Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers lose to rival Seattle Sounders in front of “silent” crowd

Portland Timbers lose to rival Seattle Sounders in front of “silent” crowd

PORTLAND, OR - The Portland Timbers lost 2-1 to rival the Seattle Sounders on a beautiful Friday evening in front of 25,000+ fans at Providence Park. Early goals from Cristian Roldan (22') and Raul Ruidiaz (46') for Seattle in the first half forced Portland to come out of halftime with a sense of urgency. A goal from the captian Diego Valeri (54') off a free kick just outside the box did just that. The Timbers came within inches of tying the game on two occasions: a goal from Brian Fernandez that was called offsides; and a Sebastian Blanco header off a big cross that just missed high. Portland had its chances, but could not capitalize.

To make matters worse with the loss, the Sounders claim the Cascadia Cup.

But this was more than just another game and here's what went down:

In a Yahoo! Sports article today, MLS President Mark Abbot said: “The prohibition on political signage is in place to support the overwhelming majority of MLS fans who come to our stadiums to enjoy a great soccer game ... All of our fans and supporters are important to us and we will continue to engage with them to ensure that we deliver an incredible experience for all.”

The response? Both Timbers and Sounders fans were quiet and did not chant… until the 33rd minute.

The reason for the silence until the 33rd minute? In 1933, the Iron Front was disbanded by nazi Germany. 

A protested silence against the MLS.

When asked about the crowd silence, Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said, "I want to talk about the game, I don't want to talk about stuff outside. I'm concerned with stuff only happens on the field... I love our fans. I love our guys. They support us all the time... Today we lost against a team we did not want to lose. We always want to win against Seattle. And that's what we want. Especially what was at stake today. So for me, the only thing I care about is what is happening on the field."

Only time will tell how this will affect the rest of the MLS and sports world in the coming days.

Thank you, Zarek Valentin!

Thank you, Zarek Valentin!

The MLS expansion draft proved to be detrimental for the Portland Timbers.

Here’s how the expansion draft went down, according to MLSsoccer.com:

Ahead of their 2020 inaugural season, MLS expansion teams Inter Miami and Nashville FC continued to build their squads with five selections each in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft held on November 19.

Per draft rules, no MLS club lost more than one player in the draft.

That one player on the Portland Timbers squad: Zarek Valentin.

“There was always a strong likelihood that we were always going to lose a player in the expansion draft given our depth and talent,” Portland's president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson, said in a statement released by the team. “Zarek was an important player for the Timbers and one that will be tough to replace ..."

Valentin was selected by Nashville but was traded immediately to the Houston Dynamo (along with $75,000 in 2021 for goalkeeper Joe Willis.

The 28-year-old right/left back began his stint with Portland back in 2016 and has been a staple ever since.

You will be greatly missed, Zarek!

MLS terminates Brian Fernandez’s contract, no longer on Timbers’ roster

MLS terminates Brian Fernandez’s contract, no longer on Timbers’ roster

The Portland Timbers have announced Brian Fernandez’s contract has been terminated with the MLS and has been removed from the Timbers’ roster. 

Paul Tenorio, via The Athletic, has reported that the termination is due to “failure to comply with the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health (SABH) program.”

League rules allow MLS to terminate a player’s contract if he "violates the SABH or is subjected to any penalties for testing positive for a banned substance, for noncompliance, or for refusal to submit to a drug test as required under the SABH.”

The 25-year-old, 5-foot-7, shifty forward scored 11 goals and assisted on one through 19 matches with the Timbers.

 

Portland Timbers' MLS Cup playoff loss sends the team into an offseason of unknowns

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USATI

Portland Timbers' MLS Cup playoff loss sends the team into an offseason of unknowns

The Portland Timbers fell to Real Salt Lake in the opening round of the MLS Cup Playoffs tonight by a score of 2-1. In the new format, one loss and you're out, so the Timbers franchise moves into an off-season of unknowns. Let's run through three of the bigger question marks facing the team after tonight's elimination:

Valeri’s last game as a Timber?

The 2017 MLS MVP may have played his last game as a Timber. Valeri had been dealing with a nagging injury but was cleared to play on Saturday. To the surprise of many, he wasn't including in the starting eleven, though the was on the 18-ran roster sheet. The Timbers tied 1-1 in the match when Valeri made his substitution  (63') into the game. Unfortunately, he was not able to give the Timbers the lift they needed, despite two fantastic looks late in the second half. 

Originally from Argentina, Valeri is one of three Designated Players (DPs) on the team and has been with the club since 2013. However, the marriage could be coming to an end with  Valeri and the Timbers unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension. 

Valeri is looking for a two-year DP extension but has only been offered a one-year deal. This would allow the Timbers to bring in another DP. 

If common ground is not found soon, Valeri could be headed out of town. 

Brian Fernandez in the substance abuse program --- what does it mean for the future?

Fernandez voluntarily entered the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and there is now concern on if he will be able to play next season. 

It is important to note that he has not been suspended and he is still being paid. The entry into the program was a precautionary action. 

Coming into tonight's game Fernandez was tied with Jeremy Ebobbise for goals scored on the team (11) but Ferndanez did it in just 19 games to Ebobbise's 34 games. 

Where are they looking to upgrade?

This season the Timbers three DPs were Valeri, Fernandez, and Sebastian Blanco...all offensive-minded players. 

With the newly opened DP slot, will Portland look to upgrade the offensive production again? The team was tied at 11th in the MLS for regular-season goals, a ranking that certainly can (and needs to be) improved upon. 

Of note, only one DP in Timbers' history has been a defensive player, Liam Ridgewell, who was also a captain during his time with the team. 

The DP rule is in place to allow teams to circumvent salary cap restrictions in order to attract more elite talent to the league (with the classic case being David Beckham to LA).

With so many question marks surrounding the team, it should be an eventful off-season for the Timbers and their supporters alike. 

Lock it up! The Portland Timbers are in the playoffs!

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USATI

Lock it up! The Portland Timbers are in the playoffs!

The Portland Timbers are in the postseason.

It was a stressful road to finish out the season full of home losses and mindnuming penalty kick calls. But, when it mattered most, the Portland Timbers controlled their own destiny to play for the MLS Cup and got the result they needed. 

The 3-1 victory over San Jose featured goals by Larrys Mabiala (29'), Dairon Asprilla (59') and Sebastian Blanco (75').

The Timbers’ leading scorer Brian Fernandez did not play today due to serving a suspension for a red card earned on the road at Sporting KC. The Timbers initially desired to appeal the suspension but after more evidence arose, they retracted their plans. 

With their 49 points, the Timbers will slot into the #6 seed and head to play #3 Real Salt Lake.

Last Home Game for Valeri?

With the Timbers traveling for a knockout playoff game, this may have been the last opportunity for the 2015 MLS MVP to suit up for the Timbers in Portland. 

Valeri is in the last guaranteed year of his contract and according to reports from Taylor Twellman of ESPN contract talks between the club and Valeri have stalled. The sources stated that Valeri desires a two year extension as a Designated Player but the Timbers have not offered that. The club would rather bring him back on a two year extension but not as a Designated Player because they want to open a spot for a new designated player. 

We’ll have to wait and see if Valeri plays in a Timbers uniform next season, but if this the end he will go down as one of the franchise’s greatest players. 

Despite a disappointing last month, they move on

At one point in the season, the Timbers had 11 of their 12 remaining games at home while in the thick of the playoff picture. The expectation was to use their home field advantage to climb up the standings and secure a home playoff game, at the least. 

Instead, the Timbers went 4-4-3 in the next 11 games heading into today and never clinching a playoff berth until the final game. It brought into question if the Timbers could overcome the disappointing finish or if the season was doomed. 

Thankfully, the Timbers booked their ticket to the playoffs today. No matter how stressful the road to the postseason, the Timbers have a chance to win the MLS Cup.

How the Portland Timbers can still make the MLS Cup playoffs

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USATI

How the Portland Timbers can still make the MLS Cup playoffs

It has been a frustrating end of the regular season for the Portland Timbers. 

