The Heartbeat of the Timbers’ Defense
He is perhaps the most crucial part of the team, and one of the best in the league.
Yes, starting goalkeeper Troy Perkins who started out on a development contract in 2004 making $850 per month, worked his way up to goalkeeper of the year in 2006, and without him, the Portland Timbers may not find themselves in as many matches as they have.
Like many of the better players from the early 2000s, Perkins played for a developmental team during his college years. He then played at the University of South Florida for his first two collegiate seasons, before making the move to go to Evansville for his senior year.
All the while he was getting a ton of experience in a development league with the Cape Cod Crusaders.
After his time with Evansville and Cape Cod, he was signed to a contract with D.C. United. During the next four years he would eventually unseat Nick Rimando as the club’s first choice keeper.
But It was in the 2006 season where Perkins really took flight. He was named the Goalkeeper of the Year, a member of the Best XI team, and was named an All-Star during that campaign.
He would follow that season up with another phenomenal campaign in 2007, during which he posted a goals against average of just 1.10, including eight league-leading clean sheets.
Towards the end of 2007, Perkins became the first ever American to sign with a Norwegian club. His club of choice was Valerenga, which he agreed to a five-year pact.
The lofty keeper would not quite make it all five years though, playing just three seasons in Norway while making 53 appearances for the club before coming back to the states.
Back to the MLS
There were rumors that Dutch club, Feyenoord was looking to bring Perkins to Holland. More than a couple of French clubs tried to do the same, but nothing came of it. It was a somewhat complicated deal with the Philadelphia Union that ended up bringing him back to where it all started with D.C. United.
He made 18 appearances for United before finding his latest home with the Portland Timbers after the 2010 season had concluded.
He missed the club’s first six games due to injury in 2011, but he has been their first choice keeper ever since. Making 31 appearances during his current tenure with the club.
While many may know him for his time with United, and now the Timbers, Perkins is probably most known for his time with the United States Men’s National Team. However, he has never been a regular with the squad due to the presence of Tim Howard.
He did however, get his chance when the first team was off in South Africa playing in the Confederation Cup though. He was given the job as the first choice keeper for the United States in their Gold Cup journey with the B-team.
Perkins played quite well in their first four matches. Giving up only one goal in that time.
Then it was time to play a Mexican side that was at full strength. Needless to say, El Tri won that little match-up, with Perkins conceding an ugly five goals.
Other than that Gold Cup trial, he hasn’t featured in the first team plans aside from a couple of friendlies.
Nevertheless, his dominance and willingness to put it all on the line, has kept the Portland Timbers in the hunt for the MLS Cup every season.