Portland Timbers

Thorns, Timbers finally set for home debuts

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USA Today

Thorns, Timbers finally set for home debuts

The sound of construction crews at Providence Park will be replaced with the roar of Timbers and Thorns fans this weekend as the two teams that call the park home finally make their home debuts. 

The Thorns started their NWSL season with six straight matches on the road, while the Timbers played their first 12 away from home. Now, it's time to get back in some friendlier confines. 

Fans have been waiting for months to see their home teams and the new digs. The wait is finally over!

RCTID: The Timbers (4-6-2) are 12 games into their season and every single one has been on the road, making it the longest road trip in MLS history. However, starting the season on the road isn't all that bad. According to Forbes, since 2006 11 teams have started the season with at least a five-game road trip or eight of their first 10 on the road. 10 of those teams went on to make the playoffs. History aside, it will be nice to be home for the Timbers. Unfortunately, the task that awaits them is a matchup with the best team in MLS, LAFC (10-1-4). LAFC has a league-leading 34 points, six more than anyone else, and an incredible goal differential of +25. The next best goal differential in the league is +9 for the Philadelphia Union. This is the second match of the season between these two clubs, with LAFC beating the Timbers 4-1 back on March 10th. Portland is currently in 10th place in the Western Conference and in desperate need of points. 

BAONPDX: The Thorns managed to go 3-1-2 on the road to start the season and their 11 points have them currently in third place in the NWSL standings. Portland welcomes the Chicago Red Star (3-2-2) to town on Sunday. Like Portland, Chicago has 11 points on the season and is tied with Portland in the standings. This is a pivotal game for both teams. The winner could sit alone in second place or even be in a tie for first place depending on the outcome of the Utah-Washington match. This is the second match between these two teams, with April 20th's match in Illinois ending in a 4-4 draw. The house should be packed on Sunday and the Thorns will be ready to defend the home pitch.

MATCH INFO:

Timbers vs LAFC - Saturday, June 1st. Kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. 

Thorns vs Red Stars - Sunday, June 2nd. Kickoff set for 3:00 p.m.

WATCH: A look at the Providence Park expansion

WATCH: A look at the Providence Park expansion

Out with the old and in with the new.

Providence Park’s new digs are everything we could have hoped for and more. The stadium underwent an $85 million expansion which includes approximately 4,000 new seats, three new levels, a new roof on the east side, upgraded field turf and so much more.  

Our NBCS Northwest crew took a tour of the new Providence Park and brought back this exclusive footage. Take a look at the video tour above. 

The new-and-improved Providence Park opens on Saturday, June 1 when the Timbers take on LAFC.

Portland Timbers big underdogs with MLS Cup on the line

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NBC Sports Northwest Staff

Portland Timbers big underdogs with MLS Cup on the line

The Portland Timbers know what it takes to win.

They edged Columbus Crew in their inaugural season to claim the team’s first MLS Cup in 2015.

This season? They beat FC Dallas in the Knockout Round to take on the Seattle Sounders in a penalty kick thriller in the Western Conference Semifinals.

And just last week, they upset No. 1 Kansas City in a wild knockout to secure the Western Conference Championship and a ticket to compete in their second MLS Cup in four years.

The Timbers are exactly where they need to be as they travel south to take on Atlanta United, runner up of the MLS Supporters Shield.

Battle of the MVPs

Portland will look to stop 2018 MLS MVP award winner, Josef Martinez, who’s 31 goals broke a single-season MLS record of 27. Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron also notched 13 goals and 11 assists for Atlanta during the regular season, adding to the United’s already entertaining cast of supporters.

Atlanta will have their hands full trying to limit Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco’s time on the ball. Valeri, 2017 MLS MVP, led the Timbers with 12 assists and 10 goals during the regular season, while Blanco added 10 goals and 11 assists for Portland.

Last meeting

The two teams last met in June, when the Timbers walked away with a hard-fought point on the road. They held Atlanta to a 1-1 draw.

Portland will lean on its fan base, the Timbers Army, in Saturday’s battle. The MLS recently announced it increased the number of away tickets sold to 1,700 due to demand, the largest number of tickets the league has allowed away supporters at an MLS Cup. The previous allotment of 1,300 tickets sold out in four minutes.

In tradition, the Timbers will be sending The Victory Log on a 2,500-mile journey from the Rose City to The ATL. The log previously traveled to Columbus, Ohio, the year the Timbers won the MLS cup over Crew SC.

Year of the underdog? 

After failing to defend the crown in 2017 and parting ways with coach Caleb Porter after five seasons, the Timbers are exactly where no one thought they’d be one year later.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Timbers have a 23 percent chance of winning the MLS Cup, but what’s miraculous is Portland has found a way to get results. 

Don’t be surprised if they find a way to do it again.

Own goal topples the Timbers

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usa today

Own goal topples the Timbers

The Timbers controlled the Sounders on Sunday, but when the final whistle blew they were left staring at a 1-0 deficit and another tough loss.

But this loss stung a little more than the three that proceeded it - not only did they lose to their rival, it was an own goal that did them in.

 

Seattle’s attack never really came close to doing damage, but in the 76th minute a shot attempt deflected off Timbers defender Julio Cascante and gave goalkeeper Jeff Attinella no chance as he watched it find the back of the net.

 

“They took advantage of one moment and then they changed the game when it was in our hands,” coach Gio Savarese said of the Sounders. “We had it. We were completely dominating this match. They were working very hard, we had them all over the place. Yes, credit to them, they defended well, but they created nothing until the moment they scored the goal.”

 

Saverese isn’t wrong. The Timbers outshot the Sounders 22-6, had nine corner kicks to the Sounders two, and had possession for 55.1% of the match. But as we all know stats don’t win games, the final score does. On this night, even in a dominant showing, the Timbers took the loss.

 

However, the game wasn’t a total loss thanks to Liam Ridgewell. Ridgewell, who hadn’t played since suffering a quad injury against LAFC on May 19, made his return to the pitch to a thunderous roar from the Timbers Army. 

 

“It was nice to be back out there and playing, trying to give my all for the team to try and get them back to winning ways after a disappointing week we’ve had. Good times are ahead still, it’s not all doom and gloom,” Ridgewell said.

 

The Timbers will have a chance to get back to those winning ways on Wednesday when they host Toronto FC. Kickoff is set for 7:30PM at Providence Park.

 

Darlington Nagbe is missed already for the Portland Timbers

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USA Today

Darlington Nagbe is missed already for the Portland Timbers

By 

The 2018 MLS season is underway! Well, I’ve missed the punch a bit I guess. The season has been underway for almost 2 months but it feels like less since the Portland Timbers only just played their first home game a week ago. The first kick of the 2018 season brought with it some big changes to the Timbers organization. In fact it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it was the dawning of a new era. After all, there was a new coach patrolling the touchline.

At the end of the 2017 season, head coach Caleb Porter’s abrupt announcement that he would be stepping down as head coach sent waves of surprise that bordered on shock rippling through the soccer world. He was at the helm for five seasons and although Scottish coach John Spencer preceded him, Porter is the man who will be remembered as the original commander-in-chief of the MLS-era Timbers. But while Porter might have instilled the confidence and tactics to win an MLS Cup in 2015, it was another member of the organization who better embodied the spirit of the club.

Darlington Nagbe.

This offseason, Timbers fans watched sadly as the soft-spoken talisman waved goodbye to his first professional club and signed for expansion side Atlanta United.

Nagbe was the Timbers’ first-ever SuperDraft pick way back in 2011. Even players who reach grand levels of success in college can have trouble adapting to the MLS, but not Nagbe. After winning the Mac Hermann Trophy (the Heisman Trophy of college soccer) in 2010 at the University of Akron—where, incidentally, Caleb Porter was head coach at the time—he transitioned seamlessly to the professional game and started 21 games in his rookie season. His confidence would only grow as Porter took the reigns of the franchise in 2013.

For the next five years, Nagbe would develop into a special player, setting the bar higher and higher for himself each season. In his head-down, straight-to-business way, he developed a reputation around the league for being grossly underrated. The recognition that he deserved would come eventually. After he became a U.S. citizen in 2015 he began representing the United States National Team on a regular basis and in 2016 he was selected as an MLS All-Star.

Nagbe was the ultimate utility player; so diverse and intelligent that even after seven seasons watching him play for the Timbers, it’s still difficult to determine where on the field he is most effective. He was comfortable drifting onto the wing and running at defenders, dropping deep in midfield and initiating the attack, buzzing around underneath the striker or even spearheading the offense as a lone striker.

He scored 27 goals and notched 30 assists in Timbers colors but it was what he did away from the ball that made him so valuable. While so many players these days throw their hands in the air when they don’t get the ball in the exact way that they want, Nagbe was the exact opposite. He never shied away from doing the dirty work, the selfless and often un-praised running that was so important in creating the space less mobile creative players to work their magic, a true team-before-self player.

As a testament to his character, it should be noted that Nagbe was a two-time MLS Fair Play Award winner: an honor awarded to the player who stands out for displaying exceptional sportsmanlike behavior throughout the season while also committing a small number of fouls. This award might seem as though it is all about character and not about soccer ability but that’s not the case. When he won the award in 2013 and 2015, he committed a total of 8 and 11 fouls respectively. From this statistic we can draw the conclusion that he was incredibly disciplined and hard working defensively because he was so rarely caught in a bad position where was forced to commit a foul.

His goals were worth the price of admission. He was never a volume goal scorer but the goals that he did score were usually something special. Our jaws hit the floor when he scored his first. In a game against Sporting Kansas City in what was then Jeld-Wen Field. He gathered a clearance out of mid-air, juggling it twice before volleying it viciously into the top corner. It won 2011 MLS Goal of the Year and remains the greatest goal ever scored at Providence Park by a long way.

In the young history of the Portland Timbers, Darlington Nagbe has cemented his status as a Portland hero. After his departure, there only remains goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and unsung midfield engine Diego Chará who were members of the original MLS Timbers roster from 2011.

Atlanta United won’t make the trip to Portland during the 2018 season, but one day Darlington Nagbe will return to Portland in colors other than green and gold. So when that day comes, sing his name in the stands of Providence Park and remember all that he gave us, the Timbers’ first true legend.

Blazers, Thorns, Timbers, Winterhawks, and Hops combine disaster relief efforts

Blazers, Thorns, Timbers, Winterhawks, and Hops combine disaster relief efforts

The following is a joint press release from the Trail Blazers, Timbers, Thorns FC, Winterhawks and Hops

PORTLAND, Ore. (September 5, 2017) – With disaster response and relief efforts happening in their own communities and across the country, the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA), Portland Timbers (MLS), Portland Thorns FC (NWSL), Portland Winterhawks (Western Hockey League) and Hillsboro Hops (Northwest League) will band together to raise much-needed funds and blood donations to channel through the American Red Cross.  This is the first joint-philanthropic initiative among the five local professional franchises focusing on a specific cause – to bring aid to victims of Oregon’s wildfires; Hurricane Harvey in Texas; and the potential impact of Hurricane Irma in Florida.

“The destruction we’ve seen from the Oregon wildfires and Hurricane Harvey is heartbreaking,” said Chris McGowan, President & CEO of the Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter.  “The journey to recovery will be a long one for all impacted areas. The professional sports community here in Portland is rallying our respective fan bases, employees and partners to contribute resources to assist in the effort where it’s needed most.”  

“Our hearts go out to the families and individuals affected by the devastating fires in Oregon and the communities in Southeast Texas as they begin the process to rebuild and heal,” said Mike Golub, President of Business for the Timbers and Thorns FC. “By working together with our local partners, we are able to maximize our collective impact in support of the communities affected by the devastation caused by these disasters."   

The first steps taken will be to hold individual blood drives starting tomorrow, with each team hosting its own specially-designated day at the headquarters for the Portland American Red Cross, located at 3131 North Vancouver Avenue.  The need for blood is constant and the American Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to hospitals in the nation. 

Fundraising efforts by each team will take place in the coming weeks and months at select home games and events to be announced soon.  The Timbers, Thorns FC and Hops seasons are currently underway, with the Winterhawks and Trail Blazers beginning their 2017-18 seasons soon.  Additional information will be posted on each team’s website and through their social media channels.

