2012 MLS Analysis
The Timbers already have one of the best fan bases in the MLS, but while that is their 12th man it remains to be seen if Portland can win on the road.
Last season they were horrid away from Portland going 1-3-4 in their last 8 road matches and that spell cost them a shot at the playoffs.
Last season the Timbers gave up 31 goals in the first half of the season and 17 in the 2nd half and they will have to key on that since they still have some issues on offense.
Portland enters the season a little banged up as Eddie Johnson, David Horst and José Adolfo Valencia will miss time and even star pickup FW Kris Boyd has missed time in the pre-season and his health this season is key.
Portland said goodbye to F Kenny Cooper, D Kevin Goldthwaite, F Ryan Pore, G Adin Brown, M Rodrigo Lopez, M Peter Lowry, and F Brian Umony.
Troy Perkins had a good season in goal, especially in the 2nd half of the season.
He had 9 shutouts in the season and he is known for coming through in the clutch and he will have to do so if the Timbers’ D plays like they did in the first half of last season.
One of the reasons Portland’s defense and offense was much improved in the 2nd half of the season was the improved play from Chara and Jewsbury and now that they have had a season together there is a lot expected from them this campaign.
The big news up front is the addition of striker Kris Boyd, who is the Scottish Premier League’s all-time leading scorer and the ex-Rangers player was not cheap, as the Timbers had to give up their first round pick in next season’s draft to get him.
MF Darlington Nagbe may be moved up since he came on strong on offense at the end of last season.
The D stepped up in the 2nd half of the season and can they keep up on that against a Western Conference that is better than it was last season?
That is a big question in Portland as the season approaches.
Head coach John Spencer was recently interviewed and said that even though the Timbers were an expansion team they had the talent to make the playoffs.
He keyed on the addition of Boyd, who gives the team a scorer in the box, which the Timbers lacked last season.
I think the Timbers will give the Seattle Sounders a legit competition for the Cascadia Cup, but I think that will be the only hardware they may get.
I see them being on the cusp of the playoffs, yet again, and this season I think they get in, but will lose in the first round.