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.