Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Top-class Timbers host Western rivals
by Ridge Mahoney, February 21st, 2014 6:22PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

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
U.S. Abroad: Gooch faces three-month layoff    
Sunderland's Lynden Gooch, who made his English Premier League debut in August and U.S. national team ...
What They're Saying: Roberto Assis    
"It is a very difficult time. Later on, if there is a contact, we can talk. ...
Women's College Cup: Upstarts battle former champs    
The Division I women's season is down to its final weekend. Georgetown and West Virginia are ...
MLS Cup Countdown: Stars escape major injuries    
Both MLS Cup finalists had key players limp off in the second legs of the conference ...
MLS Preseason: Tournaments set at three sites    
The 2016 MLS season doesn't wrap up for another week, but teams are already finalizing plans ...
What They're Saying: Gareth Southgate    
"The days are gone from when I was younger where we did have beers after a ...
MLS Moves: Minnesota signs first two players    
MLS expansion team Minnesota United signed a pair of defenders -- Justin Davis and Kevin Venegas ...
Video Pick: Walcott controls ball dropped from 111 feet    
Arsenal's Theo Walcott has entered the Guinness World Records by controlling a ball dropped from 111 ...
MLS Awards: Pareja nips Mastroeni for Coach of the Year    
Sometimes the third time really is the charm. In his third year at the helm of ...
TV Report: Canadian classic breaks MLS viewing record    
An average audience of 1.4 million Canadian viewers watched Toronto FC's 5-2 overtime victory over the ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives