Portland Timbers

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. 

Kate Brown's latest guidelines could have giant impact on local sports

Kate Brown's latest guidelines could have giant impact on local sports

As the United States continues to deal with the coronavirus, some states have slowly started to roll-out procedures to open back up. 

On Thursday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a multi-level plan to re-open the state. 

The plans will work in phases, with each phase gradually allowing more businesses to operate and loosen restrictions on social interaction. 

According to Brown, during Phase I restaurants and bars can open for limited in-person dining,  salons and gyms can operate with physical distancing and sanitation guidelines, and gatherings of up-to 25 people will be permitted.

The re-opening will be on a county-by-county basis and can start as early as May 15th.

The last phase of the process is Phase III, which would allow sporting events and concerts to start up again. However, Brown hinted in official documents that that phase won't happen anytime soon. In fact, Brown has called for the canceling of all sports events and large social gatherings through at least September. 

Concerts, conventions, festivals, live audience sports won’t be possible until a reliable treatment or prevention is available. It is unknown at this time when this will be. Therefore, all large gatherings should be cancelled or significantly modified through at least September. Further guidance on large gatherings scheduled for later in the fall will be provided this summer. - Oregon Governor Kate Brown

READ GOVERNOR BROWN'S FULL RELEASE HERE 

So, how does this impact the local sports scene?

Let's first look at the NBA, which postponed its season in early March. Should they return to play the remainder of the season and the playoffs, there is a chance the Trail Blazers could be playing games in September.

If that's the case, and the league doesn't play at one central location as has been discussed, then you will have to watch the Blazers play on TV inside an empty Moda Center. If this season gets canceled, but next season starts normally with pre-season games in October, then there is still a chance no fans will be allowed in the arena. 

Local universities will likely be impacted should the NCAA Football season go on as scheduled. Both Oregon and Oregon State have four games scheduled for the month of September, with both teams playing three of those four games at home. 

Oregon State starts the season on the road at Oklahoma State on Thursday, September 3rd, but the next three Saturdays they play at Reser Stadium.

As for the Ducks, they start their season with three-straight home games, none bigger than the September 12th matchup against Ohio State. 

The Buckeyes vs the Ducks is one of the most anticipated non-conference matchups in the entire country this season, and under the current guidelines set forth by Governor Brown, that matchup could happen inside an empty Autzen Stadium. 

Even the Vikings will be impacted, with one home game currently scheduled in September, and one of their road games that month being against the Beavers in Corvallis.

On the pitch, both the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers had home games scheduled in September prior to their respective seasons being postponed. With MLS now allowing teams to hold individual workouts, a return to play could be in the future. A return to play means both teams would presumedly have home games scheduled in September and would have to join their local sports counterparts in playing inside empty stadiums. 

On Thursday, the Timber/Thorns released the following statement:

The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC have been in constant dialogue with state, county and city officials throughout the pandemic and were aware of the work being done on large public event guidelines that the governor issued today. While we remain hopeful there is a path forward to play in front of our supporters in 2020, we have kept our fans and annual members apprised of their options given the possibility of a full season not being played. Annual members will have the opportunity to rollover their funds with added benefits to 2021 for any missed matches, or may opt for a refund. The Timbers and Thorns have been diligent in our adherence to the advice of local public health authorities and government agencies throughout the crisis and will continue to do so with the safety and well-being of our fans, staff and players as the clubs’ highest priority. - Portland Timbers/Thorns

Of course, things could take a turn for the better and Brown could adjust these dates back earlier, but as for now, fans will have to live with the realistic possibility of watching their favorite teams from the comfort of their home while those teams play in empty stadiums. 

 

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. 

 

Ann Schatz has all the respect in the world for Portland's soccer fandom

Ann Schatz has all the respect in the world for Portland's soccer fandom

Few have had the illustrious career of sports broadcasting legend Ann Schatz who not only was the first woman in sports broadcasting in Portland but even got an exclusive interview bite with Tonya Harding at the height of her scandal. Now, Schatz works for the Pac-12 Network and Portland Thorns. 

On the latest episode of The Bridge Podcast, host Justin Myers was joined by the Portland Thorns broadcaster who talked about what makes the Portland market so special compared to other parts of the country.

What a tip of the cap to the city of Portland that understands great soccer. And it is nongender specific: If you can play we are going to come watch you, we're going to cheer like the dickens and we're going to keep coming back. And that's this town. And that's why I love this city so much for what it has done. It's come one come all. If you can play, we're going to come. 

Schatz went on to say that due to the knowledge of Portland, commonly referred to as Soccer City, USA, they were able to fall in love with the Thorns in their inaugural season because of the stellar skill displayed by Canadian National Team forward Christine Sinclair. 

