State of the Team: Portland Timbers

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

A recent trip to Portland was all it took to see even some semblance of enthusiasm for the soon-to-be MLS Portland Timbers.

There were a couple of billboards in town. And at Fred Meyer, a variety store chain, Timbers scarves, T-shirts and beanies were for sale. The marketing arm of the club is doing its job.

The player personnel department is also working hard. Portland got off to a fast start building its roster with its first four player signings in October. A month later came the week of the expansion draft, and the Timbers were wheeling and dealing.

First came a trade with the New York Red Bulls, a third-round Superdraft pick for defender-midfieder Jeremy Hall. Then a deal with the L.A. Galaxy for an international player roster spot in exchange for allocation money.

That was two days before the expansion draft. On that day, Portland selected its 10 players, then after three trades — two involving players and allocation money — ended up with eight new players. Only one, Robbie Findley, is a true forward.

Clearly the team addressed a need for defense and defensive midfielders while keeping an eye toward the future in acquiring Superdraft picks. Technical director Gavin Wilkinson and coach John Spencer have more in store, with its added international player spot soon to be filled by a central midfielder or foreign striker with experience.

The Timbers signed attacking players in October and added fast, athletic and versatile defensive-minded players in November while managing to stay fairly young as a whole. Here's a look at their current roster:

Forward Eddie Johnson — Former Man. U. youth system player finished second in USSF-2 in goals last season while on loan to Austin Aztex. 

Forward Bright Dike — Big, physical striker was a major find for Portland after Columbus Crew, who chose him in 2010 Superdraft first round, gave up on Dike. 

Forward Robbie Findley — If he is persuaded to stay in MLS and not try his luck in Europe, U.S. World Cup team veteran and former Oregon State star could bolster Timbers' offense. Won MLS Cup with Real Salt Lake in 2009.

Midfielder Ryan Pore — USSF-2 scoring leader in 2010 has four seasons of MLS experience. He'll be an attacking midfielder on the wing, presumably, for Spencer.

Midfielder Adam Moffat — A central and holding midfielder from Scotland who has played in big games with the Columbus Crew. 

Midfielder Peter Lowry — Holding midfielder and attacker who won't cost the Timbers much. Scored five goals in 24 games over three seasons with Chicago Fire. 

Defender-midfielder Rodney Wallace — Timbers must think very highly of former D.C. United player, because they traded a quality expansion pick in Dax McCarty for him. Thirty-six starts over two seasons in D.C. with three goals and five assists.

Defender-midfielder Jonathan Bornstein –Bound for Mexico's Primera Division, but if it doesn't work out down there, could be worth the gamble.  

Defender-midfielder Jeremy Hall — Former Generation adidas player battled injury last season, but was a starter for Red Bulls early in 2010. 

Defender Jordan Graye — Right back who started 20 games for D.C. United last season as a rookie. 

Defender David Horst — Wilkinson knows Horst from USL/USSF-2 days when Horst did a good job locking down Dike for the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Defender Eric Brunner — 6-4 central defender chosen from Crew will get shot to start for Portland.

Goalkeeper Steve Cronin — Has four-plus seasons of MLS experience and it looks like he'll be the man between the posts after the past two years spent with the former lower-division Timbers. 

 

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53 Responses to State of the Team: Portland Timbers

  1. The Dude says:

    Counting the days until the Sounders embarrass this rag-tag assemblage of footballers.

  2. Murkage says:

    A team built for the future. Not necessarily 2011. No worries, supporters will pack the new stadium – best venue in the league save for the pitch.

  3. Colin says:

    I have to think that Portland goes after a better GK than Cronin. He was a disaster during his last stint in the MLS. If he does end up being the #1, I expect Portland to bleed goals regularly, even more than the usual expansion team.

  4. Colin says:

    If Portland can manage to talk Eddie Lewis out of retirement, it might be the other way around…

  5. Fredddddy says:

    Very excited about what the Timbers are doing now – everything right. Their fan base looks absolutely incredible. Though, as the previous comment suggested, Timers may not win in 2011, but they are definitely a team I see in the future representing the MLS globally. Best of luck Portland.

  6. Pitch Black says:

    I hope you realize his last stint in MLS was with DC United… and he played really well.