“We’re pleased to be involved with the team effort to raise funds and support the relief efforts locally and nationally,” said K.L. Wombacher, President and General Manager of the Hillsboro Hops.  “Having two players on our roster that we care deeply about being from the Houston area, Hurricane Harvey hits home for us. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost so much over the last week. We hope to do everything we can to help them get their lives back.”

"Between the forest fires threatening the Northwest and the hurricanes causing catastrophic damage on the Gulf Coast, the resources of the American Red Cross are being stretched to the limits," said Doug Piper, President of the Portland Winterhawks.  "We are proud to stand with the Portland sports community and bring aid to those who so desperately need it.”

Red Cross blood donations can be conveniently scheduled online at www.redcrossblood.org for any of their blood drive locations throughout the region; or through the mobile app by texting BLOODAPP to 90999.  Here is the schedule of upcoming blood drives hosted by each Portland-area pro sports team (**Note:  Donors should use visitor parking for their vehicles, or dial (503) 528-5800 for parking guidance if visitor spaces are full):

  • Wednesday, September 6 – Hillsboro Hops; 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 7 – Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC; 80 appointment slots from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Friday, September 8 – Portland Winterhawks; 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 9 – Portland Trail Blazers; 100 appointment slots from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

For financial donations, text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps people affected by disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes.  Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Donors must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Message and Data Rates may apply. Text STOP to 90999 to STOP. Text HELP to 90999 for HELP. Full Terms and Privacy Policy: hmgf.org/t.

Portland Timbers acquire central defender Larrys Mabiala

Portland Timbers acquire central defender Larrys Mabiala

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed central defender Larrys Mabiala, utilizing Targeted Allocation Money. Mabiala is scheduled to join the Timbers roster during Major League Soccer’s summer transfer window in July, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

“We are pleased to acquire a player of Larrys’ quality and experience, and we are excited that he has chosen to join the Portland Timbers,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “This has been a positional need since losing Gbenga Arokoyo to an injury and while it took longer than we would have liked, we are delighted to add a proven central defender with the right profile to help the team. We are pleased to welcome Larrys to Portland and look forward to his contributions to the club.”

Mabiala, 29, joins Portland with 201 professional appearances since making his debut in France’s Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain in 2007. A native of Montfermeil, France, Mabiala comes to Portland after spending the past six seasons in the Turkish Super League with first-division clubs Karabükspor and Kayserispor, making 162 appearances (160 starts) in Turkey’s top flight. Additionally, Mabiala has made a combined eight appearances (5 starts) in the UEFA Europa League with Paris Saint-Germain and Karabükspor.

“Larrys Mabiala is a player that will bring a strong, physical presence to our team,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “His experience and leadership will be key and we expect him to make an immediate impact once he is fully transitioned.”

After spending his first two professional seasons with Paris Saint-Germain (2007-2009), Mabiala signed with OGC Nice ahead of the 2009-2010 Ligue 1 campaign. In three seasons (2009-2012) with Nice, Mabiala made 36 league appearances (36 starts), before transferring to Karabükspor in Turkey. 

While playing with Karabükspor from 2011-2015, Mabiala made 104 league appearances (104 starts), while also featuring four times (4 starts) in the UEFA Europa League. Most recently, Mabiala spent two seasons (2015-2017) with Kayserispor in the Turkish first division, compiling 58 appearances (56 starts) in league play. 

At the international level, Mabiala has made nine appearances (9 starts) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo National Team, starting in six 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, while also making two appearances (2 starts) in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and a friendly appearance in 2008.         

Transaction: Portland Timbers sign defender Larrys Mabiala on June 26, 2017.

Larrys Mabiala
Pronunciation: mah-bee-ah-lah 
Position: Defender
Height: 6-2
Weight: 185
Born: Oct. 8, 1987, in Montfermeil, France
Last Club: Kayserispor
College: n/a
Citizenship: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Acquired: Signed on June 26, 2017

Timbers draw Sounders 2-2 in Cascadia rivalry match

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USA Today Sports Images

Timbers draw Sounders 2-2 in Cascadia rivalry match

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers drew 2-2 with Seattle Sounders FC Sunday evening at Providence Park in front of a sellout crowd of 21,144. Portland forward Fanendo Adi scored his 50th career goal for the Timbers with a penalty while midfielder Dairon Asprilla headed in a goal late in the first half.

