Darlington Nagbe named to U.S. Men's National Team roster for January camp

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Portland Timbers

Darlington Nagbe named to U.S. Men's National Team roster for January camp

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe has been called into camp with the U.S. Men’s National Team for the team’s annual January training camp from Jan. 10-Feb. 3, it was announced today. Players will report to the U.S. Soccer National Training Center on Jan. 10, and the camp will include training in Carson, Calif., as well as friendlies against Serbia on Sunday, Jan. 29, and versus Jamaica on Friday, Feb. 3.

Head coach Bruce Arena and the U.S. Men’s National Team will open training camp at the National Training Center in preparation for the team’s first two matches of 2017. The United States will kick off 2017 with its opening contest of the year against Serbia on Jan. 29 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., beginning at 1 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and UniMas. The United States will then travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., to square off against Jamaica on Feb. 3, at Finley Stadium at 4 p.m. (Pacific). The Feb. 3 match will be broadcast live on FS1 and UniMas (simulcast on UDN).

Nagbe has earned 10 caps on the international stage with the United States, including three appearances in the 2016 Copa America Centenario, playing against Colombia and Argentina.Nagbe recorded his first international goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a 1-0 victory against Ecuador on May 25, 2016, scoring the game-winning goal in the 90th minute. Nagbe made his debut for the United States during 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying on Nov. 13, 2015, playing 26 minutes as a substitute in a 6-1 win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

In 2016, Nagbe made 27 regular-season appearances (27 starts) for the Timbers, notching five assists, which ranked tied for the second-most on the team. Since joining Portland in 2011, Nagbe has made 187 appearances (176 starts), ranking him first in games played for the team across all eras (since 1975).

Portland Timbers have the most dangerous attack in MLS

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USA Today

Portland Timbers have the most dangerous attack in MLS

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There has been a small contingent of soccer analysts that have been very vocal about the strength of the Portland Timbers attack coming into this season. Expectations were high going into opening day, and a 5-1 victory over Minnesota United showed that indeed, this team was ready to score goals. After three games now, they are showing no signs of stopping.

As it stands, the Timbers sit in first place and remain one of only five unbeaten teams in the league. They are also the only team to win their first three matches. FC Dallas has two wins and a draw and Orlando City has two wins, but have only played two matches (their March 11 match against the New England Revolution was postponed due to winter weather concerns in southern New England). Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC have each started the season with one win and two draws.

The Timbers added another convincing win on Sunday against Houston. Going into the half, the Timbers were trailing 2-1 after conceding a goal late in stoppage time, but answered with three second half goals to come away with the 4-2 victory. Valeri turned in another impressive performance, scoring two goals, while Adi sealed the game with a lovely, patient goal in the 88th minute.

Valeri and Adi were on from the start, combining on a give and go that set up a Valeri shot within the first 20 seconds of the game. The two would go on to have four shots each. The Timbers attack created a lot of chances in the first half, but only came away with a single goal, while the defense let two slip through. After the half, though, it was all Timbers. Three second half goals lead to a convincing win against the strongest opponent the Timbers have faced so far.

In addition to three victories, the Timbers also see two of their stars sitting in the number two and three spots in the race for the 2017 Golden Boot, awarded to the league’s top scorer each year. Diego Valeri is second in the league in scoring with four goals, and Fanendo Adi is tied for third with four other players who have also notched three goals so far this season. It should be noted that one of those players, Cyle Larin, has done so in only two games so far for Orlando City. Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez has five goals in three games, including in a hat trick in a 6-1 thrashing of Minnesota United in a snowstorm last week. Minnesota also played a major role in the Timbers’ scoring efforts, with Valeri and Adi each scoring two goals in a 5-1 victory on opening day at Providence Park.

Their current form is not only clearly showing that they have two of the most dynamic and prolific scorers thus far in 2017, but is also making the case that the Timbers have the most dangerous attack in MLS.

Top 5 can't miss Portland Timbers home games of 2017

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Top 5 can't miss Portland Timbers home games of 2017

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We all know it’s a long season and every match counts. But let’s be honest: Some games are just a hell of a lot more fun to see in person. In case you don’t know, every home match is going to be a sellout. With all the season ticket holders in attendance, there are only a handful of tickets available for each game. The bigger the game, the more difficult it is to get a seat, especially at the last minute. So impress a date, give the most memorable birthday present of the year, or just grab your best friend and go.