The Portland Thorns, when they began playing in the NWSL back in 2013, and the US Soccer Federation allocated certain soccer players to each team, the Portland Thorns got some terrific allocations and it started with Christine Sinclair: Canada's finest and had starred at the University of Portland and that carryover... being the captain [of the Thorns] and the face, along with Alex Morgan... [Sinclair] brought in the soccer purists and Morgan brought in those that were curious about this league... It was a perfect storm...

It probably helps that the Thorns won the Inaugural NWSL Championship in 2013 and then again in 2017. That type of play has kept the Thorns' fanbase highly engaged in the product, and that support greatly moves the longtime broadcaster who had to deal with a lot of hatred in Portland when she began her career here. 

When you go to home games and there are 16-17,000 people at a match to watch a women's game? It still blows me away. I get the chills. Sometimes it makes me cry. I am so grateful to say that I lived to be working in a franchise in a city that attracts over 15,000 per home game for a women's event. I never thought I would see that day. It is something. 

You can listen to the full podcast below.

BREAKING: MLS suspends season due to coronavirus

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USATI

BREAKING: MLS suspends season due to coronavirus

First the NBA, and now Major League Soccer. 

MLS announced on Thursday that the league would be suspending its season due to fears surrounding the Coronavirus

The suspension will last at least 30 days. 

The full statement from the league:

Major League Soccer has suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials.

At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

Prior to the announcement two MLS matches had already been postponed: A match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City, and one between the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas. Both matches were to take place on March 21st in San Jose and Seattle respectively. 

Locally, the Portland Timbers had five matches scheduled over the next 30 days, two of which were to be played at Providence. Park. 

While the Seattle Sounders had four matches scheduled, with only one to be played at home. 

There is no word yet as to how the league plans to make up these missed dates. 

We will update will more information as it comes in. 

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announces cancellation of large gatherings

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announces cancellation of large gatherings

A news release was sent out Wednesday night from Oregon governor's office with the state taking its precautions in preventing the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

In the release, it states that all gatherings of 250 people or more are canceled across the state effective immediately. This will be in effect for the next four weeks and will be lifted on April 8.

A gathering is defined as any event in a space in which appropriate social distancing of a minimum of three feet cannot be maintained.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will hold a news conference Thursday to explain new steps the state is taking.

Governor Brown also mapped out the recommendations put in place for schools, long-term and assisted living facilities, and at the workplace as well. 

Here are a few events on the upcoming schedule at the Rose Quarter in Portland:

Portland Winterhawks vs. Everett Silvertips

2020 OSAA Dance and Drill State

Brantely Gilbert concert

2020 NCAA Division I Women’s Regionals

2020 Nike Hoop Summit

And, that’s just the events scheduled at Moda Center and the Memorial Coliseum.

The Portland Timbers have one home game scheduled within the next four weeks. The Timbers are scheduled to host the Philadelphia Union on Mar. 28.

The OSAA basketball playoffs will be played without spectators at Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus.

It was announced earlier Wednesday night that the NBA has suspended the 2019-20 season until further notice. The Portland Trail Blazers were scheduled to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. 

Here's the latest food offerings for Timbers & Thorns matches at Providence Park

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Portland Timbers FC Twitter

Here's the latest food offerings for Timbers & Thorns matches at Providence Park

For those of you who like the peanut butter pickle bacon burger at Killer burger and like watching either the Portland Timbers or Portland Thorns, you’re in luck!

Now you can do both!

Announced on Monday, The Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns FC and Park Provisions have partnered together for the 2020 season to further cultivate a hospitality program that is unique to Providence Park, including the continuation of “Park Pricing” games and the addition of Killer Burger to the venue’s dining roster.



“Park Pricing” returns in 2020:

- $2.50 hot dogs

- $2.50 nachos

- $6 “Beer of the Match” provided by sponsors Widmer, Modelo and Coors Light, for midweek Timbers and Thorns FC matches during the 2020 season.

Killer Burger (in section 93) joins returning favorites Podnah’s Pit and HOTLIPS Pizza and will feature with a classic burger, peanut butter pickle bacon burger and a Park exclusive, Striker burger with bacon, grilled jalapeños, Sriracha ketchup, Havarti cheese, mayonnaise and grilled onion.

Featuring 34 draft handles and 14 varieties of beer, including Widmer Brothers, Breakside Brewery and Pelican Brewing, “Crest & Craft” is a new beer and cider stand. Located at the top of section 99 on the eastside of the stadium, this new stand has a similar concept to the Double Post (North End) and Axe & Rose (westside) stands.

