be international players and Generation Adidas and homegrown players are already protected and do not have to put on the list. Once a team has a player selected it can protect another player from the draft. No team can have more than two players selected.

Here are the unprotected players lists for each team:

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Donovan Saga Illustrates Issues in U.S. Soccer

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has made sure Landon Donovan has not been allowed to move to one of Europe's top leagues because of Donovan's importance to MLS and its success. Courtesy Jose Argueta - MLS Soccer

By Joe Meloni

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber made it clear this week that Los Angeles Galaxy captain Landon Donovan will play for the MLS side this season. Given the current popularity of Donovan and the Beautiful Game in the United States, Garber’s refusal is the right decision for the league and the game.

When European clubs came calling about Donovan in the past, Garber’s outright refusal to let the league’s talisman walk, bordered on selfish. His latest decision, while still selfish, just isn’t as important as the first few. Donovan’s performance in the World Cup was inspired, and, paired with successful loan spell with Premiership side Everton this year, silenced most of his primary critics around the world. Still, at 28, Donovan is quickly approaching his final few years of relevance. And by the time the next World Cup rolls around, he’ll likely be a shadow of his current self.

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