Superstars, hated rivals and new franchises make up the marquis matches this year at Providence Park. Whether you’re a die-hard member of the Timbers Army or can only make it to a few games this season, here are the ones you just can’t miss:

OPENING DAY
Friday, March 3, 2017
Minnesota United FC

Be a part of history. This is the inaugural season for MNUFC in MLS, and the Timbers have the distinct honor of hosting the Loons on Opening Day. Minnesota recently signed Trinidad and Tobago star Kevin Molino, formerly of Orlando City, and he’ll be out to prove that he’s one of the best attackers in the league. This is a nationally televised match, and Minnesota will be looking to make history. Get your tickets early. Like, now!

Sunday, May 14, 2017
Atlanta United FC

Like Minnesota, this is also Atlanta’s first year in MLS. Let me tell you: If you have to pick only one game to go to this year (besides the Sounders game), this is it. Atlanta is looking to be a powerhouse right out the gate. They are spending a ton of money on international stars and don’t plan on coming in to MLS to lose. This is another one for the history books. My prediction: Atlanta makes the Eastern Conference playoffs in their first year in the league. Can the Timbers slow them down? Get out there and see for yourself.

Sunday, June 25, 2017
Seattle Sounders FC

This is nothing less than the Game of Thrones. King of the NW is at stake. David vs Goliath. If you can only make it to one game this year, this is it. The Sounders come in as the reigning MLS Cup champs, and you’d better believe that the Timbers and the Timbers Army are going to come out to dethrone them, especially after the smack talk by Clint Dempsey at the Sounders MLS Cup victory rally in Seattle. Regardless of where either team is in the table at this point in the year, this is going to be THE game to see.

Sunday, August 20, 2017
New York Red Bulls

The New York Red Bulls are the best team in the Eastern Conference without a Cup to show for it. They haven’t had much luck in the playoffs, but no team has been more consistent at staying atop the table over the course of the past few years. This is a great chance to see one of the all-time great attackers in MLS, Bradley Wright-Phillips. Wright-Phillips has been the league’s leading goal-scorer in two of the last three years. Last year he scored 24 goals to take the Golden Boot. Meanwhile, his teammate Sasha Kljestan led the league with 20 assists. The duo also finished in second and third place in the MVP race in 2016. Kljestan is currently representing the US National Team in their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This is a rare occasion to catch an Eastern Conference powerhouse and to see some of the best stars playing the game today.

DECISION DAY
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

The final match of the season and the final match in this year’s Cascadia Cup shootout just happens to be the final match on my can’t miss list. If you’ve never been to Providence Park for a rivalry game, you are in for a treat. Not only that, but it’s Decision Day, the final day of the season when playoff dreams are fulfilled and crushed all in a matter of hours. This is a rematch of last year’s Decision Day match, when the Whitecaps crushed the Timbers playoff dreams, leaving them as the first defending MLS champs since the 2006 LA Galaxy to miss the playoffs the year after taking the Cup. To add insult to injury, Vancouver clinched the Cascadia Cup at the same time. This will be one for the ages!

Portland Timbers defender Nat Borchers announces retirement

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USA Today

Portland Timbers defender Nat Borchers announces retirement

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers defender Nat Borchers today announced that he will retire from professional soccer after a distinguished 14-year playing career. One of only 14 players to play 340 games in MLS history, Borchers concludes his playing career with two MLS Cup championships (2009, 2015) and MLS Best XI honors (2010). Borchers, who spent two seasons with the Timbers, will be recognized at Providence Park during Portland’s home match against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, March 18.

Borchers will continue his association with the Timbers as part of the club’s broadcast team, while also remaining actively involved with the club’s community platform, Stand Together. 

“I have given the game everything and will step away extremely grateful to have played 14 professional seasons. While this decision was tremendously difficult, I am proud of my contribution to this chapter of Major League Soccer,” Borchers said. “I played for three well-respected MLS clubs, experienced playing abroad, and made some incredible relationships. To be a professional athlete is a privilege, but I didn’t get here alone. Thank you to my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and fans for their support throughout my career. I am excited for the future challenges that await.”

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Borchers, 35, made 386 professional appearances over 14 seasons, including 340 games played in MLS (339 starts). Originally acquired by the Colorado Rapids in 2003, Borchers started in all but one of his 340 regular-season appearances in MLS and logged over 2,000 minutes in 11 consecutive seasons (2003-2015), compiling 30,259 regular-season minutes played in his MLS career. One of only six field players in MLS history to play at least 30,000 minutes (tied for 5th), Borchers is tied for sixth all-time in MLS for regular-season starts. Additionally, Borchers has made 11 trips to the postseason, including seven consecutive seasons with Real Salt Lake (2008-2014), compiling 29 postseason games played (29 starts) with three different MLS clubs.

