Inaugural season a success
Like a thrilling five-game winning streak to open their new digs, JELD-WEN Field, and when the Timbers stunned eventual MLS Cup champions the LA Galaxy with a 3-0 victory that ended the Galaxy’s league-high 14-game unbeaten streak.
And talk about individual performances.
How about when rookie Darlington Nagbe’s two juggle rocket made it passed KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen into the upper 90? The goal, which the video of eventually turned viral on various web site, was voted as MLS’ top strike of the season.
But Nagbe’s goal wasn’t the only play to make it to the MLS postseason awards list.
Troy Perkins’ game-saving diving stop against Chicago’s Marco Pappa in stoppage time, also made it to into the mix, finishing second only to a four-save sequences by Sounders keeper Kasey Keller in MLS Goal of the Year voting.
Then there’s Portland’s first-ever MLS All-Star, midfielder Jack Jewsbury, who turned out to be then main ingredient on a mostly inexperienced Timbers squad, finishing first on the team with eight assists and 22 points and second with seven goals. All career highs for the nine-year veteran.
However, the biggest surprise of the season was rookie midfielder Diego Chara who steadily improved to finish with two goals and four assists. He also became the first MLS-based Colombian to earn a national team call up in more than two years.
Despite the highs, there were also some disappointing lows, like a seven-game midseason winless streak–thanks in large part to rival the Seattle Sounders–and finishing the frantic end of season race, four points shy of New York for the final MLS Cup Playoffs spot.
Nevertheless, Portland’s 2011 season was a huge success, and the Timbers Army quickly became known around the league, giving us all, fantastic hope for the nest season.