Match Moments

11' - CHANCE (POR) - Following a strong defensive stop on a Seattle free kick in the Portland end, the Timbers came out on a blistering counter attack. Midfielder Diego Chara fed forward Adi in the box and his close range effort was kicked aside by Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

18' - STOP (POR) - Seattle's Brad Evans dribbled to the Portland end line before crossing it back to forward Jordan Morris near the top of the six yard box. But defender Alvas Powell provided a a timely interception to kick the ball free. Powell adeptly then headed away a follow-up shot.

27' - GOAL (SEA) - Seattle's Joevin Jones dribbled in from the left hand side and shot a low drive on frame that Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson initially made a strong save on. However, Jones then collected his own rebound and scored. Seattle led 1-0.

36' - CHANCE (POR) - Portland kept up the pressure and after working the ball around the edge of the area, Chara lofted in a cross towards the left post that Asprilla leapt high to head off the top of the cross bar.

44' and 45' - RED CARD (SEA) and GOAL (POR) - Following some strong play in the Seattle box, midfielder Darlington Nagbe found himself with the ball at his feet in front of goal. Seattle's Evans tried to stop him but ended up tangling legs and pulling him down. Referee Ricardo Salazar immediately pointed to the spot for a penalty kick and gave Evans a straight red card for the foul leaving Seattle at 10 men for the remainder of the match. Portland striker Fanendo Adi stepped to the spot and converted with authority past Frei to tie the game at 1-1. It was also Adi's team-leading 50th career goal for Portland.

45+4' - GOAL (POR) - Following an errant back pass from the Seattle defense that resulted in a corner kick for Portland, Asprilla scored with a spectacular header via David Guzmán's pinpoint service. Timbers led 2-1 heading into the half.

68' - CHANCE (POR) - On a botched Seattle throw-in back to keeper Frei, defender Román Torres casually went to retrieve it. Portland's Diego Valeri alertly pounced on the ball and nearly scored but the ball went just wide of the right post.

73' - SAVE (POR) - Seattle's Nicolás Lodeiro teed a up a knuckling shot from distance that Gleeson got low to parry away. The Portland goalkeeper then caught the ensuing corner.

90+4' - GOAL (POR) - In a last chance run, Seattle's Torres crossed a ball into the area that Sounders forward Clint Dempsey headed past Gleeson to tie the game at 2-2.

The Portland Timbers return to the road next Saturday to play Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park on July 1

Timbers grab three points with 2-0 win over San Jose

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Alyssa Koberstein/ CSN

Timbers grab three points with 2-0 win over San Jose

PORTLAND, OR - One was all it took. A lone goal early in the second half of action was enough to bring home a victory for the Timbers.

The Timbers offense looked very good early, getting multiple chances on goal, but just couldn’t put anything home. Honestly, it was hard to tell if the Timbers looked locked in of if San Jose just looked that bad.

For much of the match San Jose looked out of sorts, and not much of a threat to score at all. The only thing they looked able to do was inflict bodily harm on Portland. In the 37’ Earthquakes defender Darwin Cerén was given a yellow card for a hard foul. Less than 60 seconds later he barreled into Sebastián Blanco, was given his second yellow card and was sent to the locker room.

He wasn’t the only San Jose player to get a little extra curricular activity in. Marco Ureña got tangled up with Jake Gleeson early in the second half, and could be seen throwing a soft kick at the Timbers goalkeeper.  A few plays later Gleeson was diving for a loose ball, when Ureña came flying in. Ureña made a lazy attempt to jump over Gleeson, let his back foot drag, and kicked him in the back of the neck/head as he went by.

Gleeson remained on the turf for a few minutes while trainers checked on him, but for the remainder of the match he could be seen getting his thoughts across to San Jose in what one can only assume was some not safe for work vocabulary.

Neither of Ureña’s plays resulted in a card, but they fired the Timbers up. 