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“Signing Nat Borchers prior to the 2015 season was a pivotal moment for the club, and his contributions in helping us win an MLS Cup were massive,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We wish Nat all the best and congratulate him on a fantastic playing career.”

Borchers joined Portland ahead of the 2015 campaign in a trade between the Timbers and Real Salt Lake. In his first season with the club, Borchers helped guide the Timbers to their first-ever MLS Cup championship, appearing in 31 regular-season games (31 starts) before playing in each of the Timbers’ six games in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In his final season with the club, Borchers made 21 appearances (21 starts) in 2016, scoring one goal and logging 1,812 minutes, before suffering a season-ending injury.

“Nat Borchers will forever be etched in Portland Timbers history for the role he played in helping the club win the 2015 MLS Cup." said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “More than that, he’s shown throughout his career with every club that he’s a first-class professional, on and off the pitch. We look forward to his continued involvement with the Timbers."

Beginning his career in 2003, Borchers made 83 appearances for the Colorado Rapids from 2003-2005, before transferring to Norwegian first-division club Odd Grenland. In two seasons with Odd Grenland, (now known as Odds BK) in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, Borchers made 42 league appearances from 2006-07 before returning to MLS in 2008 to join Real Salt Lake.

While with RSL, the center back appeared in 205 regular-season matches and 19 MLS Cup Playoffs games, as well as both legs of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League final, scoring a goal in the first leg against Mexican club Monterrey. Borchers made 13 appearances in CONCACAF Champions League play for RSL during the 2010-11 and 2012-13 editions of the tournament.

At the international level, Borchers earned three caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, making his senior international debut on March 9, 2005, in a 3-0 friendly win against Colombia. Borchers’ most recent national team appearance came as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 friendly win against South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010. Prior to his professional career, the defender also played four seasons with the University of Denver from 1999-2002.

Darlington Nagbe showing signs of promise with USMNT

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USA Today Photos

Darlington Nagbe showing signs of promise with USMNT

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Three months ago, Portland Timber Darlington Nagbe’s future with the United States Men’s National Soccer Team looked bleak. Following a semi-public spat with former USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann, Nagbe’s international career appeared to be over. In the January 29th  friendly, he earned his first start in his eleventh career appearance and was named “Man of the Match” in a 0-0 draw against an inexperienced Serbian side.

Luckily for Nagbe, shortly after he declined Klinsmann’s call-up for two 2016 friendlies, the manager was fired and replaced by Bruce Arena. Under Arena, Nagbe was afforded a fresh start and was invited to January camp with the team. In Arena’s first match as manager since 2006, he gave Nagbe the nod for his first start.

In Sunday’s match, Nagbe was one of few bright spots in an overall dull performance as the team struggled to find the net. He flourished attacking from the left wing, a position that Arena and Timbers coach Caleb Porter recently agreed is where he is best suited.

While unable to finish, Nagbe provided the most dangerous scoring opportunities for the team, narrowly missing two shots wide in the first half. He was the most persistent attacking threat and provided timely help on defense when needed. Nagbe was constantly involved, just unable to capitalize and secure the win.

Moving forward with the USMNT, Nagbe’s future is promising. He will have another opportunity to impress Arena in a February 3 friendly against Jamaica. If his outstanding play continues, he will likely remain with the team for World Cup qualifying matches against Honduras (March 24) and Panama (March 28).

As is the nature of the January Camp, Sunday’s roster was made up solely of domestic players. In the World Cup qualifiers, Nagbe will face stiffer competition for minutes as team members playing in foreign leagues return. If he continues the offensive production seen in the Serbian friendly, he will surely find a role to play with the full squad.

One final timely tidbit—Darlington Nagbe, who as an infant fled war-torn Liberia, was a refugee who gained US citizenship in 2015. To be clear, Nagbe is not be effected by the recent Executive Order on Immigration, but many on social media made note of the fact that a refugee was leading the USMNT days after the government took actions to prevent those in similar situations from entering the country. Nagbe received an outpouring of support, which increased as his exceptional play became apparent.

When asked about Michael Bradley’s comments regarding the Executive Order, Nagbe elaborated,per Scott French of fourfourtwo.com:

“At one point, I was a refugee, and my mother was a refugee, so I can only imagine. I mean, I know the pain that [refugees are]feeling this moment. When we moved to this country [on a visa, after escaping to Sierra Leone], it was one of the best things that ever happened to us, and me just being here, being able to represent the country is a dream come true for myself and my mother and my entire family.”

With support for Nagbe at an all-time high and while protests against the Executive Order continue in Portland, it’s safe to say that he will be greeted with open arms when he returns to Oregon to join the Timbers for the MLS season.

Portland Timbers home game experience one of the best in all of American sports

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USA Today

Portland Timbers home game experience one of the best in all of American sports

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Think it’s been tough getting tickets to a Portland Timbers’ home game in the past? The fact that they won the MLS Cup in 2015 certainly didn’t make it any easier. Well, things are about to get a whole lot worse. Stadium Journey Magazine just voted Providence Park, the Timbers’ home turf, the 11th best place to watch a sporting event in America.

Staff members from SJM visited 761 professional, minor league and college stadiums throughout the country and put together what they consider the “top 100 stadium experiences”. This list has a little bit of everything. We’re talking baseball, football, soccer, hockey, auto racing, the Kentucky Derby and somehow even one professional lacrosse arena snuck in there.

For anyone who has ever seen a Timbers game up close, this high praise should come as no surprise, but still, it’s nice to see Portland soccer up there with American sports icons Camden Yard and the Daytona 500.

The magazine calls the stadium “a facility that combines the past and present and merges it into a one-of-a-kind facility.” But Providence Park, which has been around since 1926, couldn’t possibly be one-of-a-kind without the Timbers Army and the rest of fans that make the Timbers game day experience truly unique.

The Timbers have sold out every single home game since entering MLS in 2011. That’s over 100 straight sellouts, folks. That’s passion. That’s Portland. In May 2015, Justin Surber, Oregon Sports News writer, wrote, “a Timbers game at Providence Park is a near-perfect representation of the city of Portland and its character (and characters)”.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Moda Center made the list at #31, and the Oregon Ducks’ Autzen Stadium came in at #86. And then there’s those damn Sounders again. Seattle Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field made the list at #29.

The rivals up north have been setting MLS attendance records since entering the league in 2009. The Sounders averaged twice as many fans at their games in 2016 than the Timbers. That’s an average of 42,636 soccer fans. At a soccer game. In America. Wow. It should come as no surprise, though, which game boosted that average up the most. Yup, you guessed it. Portland Timbers. On Aug 21 last season, the Sounders/Timbers rivalry game drew 53,302 rabid fans to the Clink.

Providence Park seats 21,144 fans. Not going to be catching up to any Sounders attendance records anytime soon, but here’s the good news: The Oregonian reported that expansion is a potential in the near future. The bad news, is that expansion doesn’t seem anywhere near enough supply to keep up with the every-increasing demand. With a seating capacity of 21,144 and a wait list for season tickets at nearly 13,000, the idea of adding an additional 3,’500 seats already feels like way too little, not nearly soon enough.

When you start to think about it, though, is adding even one more seat to the stadium really good news? Like a pot ready to boil over, the intense atmosphere at Timbers games thrives on the intimate nature of Providence Park. I know it’s weird in this day-in-age to ignore the market and refuse to expand, but as far as the Timbers go, I’d much rather they do nothing but Keep Portland Weird.

Portland Timbers sign free-agent defender Chance Myers

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USA Today

Portland Timbers sign free-agent defender Chance Myers

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today that the club has signed free-agent defender Chance Myers. Myers, who has made over 140 regular-season appearances in MLS, joins the Timbers ahead of the 2017 campaign after spending the past nine seasons with Sporting Kansas City.

Originally drafted by Kansas City as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, Myers, 29, has appeared in 147 regular-season games (114 starts) during his nine-year MLS career with Sporting KC. Additionally, Myers has made 10 postseason appearances (10 starts), including five games (5 starts) during Sporting Kansas City’s MLS Cup run in 2013.

“Chance is a proven MLS player, and his experience and qualities both on and off the field will help strengthen the club,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “His addition reflects a primary objective of ours to bring in starting-caliber players to, in turn, provide more depth within our squad.”

Myers won two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophies (2012, 2015) and an MLS Cup title (2013) during his time with Sporting Kansas City, recording an assist in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup final and converting a penalty kick in Sporting KC’s 2013 MLS Cup victory over Real Salt Lake.

"One of our main goals this offseason was to increase competition and add more cover in every position,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “Chance Myers will be a good fit in our system and provides attacking and defending balance to the right back position. Chance is also another piece that will raise the level and compete for his minutes, and with this signing we feel our roster is in a good spot in that role."