Earlier the season, they had 12 games remaining on the schedule and 11 of them at home. In those next 11 games, they went (4-4-3) with all four losses at home. Previously poised to make a run at advancing up the standings, the Timbers find themselves still not clinched a playoff berth with one game to play. 

But they still control their own destiny to make the postseason. Let’s break it down.

As long as the Timbers do not lose to the Earthquakes, they make the playoffs. 

A win would grant them the sixth seed in the Western Conference. A tie to the Earthquakes would give the Timbers the sixth seed if FC Dallas does not defeat Sporting KC. If FC Dallas wins against Sporting KC, then a tie for the Timbers would give them the 7 seed. 

A loss to San Jose could prove disastrous for the Timbers. Then their only hope relies on FC Dallas not defeating Sporting KC. If FC Dallas would win and Timbers lose, then the Timbers would not make the postseason. 

Now let’s assume the Timbers do not lose, who would they play in the postseason?

THE 6TH SEED

If the Timbers get the sixth seed, they would play the three seed in the Western Conference.

If the LA Galaxy lose or tie on Sunday against Houston, then the Timbers would play the loser of Minnesota-Seattle.

If Minnesota and Seattle tie, the Timbers would play the Sounders due to Minnesota owning the goal differential tiebreaker over Seattle.

But if the Galaxy win, and Minnesota-Seattle is a tie, then the Timbers would play the Galaxy in the knockout round. 

THE 7TH SEED

If the Timbers get the seventh seed, then they play Minnesota if they win against Seattle.

If Minnesota loses, then the Timbers play Seattle.

If Minnesota and Seattle tie, and the Galaxy defeat Houston, then the Timbers will play the Galaxy. 

All of these games kickoff at 1 pm Pacific Time today. 

Everything you need to know about the new MLS Cup format

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USATI

Everything you need to know about the new MLS Cup format

2019 will showcase Major League Soccer's new (more traditional) playoff format. The Audi MLS Cup operates as follows:

- A fixed bracket

- Single Elimination

- High seed hosts every match

- 14 teams will qualify (out of 24), including seven from each conference

- Top team in each conference gets a bye to the conference semifinals

- There is no reseeding once the Cup starts

These are some drastic changes to the old model where teams played home-and-away games vs. the same opponent on an aggregate-goal system with a special 'away goals' tie breaker rule. 

With just one game remaining on their schedule, the Timbers (who took a draw vs. Sporting KC tonight), sit at 6th place in the Western Conference, with a one point lead over 7th and two point lead over out of the playoffs 8th place. 

You can keep tabs on the MLS Cup at their Playoff Scenarios page. 

 

Controversial end robs Timbers of pivotal victory

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USA Today

Controversial end robs Timbers of pivotal victory

For 90 minutes and some change, the Timbers dominated and led New England. But second-half stoppage time seemed to go on forever and controversy handed the Revolution the game-tying goal. 

As the clock hit 90 minutes, the fourth referee indicated there would be a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time. Usually, the refs stay close to that number. But not this night.

The two teams would end up playing almost nine minutes of extra time, and it was those extra five that doomed the Timbers. 

Fans at Providence Park anticipated the whistle after a New England corner kick in the 94th minute, but instead, the two squads would play on. During the ensuing New England attack there appeared to be a foul in the box. However, the referee didn't blow his whistle. Bullet dodged... nope. After what felt like minutes of action the refs finally blew his whistle to indicate a video review. The review led to a New England penalty kick. The penalty kick led to New England tying the game. The tie led to Portland watching a pivotal three-points slip away. 

The call itself was controversial. The time it took the ref to call for the review was controversial. The end result, was, wait for it... controversial. 

Portland could have ended the night in fifth place with two games remaining. Instead, they find themselves in seventh place, a tie with FC Dallas, and in real danger of ending the season below the red line. 

Next up, Sporting Kansas City, one of the worst teams in the Western Conference and the last team Portland beat. Three points are there for the taking, and unless a controversial stoppage-time call keeps Portland at bay, the Timbers should to rise to the occasion. 