New Executive Chef Garrett Boisture, who previously served fans at the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Center and in Portland at the Rose Quarter. Boisture trained in the culinary arts at the New England Culinary Institute and has worked at some of the top establishments in Charleston, Chicago, Atlanta and Houston, according to the announcement.

Afraid that the stadium will get rid of your favorite food or beverage? Fear not. It is only expanding for more options at your favorite spots:

- Tillamook Grill: A variety of Tillamook signatures dishes, including bacon queso nachos, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, mac ‘n cheese and quesadillas. The main stand is located at sec. 105 and the carts are located at 113 and 99.

- HOTLIPS Pizza: Cheese, pepperoni, sausage and rotating specialty pizzas by the slice (Main Concourse sec. 119, Duracell Deck).

- La Hacha Cocina: A collection of Latin American-inspired dishes, including Tanner Ridge loaded nachos, taquitos dorados and rotating seasonal favorites (Tanner Ridge).

- Double Post: With over 48 draft beer taps available this is the spot to grab an ice cold local craft beer (Main Concourse sec. 109).

- House of 75: Coastal-inspired dishes such as Tillamook cheddar & broccoli soup, coastal clam chowder; all served in a locally-sourced sourdough bread bowl. We also have our new Pacific shrimp roll served with housemade Old Bay chips (Tanner Ridge).

- Soccer City Classics: Game day favorites and ice cold beverages (Main Concourse sec. 121, 96)

- Podnah’s BBQ: Brisket and pulled pork sandwiches from the acclaimed Portland BBQ favorite (Main Concourse sec. 103, Toyota Terrace).

- Vista Nachos: Loaded nachos smothered in fan-favorite toppings (Duracell Deck).

- East Vista Melts: Grilled cheeses and ice cold craft beer (Duracell Deck).

In 2020, Providence Park will also offer several new and returning signature dishes and spotlight new craft beer, cider and wine:

- Tillamook bacon queso nachos: Providence Park Executive Chef Garrett Boisture worked with Tillamook to develop this recipe, putting a local spin on a stadium classic (Main Concourse sec. 105).

- Rooster tots: A Providence Park icon, featuring Tillamook cheeses and locally-inspired toppings that Timbers and Thorns FC fans know and love (Main Concourse sec. 107).

- Tamale Boy: Bean and cheese tamales topped with chicken tinga, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and queso fresco (Main Concourse sec. 117).

- Uncle Tony’s Pork Rinds: House-made chicharrones with Tajin seasoning and Tapatio sauce (Duracell Deck – Vista Nachos, Tanner Ridge – La Hacha Cocina).

BEVERAGE SPOTLIGHT

- Oregon craft beer and cider: A wide selection of craft beers from Widmer, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Breakside Brewery, Pelican Brewing, pFriem, Away Days Brewery, Von Ebert Brewing, Double Mountain Brewing, Laurelwood Brewing Company and many others.

- Oregon wine: Local wines from Westmount Wine Co., Erath Winery, Underwood Wine Co., Eola Hills Wine Cellars, Sweet Cheeks Winery, Argyle Winery and Kings Ridge.
ABOUT PARK PROVISIONS

Park Provisions, powered by Levy, delivers dynamic, authentic hospitality to devoted Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC supporters. Our goal is to provide exceptional service, delectable food and unrivaled experiences on game day and beyond, showcasing fresh, local ingredients and the best flavors Portland has to offer.

Timbers to welcome Liga MX team to Providence Park in 2020

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USA Today Images

Timbers to welcome Liga MX team to Providence Park in 2020

The Portland Timbers will host a Leagues Cup match this July.

According to the Timbers, Portland will welcome a Liga MX team to Providence Park on either July 21 or July 22 as a part of the 2020 Leagues Cup. Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX released the competition’s full schedule on Thursday.

“This is a very important tournament for the Timbers and MLS and we look forward to playing host to what will be one of the better sides in Liga MX,” Timbers general manager and president of soccer said in a release. “It gives us a tremendous opportunity to play a meaningful match against top-end competition in front of our fans and is the first step towards a deepening MLS relationship with Liga MX.”

The 2020 Leagues Cup will feature eight clubs from each league in a single-elimination tournament with three rounds: quarterfinals, semifinals and final. Like the 2019 edition, all matches between the MLS and Liga MX team are played in home market of the MLS team.

This is Portland’s first appearance in the Leagues Cup. The Timbers qualified to be in the tournament after finishing top-four in the Western Conference and thus not participating in either the 2020 CONCAF Champions League or 2020 Campeones Cup.