Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Top-class Timbers host Western rivals
by Ridge Mahoney, February 21st, 2014 6:22PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PRESEASON: Rose City Invitational] With a new name on its stadium, Portland hosts a preseason tournament that features Western Conference rivals San Jose and Vancouver as well as a top Jamaican club, Portmore United, from the homeland of several Timbers players and the Quakes’ Atiba Harris.

Portland was the only one of the three teams to make the playoffs last year, and so consistently impressive were the Timbers that they finished first. The teams will play a round-robin schedule at three doubleheaders that conclude a week from Saturday at Providence Park (formerly Jeld-Wen Field).

Sunday schedule:
Game 1: Vancouver vs. Portmore United, 5:30 p.m. ET
Game 2: Portland vs. San Jose, 8 p.m.
(At Providence Park.)

PORTLAND TIMBERS.
What needs sorting out. Not much was lost from last year’s surprise success, but powerful forward Ryan Johnson has departed. 2013 Coach of the Year Caleb Porter has auditioned offseason signing Gaston Fernandez, who has not only provided some heft up front but also displayed a willingness to pressure defenders as the Porter system demands. Fernandez didn’t score yet notched two assists in the four exhibitions Portland played in Arizona.

The back line is being tweaked. Norberto Paparatto, like Fernandez a native of Argentina, is getting time at centerback. There’s a spot open with the offseason retirement of Mikael Silvestre and though the Gambian Wall of "Futty" Danso and Pa Modou Kah was solid most of the time last year, Porter likes his defenders to play the ball out of the back and he believes Paparatto has that capability. So does is Jorge Villafana, the former Chivas USA left back who got some time in preseason when Michael Harrington was with the U.S. national team.

Beyond those elements, Porter is getting a long look at yet another Argentine, Maximiliano Urruti, who scored one goal in five games after being traded midseason by Toronto FC, which had signed him as a Young Designated Player. The Argentine continent is led by playmaker Diego Valeri, who led the team last year by scoring 10 goals and notching 13 assists.

Preseason results: Sporting KC 1-1, Houston 2-0, Seattle 0-0, Indy Eleven 1-0.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES.
What needs sorting out. A strong finish to the 2013 season didn’t deter head coach Mark Watson from invoking changes, and the effects have shown: the Quakes lost both games in Arizona and also fell to the Galaxy last week in Fresno. Watson is tinkering with elements as disparate as U-18 academy defender Josh Morton, who headed home San Jose’s goal against the Galaxy, former Ajaccio captain Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and longtime MLS veteran Atiba Harris as he revamps a squad that lost right back Steven Beitashour, left back Justin Morrow, midfielder Rafael Baca and winger Marvin Chavez during the offseason.

Midfielder J.J. Koval, a Stanford product selected last month with the No. 9 overall SuperDraft pick, signed a contract this week. He’s pushing veteran Sam Cronin for a central spot though Watson is also using them together. Andreas Goerlitz is one of several candidates to replace Beitashour, and Watson must also plan for the long absences of centerbacks Victor Bernardez and Clarence Goodson during the World Cup. There’s great opportunity for defender Ty Harden, who sat out the 2012 season for personal reasons and missed most of 2013 because of injury. His performances in Portland will be closely watched.

Preseason results: Seattle 1-2, Houston 1-3, Los Angeles 1-2.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS.
What needs sorting out. Questions dot the roster as head coach Carl Robinson prepares for his first season in charge at any level. The forward line is in flux: oft-injured Omar Salgado scored twice and played on the left side against Indy Eleven, Kekuta Manneh returned to full training a week ago after battling through nagging injuries, Erik Hurtado played as a lone forward during three games in Arizona, Kenny Miller’s contract expires in June and he’d like a new one, Darren Mattocks is still trying to justify his selection as No. 2 pick in the 2012 SuperDraft.

The back line is also under renovation. First-round draft pick Christian Dean is dueling for a spot in the middle with veterans Andy O’Brien, presuming that captain Jay DeMerit will get the call most of the time even at age 34. Carlyle Mitchell replaced Dean at halftime of a preseason game against Seattle and scored Vancouver’s only goal, set up by another newcomer, Nicholas Mezquida, in a 2-1 defeat. Ex-Quake Beitashour allows Robinson to keep Nigel Reo-Coker in his regular midfield spot, but what role will be filled by Gershon Koffie is under review.

Preseason results: Indy Eleven 3-2, Seattle 1-2, Seattle 1-2, University of Victoria 1-0.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
2014 W-League All-League Team    
[AWARDS] Two midfielders from the regular-season champion LA Blues -- Mele French and Sarah Killion -- ...
The Chicago Daily News    
[THE PITCH] The relocation of U.S. women's national team star Christen Press from Sweden to the ...
Pep Guardiola: Julian Green deserves Bayern shot    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] On a Bayern Munich team featuring six German World Cup champions, plus a host ...
Squads picked for Denmark and Mexico tourneys    
[USA UNDER-17 MEN] U.S. under-17 men's national team head coach Richie Williams named two rosters for ...
A sweet side-volley from Berbatov    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov's latest spectacular goal provided the gamewinner for Monaco over Colombia's ...
What They're Saying: Neymar    
"I think Brazilian soccer is behind. It's behind Germany and Spain. We've slipped behind and we ...
Arsenal players practice speaking New Yorkese    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] In preparation for their visit to the U.S. Northeast, where they'll ...
MLS Goals of the Week    
[VIDEO PICK] Well-placed long-distance shots, including Benny Feilhaber's gamewiiner for Kansas City over Columbus, dominate Week ...
Report: Julian Green will join Bayern tour    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] A Bayern Munich spokesperson confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that Julian Green will be in the ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 19] D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City posted wins to stay right behind leader ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives