The Timbers start all over again, as their first season long term goal fails. If you remember during their first year we were told it would take three years before we would see John Spencer’s vision of what the Timbers would look like. That all came to a end midway into last season. Now we have Caleb Porter running the ship with many new faces in Timber green.
But will the results be better then the past? So we look at the past a bit to get a better understanding what the future may hold. The first year I do not think any of us thought we would make a run into the playoffs and we fell short. We look at the players we had and I wondered why we had so many coming off injuries. Was Gavin getting players on the cheap side of things? Even Kenny Cooper was coming off a bad season in Germany. The weakness of the team was the center of the pitch and the outside back line. Midway into the first season we saw Spencer get two outside backs from Houston. They were not starters for Houston but still were better then what we had
So as the Timbers got ready for last season they unload Kenny Cooper as they felt he was not the right fit. They end up getting Chris Boyd who had done nothing after he left the Rangers in Scotland. Now do you see a pattern here? Oh and we did not address the center mid problem. Which was having someone who could feed the ball to our forwards to score. Now Cooper went to the Red Bull in New York and had a good year as he had players that got him the ball. Boyd lead the Timbers in scoring but he lost his spot starting once Spencer was gone. Oh and the two outside defenders we got from Houston? One was traded and the other saw limited minutes playing midfield. So we ended last season with two new outside defenders. One from Scotland who was looking for a team and the other who was a reserve for Colorado. The Timbers second year was worse then the first.
So we take a look at this season with our new coach and new faces in Timbers Green. Boyd is gone. Our two outside defenders and Songo, a fans favorite, are gone.
So lets talk about Songo. Songo came to Portland after much praise due to his background. It looked impressive other then he never played for a club for more then one season. There is a reason for this. If he is all that, as many Timber supporters feel he is, he would have been a starter for many years for one club. Again can you see a pattern here?
The moves to bring Will Johnson, Diego Valeri and Ryan Johnson seem to be better then what we have done in the past. I have always felt building a team from the center was what all teams needed to do to become successful. The Timber pick-up of Valeri seems to address their center mid short comings. The only thing of caution is Valeri had lost his starting role for his team he was playing for in Argentina. I hope this is not a pattern we have seen in the past.
Will Johnson is one of the first players that Timbers got off a MLS team that was a starter. Salt Lake is a very good organization and it is good to see that we got a starter off their team. Ryan Johnson was a starting forward for Toronto last season. Even with Toronto’s last place finish you can see Johnson competing for the starting forward for the Timbers. What everyone should be worried about is once again we picked up a reserve from Kansas City to fill one of the outside back roles in Michael Harrington. The other outside back role is Ryan Miller who was playing in Sweden for a club who was just promoted into the top division. What you have to realize here is second division in Sweden is not all that great.
Now last let us look at who is in camp. Mikaël Silvestre who is 35 but has played for Man U and Gunners. Rumors are he will not make the cut but why would the Timbers waste their time to have him on trial? I have not seen any glowing reports on him by our so called preseason experts on their Blogs but if he was not going to fit in the Timbers plans I think he would be gone by now and not going to Arizona. I saw on his tweet that he took in a Blazer game? I am sure the club was behind that and why would they do that for a guest? He may be the guy in center D that the Timbers are looking for to hold things together.
So in the end the Timbers do have a pattern that may have a hiccup this season thus may lead to a better result. So the pattern that I keep referring to is our go to guy Gavin Wilkinson brings in players who have just come off a horrid season. Or coming off an injury or is a reserve off another team. That folks is a pattern he has stuck with the first two seasons. This season is the first time we have seen any breaks in that pattern. I have a lot of faith in Porter and I do hope his leadership bring good things for the Timbers. For all of our ex players I do wish them the best. To our current players, let’s get it done.