Now, back to the important stuff: Valeri and his goal(s). In the 50’ The Maestro found a small hole in the Earthquakes’ defense, poked the ball past the defense and in for a goal. Ironically many of the Timbers missed shots on the night bounced off the goalpost, and Valeri’s made goal did the very same. In the end, it doesn’t have to look pretty; it just has to go in.

Valeri grabbed another goal during second half stoppage time, just to put a little icing on the cake. 

In the locker room Liam Ridgewell said Valeri got lucky on his second goal. As the old saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Tonight Diego Valeri was both.

Final Score: Timbers 2 - Earthquakes 0

Next Up: The Timbers return to the pitch next Saturday, June 10, as they play host to FC Dallas. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm at Providence Park.

Portland Timbers – Looking back on the loss in Seattle

Portland Timbers – Looking back on the loss in Seattle

By  

The Timbers-Sounders rivalry, which kicked off on May 2, 1975, represents an aspect of American soccer culture that is unmatched in the U.S. 42 years of history. 42 years of American soccer. This past weekend Portland made the trek north, for a road match that had much more than just three points on the line.

The Portland Timbers have two wins on the road this year. Unfortunately, one of those did not occur in the unfriendly confines of Century Link Field in Seattle. Away losses were the Achilles’ heel of last year’s Timbers. And with midfielder Diego Chara out due to a red card suspension, they were not playing at full strength. But still, they came out strong and confident from the opening kickoff. They looked great until Nicolás Lodeiro’s shot off a quick throw in. You probably remember that shot. The shot that led to Jake Gleeson’s “Save of the Week”-caliber diving effort.

Less than three minutes into the match, while Seattle was preparing to take their first corner of the game (which resulted in the Sounders goal), Fox Sports announcer John Strong said of Gleeson: “He’s been forced into more saves per 90 minutes than any goalkeeper since the beginning of last year.” Things that make you go hmmm.

And then came the goal.

After the goal, the game became a bit more balanced. Although for the most part, Portland did seem to keep possession and control the overall pace of the game throughout the first half. But the Timbers didn’t seem dangerous for most of that time. In fact, I believe it wasn’t until the 25th minute before fans heard the name Diego Valeri on the national television broadcast. Again, I have to point to the absence of Chara. Without Chara on the field, the Sounders knew they were much less likely to get punished for focusing on limiting the chances of Valeri.

Portland’s keeper handles more stress than any other keeper in the league? That’s a pretty disturbing idea. Also disturbing is that the Timbers have not scored a goal off of a corner kick this season. They are one of only five teams that can say that. That’s a miserable stat. 

So I guess it’s no surprise that the best missed chance of the game came off a corner. It happened in the 44th minute. How do I describe it? Hard to watch. In what was nearly a mirror image of Seattle’s early goal, defender Liam Ridgewell found himself alone in front of an empty net with the ball just barely out of reach.

The second best chance for the Timbers came in the 12th minute, when Darlington Nagbe picked off an errant square ball from Seattle’s Cristian Roldan and ran 60 yards with it, drawing the attention of the Sounders defense as Fanendo Adi made his run to Nagbe’s left. Entering the box, Nagbe’s final ball needed to be better. It was a second too late and Adi’s advantage was lost. There was one other solid chance for the Timbers, a cross into the box that Adi was unable to connect with.

Sebastian Blanco was one of the few bright spots in the match against the Sounders. I think they let him go. I think their plan was to make Blanco beat them, not Valeri, not Adi, not Nagbe. Not up the middle. Blanco played well, giving much needed width to the Timbers attack, but he did not have the deadly impact the Timbers needed in the final third. You may remember I had high hopes for Blanco as a goal scorer. I wasn’t the only one.

This past week, Matthew Doyle, MLS’ Armchair Analyst, said of Blanco: 

“This has been a good year for newcomers, but one who has not lived up to the billing is Timbers attacker Sebastian Blanco, who has just a single goal and a pair of assists in his first 1,000 MLS minutes. He’s looked much more of a pass-before-the-pass guy, and a useful shuttler of the ball, but not at all the type who can unlock a packed in defense.

This is pretty shocking to me, since Blanco was awesome for San Lorenzo and is, on paper, a perfect fit with the other Portland attackers.”

Looks like the Timbers have a few things to sort out as summer approaches.