  7. jts says:

    Eddie Johnson will surprise- good size, aggressive, and scores

  8. MuTo says:

    Okay… TIMBERS and SOUNDERS fans, can we both agree that we have the BEST and GREATEST rivalry EVER in the history of league soccer in the US?

  9. TimbersJ says:

    Cronin played in MLS 3 years ago. Though he didn’t perform well, he was incredibly young and had an imposter for an LA defense. During his loan with DC United last year, he performed well. Over the course of watching him between the posts these past two seasons, I’ve watched him grow into a solid player and a leader for this club.

    My favorite Cronin moment came in the Northwest Derby two years ago. Sanna Nyassi was laying on the turf for minutes feigning injury to run time off the clock. Cronin walks over and screams for him to get up and be a man. That’s when Cronin became a real Timber.

    I can’t wait for next year. I encourage everyone to come to Portland and enjoy a day in Section 107 (or actually sections 105-108).

    Except Sounders and Whitecaps fans, of course.

  10. maka says:

    there’s an eddie johnson that scores goals?

    CAP HIM NOW!!!!!!!!!

  11. Zach S. says:

    – Dike — Findley —
    ————————
    – Pore ———- Hall –
    — Moffat —– Lowry —
    ————————
    – Brunner —— Graye –
    —- Horst — Wallace —
    ——- Cronin ———

    So they already have a base lineup, I guess.

  12. Charles says:

    No, I think Whitecaps Sounders is way better.

    And I am Sounders fan.

    I still hate Tino Lateri and it has been 25+ years.

  13. Tractor says:

    “best venue in the league save for the pitch”

    Isn’t that akin to saying a particular woman is incredibly gorgeous… from the shins down?

  14. ryan says:

    never thought i’d read that

  15. Ceez says:

    HAHA!!

    COUGHredbullarenaCOUGH

  16. k says:

    Portland fans think they invented soccer ffs.

  17. Big Chil says:

    LOL!

  18. MadKingGeorge says:

    It is that kind of thinking that will make the Timbers into the Los Angeles Clippers of the MLS.

  19. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    youre both wrong, wait til Montreal is in the league, itll be TFC-Limp act

  20. Colin says:

    Yeah, my bad. I guess he must have dominated in those three games he played for DCU in October, a team that missed the playoffs in 2009.

  21. J says:

    Boy that has to be one of the strangest attitudes toward a soccer stadium ever.

  22. Hopper says:

    The best venue in the league is a baseball stadium? I’ve been there. It sort of sucks for soccer. You must be smoking some of that fine Northwest bud.

  23. Me says:

    They already are the Clippers of the MLS.

  24. Me says:

    Agreed, Sounders-Caps is a better rivalry. It is competitive and you never really know who will win.

    Portland-Seattle is angry and bitter because Portland wants it to be that way. Portland has never been consistently successful against Seattle. However, I hope Portland will put a solid product on this field and make this rivalry better in future years.

  25. Tim M. says:

    That title definitely belongs to Chivas USA

    I wonder when we’ll find out what portland’s shirts are gonna be like. There has to be some sort of leak out soon, for a concept jersey or something

  26. Tim M. says:

    Red Bull arena is probably the best, but i f*cking hate Red Bull.

    They need to outlaw that sh*t Todd Margaret style.

  27. Tim M. says:

    LA’s defense was atrocious pretty much his whole time there.

  28. Tim M. says:

    I personally enjoy me some Dallas/Houston, but that one is probably the best we’ve seen in American soccer. Canada’s teams will be really enjoyable too. Next year Vancouver and Toronto are really gonna go at it.

  29. Kejsare says:

    NEVER WAS A BASEBALL STADIUM. Man I can’t correct enough internet posters to get that across. Stadium was built in 1926, the Beavers moved in to play in 1956. The horseshoe design was never fully completed for dog racing!

    Beyond that, it has seen soccer being played there going back to the 1890s. Most notably was the Lewis and Clark Expo in 1905.

  30. Kejsare says:

    The Clippers have not so hot attendance. Timbers do. Look across the river at the Blazer and you’ll see a stadium with one of the best full capacities and true attendance in the NBA year in and year out. Timbers may likewise do the same.

  31. Trillion says:

    Everybody knows Seattle invented soccer. If you don’t you haven’t been listening to their fans.

