Portland Timbers

Goals from Diego Valeri, Andy Polo edge Timbers over Whitecaps

Goals from Diego Valeri, Andy Polo edge Timbers over Whitecaps

It’s just the preseason, but every win the Portland Timbers can get over their Cascadia foes, the Vancouver Whitecaps, is a confidence builder. 

Portland, playing the first of three preseason matches in the Timbers Preseason Tournament, emerged victorious in a rivalry match against Vancouver on Sunday in front of a crowd of 13,882 at Providence Park. Diego Valeri and Andy Polo notched goals in the 2-1 victory to help the Timbers improve to 4-0 leading up to their March 1 season opener.

In the 34th minute, Felipe Mora was was pulled down on the edge of the six-yard box. Valeri stepped to the box, hammering in a shot to the upper left corner and converted the penalty kick for the Timbers first goal at Providence Park this season. All Hail Valeri, who now has the most preseason goals of any Timbers player with 10 goals. 

Less than 20 seconds into the second half, Polo, via a pass from Valeri, had the go-ahead goal from the near right edge of the box to give Portland its second goal of the match and 2-1 lead over Vancouver.

This was Polo’s first goal of the 2020 preseason and third in three-consecutive preseason matchups.  

The Timbers are now 4-0-0 in the 2020 preseason with a game against Minnesota United FC up next Wednesday, Feb. 19. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Providence Park. 

Portland has been amazing not just for Diego Valeri, but also for his daughter

Portland has been amazing not just for Diego Valeri, but also for his daughter

Portland Timbers midfielder. 2015 MLS Champion. 2015 MLS Cup MVP. MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2013. MLS MVP in 2017. Four-time MLS All-Star selection. 

Husband and father.

When Diego Valeri signed with a club in the United States back in 2013, the 34-year-old footballer from Argentina knew this was going to be a huge decision for not just himself but for his family. Since then, he has made quite the name for himself not just in Portland, Oregon, but in the MLS.

But the importance of family still remains at the forefront of his decisions.

Valeri speaks out about his relationship with his daughter.

She’s my one and only and we have a great relationship and everyday she surprises me. She’s growing up a lot, so fast. We talk a lot about our situation as a family. It’s really hard, athletes and soccer. The dynamic of changes, of decisions, it’s not easy… We’re very involved here. She is very involved here and I love that. It’s a great opportunity for us to that possibility and for her. — Diego Valeri

[Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri].

It’s been seven years since the Valeri’s came to Portland, and rest assured, the family has very much enjoyed it.

We are now enjoying it and see her growing… Our decision to come to Portland has been amazing for us as a family. — Diego Valeri

Enjoy more in the video above.

Happy Father’s Day from NBC Sports Northwest!

Timbers draw Group F for MLS is Back Tournament

Timbers draw Group F for MLS is Back Tournament

The MLS is back (almost)! 

On Wednesday the league announced its return in the MLS is Back Tournament, a World Cup-style tournament to be played at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. 

Like the World Cup, all 26 teams will compete in group stages, with 16 teams advancing to the "Knockout Stage."

The groups were drawn on Thursday afternoon, and the Portland Timbers found themselves in Group F, one of the toughest groups of the tournament. 

They will be joined by LAFC, the LA Galaxy, and the Houston Dynamo. 

During group play, each team will play three matches. At the end of those three matches, the top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout round, as well as the four third-place teams with the best records.

The knockout round will be a single-elimination tournament to decide the overall winner. If games in the knockout round are tied at the end of regulation, they will immediately advance to penalty kicks to decide a winner.

Teams are scheduled to arrive in Orlando for the start of "preseason" training on June 24th, with the first group stage games beginning on July 8th. 

The knockout round will start on July 25, with the championship game scheduled for August 11th. 

 

 

Portland Timbers, MLS to return to play with tournament held at Disney World this July 

Portland Timbers, MLS to return to play with tournament held at Disney World this July 

Major League Soccer will return this summer at the Happiest Place on Earth.

The league announced Wednesday morning that it will resume its season July 8 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. All 26 teams will take part in the “MLS is Back Tournament,” where 54 matches (39 group stage, 15 knockout round) will be played. 

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson shared his excitement for the restart of the 2020 season. 

For the MLS is Back Tournament, 26 MLS teams will be drawn into six groups on Thursday at 12:30 PT. 

As the host team, Orlando City will be the "top seed" in the six-team group. The other seeds go to last season's four playoff semifinalists (Atlanta United, Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders, LAFC) and the team in the West that had the next-highest points total last season, which is Real Salt Lake.

The remaining 20 teams, including the Timbers, will be split at random into the six groups. 

Teams will arrive in Orlando on June 24 to begin training with opening day slated for July 8. The group stage will go until July 23, with a day off before the round of 16 (July 25-28). The quarterfinals are expected to be held July 30-Aug. 1, the semifinals Aug. 5-6 and the championship on Aug. 11.

The MLS broke down safety protocols which must be followed, including changes to goal celebrations. Here are a few of the key measures: 

  • All clubs must arrive no later than seven days before their first match
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests will be issued to all essential members of the tournament this can detect an active COVID-19 infection. If a player or personnel test positive, they will not be allowed to travel and will be overseen by club medical staff. 
  • Only after receiving a negative test result, will players and staff be able to begin training. 
  • Tests will be given out every other day for the first 14 days following arrival to Orlando, in addition to selftemperature screenings and standardized screening questionnaires. 
  • Players, coaches and officials are asked to exercise care when spitting or clearing their nose.
  • Players, coaches and officials located on the bench or technical area are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
  • During a game, players have been asked to not exchange jerseys or kiss the ball.

MLS is the first league to restart its season at Disney but aren’t expected to be the last. The NBA is also expected to resume the 2019-20 season on July 31 inside Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

Key details from the MLS teams returning to full team training

Key details from the MLS teams returning to full team training

The MLS has taken the next step towards playing games.

One day after coming to an agreement with the MLSPA on a ratified CBA, avoiding a lockout in the process, the league announced Thursday it has lifted the team training moratorium implemented on March 12 due to COVID-19. 

[RELATED]: MLS avoids lockout and the Portland Timbers will play this summer

The decision paves the way for teams to return full team training: a crucial and mandatory step towards returning to the pitch to play games. 

The MLS plans to begin with a tournament to be held at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, coincidentally the same location as the NBA season. Teams are expected to arrive in three weeks, per ESPN

MLS teams have been running their players through individual drills since May 6, including the Portland Timbers who have been playing games since May 7. 

With player safety at the forefront, the league requires frequent testing of all players including the following:

  • All players will be completing a physical examination, and all players and staff must complete two Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests 24 hours apart, 72 hours prior to the start of training, and undergo one baseline antibody (serology) test. 
  • Players must be cleared to train by their medical staff and have PCR tests, taken every other day, come back negative during before participating in full team training. 
  • If a player or staff member tests positive, the individual will be isolated. The isolated individual will be tested again at least 24 hours later to ensure the result was not a false positive. All close contacts will be tested immediately. Contact tracing will be performed at the direction of the club’s COVID-19 task force and local authorities.
  • A player or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19 may return to training only when cleared by the club’s Chief Medical Officer in consultation with the league medical team. The club’s Chief Medical Officer will also be responsible for clearing the attendance of any player or staff considered to be in a high-risk category for severe illness related to COVID-19. 
  • Once cleared, clubs will have the full use of their training facilities. 

The training room, gyms and fitness areas will be restricted to no more than five individuals at any time while maintaining physical distancing standards. Those areas must be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected following every session in accordance with MLS protocols and all equipment and laundry must be cleaned and disinfected after each use. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Fyre and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon with special guest Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers. 

MLS avoids lockout and the Portland Timbers will play this summer

MLS avoids lockout and the Portland Timbers will play this summer

Facing a potential lockout, the MLS and MLSPA have agreed to a ratified CBA that will allow the teams to play this summer and avoid further stoppage. 

The CBA, originally agreed to in February 2020, has been extended one year until January 31, 2026, with 2020's terms rolling over into 2021, 2021's terms rolling over into 2022, etc. 

Per ESPN, players have agreed to an across-the-board 7.5% pay cut that will kick in for the May 31 payroll period. Performance and individual bonuses will be capped at $5 million this season.

"MLS Players today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which will run through the 2025 season," the MLSPA said in a statement. "Today's vote also finalizes a plan to resume the 2020 season and provides players with certainty for the months ahead. It allows our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love."

With a deal in place, the MLS can go ahead with returning to the pitch beginning with a tournament to be held at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, coincidentally the same location as the NBA season. Teams are expected to arrive in three weeks, per ESPN

The MLS season has been suspended since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league returned to individual workouts on May 6, with the Timbers returning for workouts on May 7.  

In the original CBA, revenue sharing tied to an expected new broadcasting deal in 2023 had 25% of the $100 million broadcast rights fee be set aside for each team's salary budget. Now, in 2023 it'll only be 12.5% while going back up to 25% in 2024. 

The Player's Association while speaking about the new agreement also said they are committed to helping society as much as they can. 

"We recognize that we are all moving forward -- as players, as fans, as societies, as a world -- into a future that looks much different than the one we envisioned a few months ago," the MLSPA added. "There are problems we face collectively that are both more urgent, and more important, than competing on the field.

"We are grieving, we are fed up, we expect change, and we expect action. This change won't come on the field, but it will come partly through the force and determination of all who seek justice and equality. We hope our return to the field will allow fans a momentary release and a semblance of normalcy.

"We are committed as a group to doing all that we can -- both as leaders in our sport as well as leaders in our communities -- to help carry our countries, our communities, our league, and our sport forward."

Diego Valeri calls games without Timbers Army 'a challenge' for players

Diego Valeri calls games without Timbers Army 'a challenge' for players

When Diego Valeri arrived in Portland in 2013 from Andalusia, Spain, he started from zero.

The Portland Timbers midfielder, who is from Argentina, didn’t know a single soul, the language and the habits of the City of Roses. But luckily his teammates and new friends along the way helped him adjust to Portland, the city he proudly calls his home after seven seasons with the Timbers. 

In a recent episode of the Talkin’ Blazers podcast with NBA champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award-winning co-host Dan Sheldon, Valeri talked about how he’s been dealing with quarantine, soccer’s popularity in Argentina and his thoughts on soccer returning without the Timbers Army. 

Yeah that’s gonna be horrible for one side. That’s going to be a challenge for a lot of guys, for everybody actually. The energy, all the feelings you have, the changes of states with the noise, with the rhythm of the game. It’s gonna be something new almost, so we have to be very focused on it.

Valeri’s not new to change. Many aspects, including his growing knowledge of the game of soccer, have come in his time with the Timbers. 

In just his first season, Valeri took home the coveted MLS Newcomer of the Year Award. Two years later, the Timbers won the 2015 Western Conference Final and 2015 MLS Cup, while Valeri earned the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player award. 

He was crucial in helping Portland reach first-place in the 2017 Western Conference title race and once again took home some hardware. This time, the Landon Donovan MLS MVP Award for the league’s Most Valuable Player. 

Valeri, who has 78 goals and 81 assists in 213 regular-season matches, is on the verge of reaching the 80-goal, 80-assist club. But for Valeri, it’s about more than reaching career milestones. He wants to help his team accomplish big things as well. 

I’m 34 and it’s not easy. I try to take care of everything to be on that level, obviously for the team, for me and for all the confidence the team puts in me …I always try to say, for me it makes me happy, personally, but the whole team, whole club still growing, is way more happy for me.

While Valeri and the rest of MLS await their date to return to play, Valeri is spending a lot working out, reading, playing the guitar and enjoying extra time with wife Florencia and daughter Connie.

He’s also looking forward to the NBA getting back in action as well and said he enjoys watching the Portland Trail Blazers. 

“Actually, I live very close to the Moda Center and I went a lot of times to watch them play,” Valeri said. “I love it, I love it. A very couple of good games against Golden State.”

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon, and Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri. 

Portland Timbers offer quite the ALL IN auction package

Portland Timbers offer quite the ALL IN auction package

The Portland Timbers are all in on fighting hunger!

The Rose City's MLS Franchise has joined the ALL IN Challenge offering up quite the package for auction to help raise money for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

One Timbers fan and a friend will have the opportunity to join Timber Joey for a match which involves dressing up like the mascot, joining Joey for log celebrations following goals, and the end-of-match celebrations with the players. 

Additionally, the winner of the auction will receive a slice of the 2015 MLS Cup victory log (the log that traveled to Columbus) signed by Timbers goal-scorers Diego Valeri and Rodney Wallace.

The two Timbers scored goals in Portland's 2-1 2015 MLS Cup victory to win the franchise's first league championship.

The Timbers also include two annual memberships to the Timbers Army along with early-entry wristbands to each match. 

Bidding began at $2,500 and at the time of publishing eight bids have pushed the price to $4,100.

The ALL IN Challenge is a digital fundraiser created by Fanatics which aims to alleviate food insecurity for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Portland Timbers among four MLS teams to allow individual workouts

Portland Timbers among four MLS teams to allow individual workouts

The MLS is taking small steps to get things back to normal.

The Portland Timbers are among the teams that plan to get back to work Thursday.

Along with the Timbers returning, Nashville, Real Salt Lake, LAFC and Houston plan on starting some form of individual workout plans that use team facilities.. 

More teams in the MLS are will start next week.

In a statement released by the Timbers, these voluntary individual workouts will have sessions at the Timbers Training Center Thursday and Friday.

Teams were required to get league approval before being able to open up. The Timbers have been in constant contact with county and state health officials, as well as the MLS.

Here are the rules in place during training sessions:

  • Restricting training facility access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan.
  • Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.
  • Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment survey by each player prior to every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.
  • Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.
  • Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to the field, and again on return to the parking lot.
  • Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.
  • Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after individual workouts.
  • Clubs will have the use of the outdoor fields at their training facility, divided into a maximum of four quadrants per field. A maximum of one player per quadrant may participate per training session with no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting) between players.  
  • An Emergency Action Plan for all COVID-19 related issues.

This is just one small step to finally seeing things get slow back to normal. Full team workouts are still on lockdown until Friday, May 15th. Matches are still suspended until June 8th.

You can read the full Portland Timbers statement here.

MLS to begin individual player workouts, but with extra precaution

MLS to begin individual player workouts, but with extra precaution

Starting next Wednesday, Major League Soccer will become the first North American sports league to allow its players to return to team facilities for individual workouts. 

According to an official release from MLS, players can conduct voluntary workouts beginning on May 6 based on state government and local guidelines. All clubs will be required to adhere to safety protocols for all voluntary workouts at team training sites. 

Some of the safety protocols include restricting training facility to essential staff only, sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, and staff will be required to maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times. 

Every team will also be responsible for designating a member of the staff to oversee adherence to MLS-recommended protocols, as well as a specific implementation plan. All plans must be reviewed and approved by the club’s medical staff and local infection disease expert. 

As of now, the league-wide moratorium set forth by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, remains in place through Friday, May 15. MLS paused after two weeks into the 2020 season and matches through June 8 remain postponed.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced on Friday the state will be expanding COVID-19 testing and that certain regions of the state could open as soon as May 15. 

Portland Timbers owner and CEO Merritt Paulson shared his optimism in a post on Twitter. 

"Let's get going," he said.