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm on Sunday, September 29th in Kansas City. 

Finally back on the board

Even in a controversial result, there can be a silver lining. It took nearly three weeks, but the Timbers finally were able to get back on the scoreboard. Portland picked up a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on September 7th, but since then had been held scoreless in three straight matches. It took 49 minutes, but Jeremy Ebobisse finally gave the Timbers Army a reason to let off the green and gold smoke. 

Ebobisse would go on to score a brace on the night, which is usually a sign of a side that picked up the victory, but you already know how this one unfolded

#AUnitedFront

After months of back and forth, Major League Soccer finally sided with the fans and lifted a ban on the Iron Front symbol. The Symbol has been at the center of a heated debate between free speech and political ideology. 

Fans used it to take a stand against fascism and racism, while the league said it violated a ban on political symbols due to it being linked to the far-left group Antifa. 

After much debate with supporters, the league decided to lift the ban for the remainder of the season while they worked with supporters on a revised code of conduct. 

Said Mark Abbott, MLS president and deputy commissioner, “as part of this decision to update the Fan Code of Conduct for 2020, MLS has suspended the prohibition on the Iron Front imagery at matches for the balance of the 2019 season and MLS Cup Playoffs while the working group conducts its analysis."

Sun setting on Valeri?

Following tonight's match, the Timbers have just one home game left on the regular-season schedule. Usually, this would lead to excitement as the Timbers prepare for another deep run in the playoffs. However, this time around they have something else weighing heavy on the mind - Will it be the last home match for superstar Diego Valeri?

Valeri is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and according to reports from Taylor Twellman of ESPN, negotiations between Valeri and the club had stalled. 

The Timbers have an option to pick up his contract for 2020, but according to those reports Valeri was hoping for a new two-year deal. While he wanted to sign a deal before the summer, the team wanted to see how he held up physically through the season. 

With no new deal signed, and the Timbers looking at options for 2020, it could mean that the end of Valeri's storied career with the Timbers is coming to a close. 

Valeri is 33-years old, but this season he has shown he has plenty of gas left in the tank. If his time in Portland is indeed coming to an end, it means saying goodbye to one of the greatest Timbers of all time. 

 

 

 

Timbers woes continue as playoffs near

Timbers woes continue as playoffs near

If the Timbers match on Wednesday was an episode of Sesame Street, the Count's number of the day would have been Three... Three. It was the number of points the Timbers hoped to gain, and it was how many minutes the Red Bulls needed to dash Portland's hopes. 

Three minutes into action New York's Kyle Duncan rocketed the ball past Steve Clark and netted the Red Bulls the incredibly early 1-0 lead. The lead would hold and with it, the Timbers were left below the red line.

It's getting down to crunch time for the Timbers. They have just four games remaining on the regular-season schedule, and Wednesday's result didn't help their push for the playoffs. 

Of the four teams remaining on the Timbers schedule, only Sporting Kansas City is not currently a playoff team. Basically, the road isn't easy for Portland. However, despite the loss on Wednesday, Portland still controls its own destiny. Seventh place FC Dallas has just one more point than Portland, but only has three games left on the schedule. Meaning all Portland has to do is win out, or at least win more games than Dallas, and they'll make the cut. 

Sunday's game against Minnesota, while cliché, may just be the most important game of the year. Why? It's all about the number of the day - Three. A win is worth three points, while a loss would be the third in a row for the Timbers. If you're placing bets, you might want to put some money on Portland scoring three goals on Sunday. It just feels right. 

So, so close:

The Timbers had their chances on Wednesday, but came up just inches away from victory. First, Diego Chara had a chance to tie the game but his shot hit the crossbar. The more you watch the replay, the more you ask how it's possible the ball didn't go in. 

Jeremey Ebobisse also had a chance late in the game, but his clear look resulted in a ball pushed just wide of the net. It was another shot where you were left wondering what happened. Portland probably should have won this game 2-1, or tied at the very least, but it just wasn't in the cards. 