    And seattle takes Portland so seriously as a rival they even refuse to admit it out of fear they would give attention to the club they hate the most. Sick puppies up there in the PNW.

  32. Trillion says:

    Everybody knows Seattle invented soccer. If you don’t you haven’t been listening to their fans.

    And seattle takes Portland so seriously as a rival they even refuse to admit it out of fear they would give attention to the club they hate the most. Sick puppies up there in the PNW.

  33. Fred Garvin says:

    PDX nothing new.. still playing 2nd fiddle in the underdog orchestra

  34. RLW2020 says:

    I am assuming that they are going to bring in a DP or other signing somewhere in the midfield and maybe at centerback..

  35. D5ve says:

    December 9th.

  36. D5ve says:

    I’ll let the play on the field and the displays in the stands dictate where the best rivalries are.

  37. wildchild says:

    So be it… anything to make a Sounder feel a little bit better, forever jelous of his rivals to south.

  38. DomiNate says:

    It’s spelled jealous. Oregon school system FAIL.

  39. DomiNate says:

    Agreed. Oregon is the Jan Brady of the west coast, and we love making them feel like the awkward middle child between Cali and Washington.

    No way the White Caps rivalry is better. Everyone knows Canadians are too nice to take seriously.

  40. MuTo says:

    I think the point should be made that it will be the best atmosphere in MLS. Sure, Red Bull Arena has a nice stadium, but has a sucky fan base and poor attendance.

  41. Tim M. says:

    I think your mother failed. LOL

  42. Brian says:

    I don’t really give an eff. All I care is that it’s more of that craptastic turf. I think it’s cool and all that we’re gonna have 3 Northwest teams with good soccer fan bases but goddamn, can we get some real green stuff?

  43. Mhat says:

    Seeing lots of hate on this board. I don’t know how this lineup and next season will turn out but I am excited to see some great matches at PGE!

  44. JL says:

    They better go out and get some defenders who can start, I wouldn’t consider any of this group to be overly impressive. Hall and Wallace are growing into nice players on the outside, but I don’t think either are consistent performers. Brunner and Horst are not starters in MLS, but would be nice young depth. Forwards are a lot of unproven players, but sounds like they already have something in the mix to bring in more proven talents. Cronin could certainly use an older vet to push him, maybe even teach him a bit. Hanennman would be a nice addition to where he can start and tutor for a season, and rotate Cronin in from time to time.
    As it stands now, this certainly looks like a very typical expansion roster. Should be interesting to see how they fill out the rest.

  45. El Fur says:

    Hey Sounder fans. How is that whole voting thing working with your supporters and the front office. Have you guys voted on anything yet? I thought you guys were supposed to be the Barcelona of MLS with your democratic system. Alas you just realized what all of us have know for years. You are all just CUSTOMERS.

  46. Scott A says:

    Ha, watch some videos of Red Bull Arena this year. The atmosphere was fantastic and attendance one of the highest in the league even after a crappy decade or so. But then again, you used the word sucky, so not sure why I read any further. But thanks for projecting that the Timbers will have the best atmosphere in MLS, Nostradamus. What a joke.

  47. Scott A says:

    Too funny.

  48. Me says:

    So Fur, how are your Merritt Badges turning out. What a huge concession the TA earned you. Enjoy letting Merritt milk you for all your money.

  49. steve says:

    Merritt doesn’t make false promises. AND it seems we have the best dialogue between the front office and the supporter’s group.

  50. hacksaw vs. swaybar says:

    same sorry verbal diahrhea from the portland faithful. good luck guys.

  51. El Fur says:

    Well, actually, Merritt listened to our concerns and changed the design of our logo. The Timbers have also agreed to donate a percentage of the Timbers Army ticket sales to our supporter trust to help support local soccer. Recently the Timbers Army purchases Nike uniforms for our local inner city high school so their players could have proper kits. And we donated a large sum to help build a local playground for kids. Thats the difference between being a supporter and being a CUSTOMER>

  52. MuTo says:

    Umm, Charles, are you serious? Portland-Seattle rivalry is the longest rivalry ever in America. Plus it attracts way more fans than any other crappy Whitecaps game.

    And I’m a Sounders fan.

  53. IN says:

    Oh please… you automatically assume Portland has already finalized their squad and are ready to play. Let them get started on their feet and you’ll see them bring in plenty of talent in the next couple of months.