Timbers Notes: Unbeaten streak reaches double digits, Valencia shines, and more

ValenciaTimbers (Getty)

BY MIKE DONOVAN

In Portland’s first two seasons in the MLS, the Timbers longest unbeaten run was five games. But just one-third of the way into head coach Caleb Porter’s first season, his squad is rewriting the record book.

The club has already doubled their longest unbeaten streak in MLS having gone ten matches in a row without a defeat. Portland’s streak is also the longest in MLS this season.

Six times during the streak the Timbers have fallen behind, yet the club continues to get results.

“This team continues to do things that amaze me,” Porter said. “We’ve gone ten games without a loss, and throughout those ten games we’ve come from behind, some games by two goals.”

The streak has lifted the Timbers into the upper echelons of the Western Conference, an unfamiliar place for a club that failed to make the postseason in its first two seasons in MLS. After an offseason marked change, both with the coach and players on the field, 2013 has seen a team that has taken on a never-say-die attitude.

“We have a pretty special aura in our team right now,” Porter said. “This team just has that kind of never quit, refuse to lose (mentality). And you hope you can harness it in a team, and some teams never have it, this team has it.”

For a team that has had road struggles since debuting in 2011, the streak has been a revelation. More than half of the games (six) during the streak have been played away from Jeld-Wen Field. In fact, the six road results already best last season’s mark when Portland lost 12 of their 17 away matches.

Porter has also been impresses that his club is able to continue the streak on days when they are not firing on all cylinders.

“In the end, we’re getting results on days where we’re not at our best. That’s what you want,” Porter said. “That’s the mark of a good team. That’s the mark of a winning team.”

VALENCIA GETS A BOOST

Despite playing just 54 minutes of league action this season, Jose Adolfo Valencia has provided two plays that have helped the Timbers have their successful start.

The first was his cross against the New York Red Bulls that resulted in a Jamison Olave own goal and salvaged a draw in the club’s season opener. The second occurred Saturday when Valencia put home his first career MLS goal that gave Portland a tie against Cascadia rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps.

While Valencia has made just four appearances for the club, Porter says that is only because Valencia is type of player to insert when the club is “chasing games” and Portland hasn’t needed to chase many games this season.

“He gets rewarded for his hard work that he’s done at training,” Porter said. “We understand his talent. We are very excited about his future.”

The son of former MetroStar Adolfo Valencia, Valencia (whose nickname is El Trencito) is just 21-years old and has recovered nicely from knee surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2012 season. His game-tying goal against the Whitecaps was the first of what Porter hopes, is many for the Colombian.

“It gives us even more optimism for his future at the club,” Porter said.

McKENZIE SIGNS WITH TIMBERS

Portland announced Wednesday that the club had reached agreement with former Chivas USA player, Rauwshan McKenzie. McKenzie provides the club with much-needed centerback after injuries, suspensions, and international callups have left the Timbers reeling at the position.

McKenzie was originally drafted by Kansas City in 2008 and has played 31 league matches for three different MLS clubs. To make room for McKenzie on the roster, the club released Ryan Kawulok. Kawulok, who played his college soccer at the University of Portland, played in 14 reserve matches for the club, but never featured in a league match.

 

 

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12 Responses to Timbers Notes: Unbeaten streak reaches double digits, Valencia shines, and more

  1. Marco says:

    Seattle hosts Portland mid June in the USOC 4th round if the two teams get past their USOC opponents next week,

    Glorious!!!!!

  2. Wow.. 10 games unbeaten… that’s new record… it’s great to see as a Portlandia such fantastic results with our soccer team. Do we already know which players from Portland will be in the national team for the Brazil World Cup 2014 ? I have to watch the next football game live. Thank you very much for this article.

    • Twomilerule says:

      No Gringos on the Timbers roster on the USMNT radar. Remote chance of Nagbe but he is still Liberian and yet to receive a US passport. However, if Jamaica makes the WC Ricketts and Ryan Johnson will represent the Timbers. Rodney Wallace will also represent Costa Rica if they make the WC.

  3. Eurosnob says:

    It is really great to see. Give Porter a couple more years to build his team and Portland will dominate MLS opposition. His possession-oriented style gives Portland a huge advantage and once he assembles the right players for every position and they fully learn the system, it would be hard for other MLS teams to compete against them.

  4. skyman says:

    I just realized who Valencias father is. He played for the legendary Columbia team in the 90s. I remember Valencia beng amazing Against Argentina in 1993 World Cup qualification.

    Super exciting time To be A Timbers fan

  5. solles says:

    now they just need to dump the ajax USA kits

    • Josh says:

      You could say that with any jersey anywhere. They’ll always be another team that looks like them somewhere for almost every kit