#AUnitedFront:

The Timbers Army and supports around the league continue to battle with MLS over the ban of the Iron Front. "A United Front" has become a rallying cry and hashtag as supporters come together against the league. On Wednesday, Coach Savarese threw in a little nod to those supporters. "It's about to stay calm, to stay connected with our fans as a united front to make sure that we are able, together, to go through this difficult time and hopefully be able to make the playoffs." While it seems at times the organization isn't backing its loyal supporters, it appears their head coach is. 

Paredes goes down:

The loss is tough enough, but it was made worse after a late-game injury to Cristhian Paredes. Paredes was on the receiving end of a hard tackle, which a foul was not called, and went down grabbing his right leg. It was hard to tell if it was shin or ankle, but it appeared to be a lower leg injury. Paredes had to be stretchered off the pitch and his status was unknown following the match. "I'm not too sure," said Savarese when asked about the injury. "Right now he's being evaluated and we'll give you exactly the situation and probably the time he will need, if any, after that collision he had." Sebastián Blanco subbed in for Paredes and played the final 17 minutes of the match. 

Next up:

The Timbers host Minnesota United on Sunday, September 22nd. Kickoff is set for 12:55 at Providence Park. 

Timbers fall to D.C. United thanks to an own goal

Timbers fall to D.C. United thanks to an own goal

You can be perfect 99% percent of the time, but that 1% you aren't could be enough to dismantle the other 99%. In other words, one mistake is all it takes to go from victory to defeat. On a rainy Sunday at Providence Park, it was a single mental lapse by the Timbers that would end up handing them the loss. 

In the 25th minute D.C.'s Ulises Segura sent a cross into the box. Steve Clark pressed forward to clear the ball, but a sliding Bill Tuiloma got there first and unfortunately deflected the ball past Clark and into the net. It gave United the 1-0 lead, and the eventual 1-0 victory. 

It really felt like Portland controlled most of the game. They had a good flow offensively, played much of the match on the D.C. side of the pitch, and had plenty of chances to score, they just couldn't find the net. 

"We put 37 crosses in, and 80% of possession, but that's not enough," said head coach Gio Savarese. "It's not only enough to play very, very well. It's about scoring goals, and they did. They scored one."

Coach Savarese wasn't about to blame the game on an own goal. He gave D.C. United all the credit fo playing like a veteran team and doing the little things down the stretch to ice the game. He also chalked it up to the game itself. 

"Last week, against Kansas City, we put up a hopeful cross and it went it. Today we put up a better cross and hit the crossbar. Sometimes, that's soccer."

The Timbers will have a quick turnaround and chance to bounce back when they host the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday. 

GETTING CLOSER TO FULL STRENGTH 

The Timbers have been dealing with injuries and illnesses all season long, but they could finally take a step toward full strength by Wednesday's match. Coach Savarese said that both Brian Fernandez and Sebastian Blanco could be ready to go, though he sounded more confident in Fernandez making a return. When asked when those two would return, Savares said, "hopefully Brain (Fernandez) this Wednesday, and Blanco, maybe this Wednesday. We'll see."

VALERI IN RAREFIED AIR

Here is a fun little Timbers fact for you: With his start against D.C. United on Sunday, Diego Valeri became just the third Timbers player to start 200 games for the club in the MLS era. The other two being former teammate Darlington Nagbe (203 matches started) and current teammate Diego Chara (253 matches started). 

PUSH FOR THE PLAYOFFS

The Timbers need to find a way to turn it around and grab some points in the next match. Just five games remain on the schedule and just one point separates sixth-place Portland and eighth place LA Galaxy. LA also has five games remaining, meaning Portland controls its own destiny. Win out, and there is no way you fall below the red line. Stumble like they did against D.C. United and the door remains wide open for the Timbers to fall out of the playoffs. With the playoff race so tight, losing on an own goal makes this latest loss even tougher to swallow.

NEXT UP

The Timbers waste no time getting back on the pitch, staying at home to host the Red Bulls on Wednesday, September 18th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.