Myers, who was Sporting Kansas City’s longest tenured player in 2016, has tallied two goals and 16 assists in regular-season play as a defender in MLS, also recording three seasons (2011-2013) with 27 or more games played in MLS.

Internationally, Myers represented the U-18 and U-20 U.S. Men’s National Teams and was called into the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team January camp, training for three weeks with the squad including a two-week period in Brazil. Collegiately, the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native played two seasons at UCLA, appearing in 42 games and earning All-Pac-10 honors in 2007.

Transaction: Portland Timbers sign free-agent defender Chance Myers on Jan. 23, 2017

Chance Myers
Position: Defender
Height: 6-0
Weight: 165
Born: Dec. 7, 1987, in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Last Club: Sporting Kansas City
College: UCLA
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Signed on Jan. 23, 2017

TIMBERS FALL 4-1 AGAINST WHITECAPS, MISS PLAYOFFS

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USATI

TIMBERS FALL 4-1 AGAINST WHITECAPS, MISS PLAYOFFS

In their final match of the 2016 regular season, the Portland Timbers fell 4-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC before 24,083 fans at BC Place on Sunday afternoon. Midfielder Diego Valeri tallied a goal midway through the second half for the Timbers, recording a career-high 14th MLS goal in 2016.

After conceding a pair of goals in the first half, and two additional finishes in a two-minute stretch early in the second half, the Timbers found the back of the net from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute when Valeri converted, sending goalkeeper David Ousted the opposite direction. The Timbers earned the penalty kick when midfielder Jack Barmby was brought down after combining with Adi inside the area.

The finish, Valeri’s 14th goal in 2016, signified an MLS career-high for the midfielder, and the eighth-most in MLS this season, as the Timbers become just the 10th team in league history to have multiple players score 14 or more goals in the same season with forward Fanendo Adi scoring 16 times in league play. On the defensive end, goalkeeper Jake Gleeson recorded three saves in the match against Whitecaps FC, extending his season tally to 112 saves in 28 games played, a save total that ranked as the third-most saves in MLS this season.

With the result, the Timbers conclude their 2016 season with a 12-14-8 record (44pts).

With both teams taking an aggressive approach to start the match, Vancouver (10-15-9, 39pts) managed to open the scoring in the 13th minute of play when defender Fraser Aird’s cross found its way to midfielder Giles Barnes, who quickly struck a powerful shot into the top right corner from just inside the 18-yard box. Four minutes later, the Timbers responded in the attacking third when Valeri’s through ball released midfielder Lucas Melano away from goal, with the midfielder firing a shot that forced a strong save from Ousted, producing a corner for Portland.

In the 19th minute, Portland created its strongest chance of the half when midfielder Darren Mattocks powered his way into the box, playing a quick cross to the near post to Adi. Using his body to hold up the ball inside the six-yard box, Adi turned and fired a strike that rattled off the post, with the ball rebounding to Melano, who had his follow-up attempt saved by Ousted from four yards away.

With less than 15 minutes remaining in the first half, Whitecaps FC doubled their lead when Barnes won the ball just outside the area, driving into the box before curling a shot into the bottom right corner to record his second goal of the game.

Approaching halftime, the Timbers created another chance on goal in the 37th minute when Valeri’s floated cross into the box landed to midfielder Jack Jewsbury, who had his first-time effort blocked by the Whitecaps FC defense, while Barmby’s chance in the 50th minute forced a strong save by Ousted. One minute later, Valeri and Barmby combined on a short corner, with Valeri driving into the box from the endline before playing a dangerous pass across the face of the goal, forcing a difficult clearance from the Whitecaps FC defense.

Three minutes later, Whitecaps FC tallied a pair of goals in a two-minute stretch to extend its lead, with midfielder Pedro Morales scoring a powerful strike in the 54th minute, before Nicolas Mezquida managed to convert on the counter attack in the 55th minute.

Sunday’s match marked the final MLS contest for Jewsbury and Ned Grabavoy, who both recently announced their decision to retire following the 2016 campaign. Jewsbury and Grabavoy rank as just two of 39 players in league history to play 300 or more MLS games, with Jewsbury ranked ninth (352) and Grabavoy ranked 39th (301).  

Notes:

  • Diego Valeri scored his 14th goal of the season for the Timbers, which is a career high for the midfielder. Valeri concludes the season tied for the eighth-most goals scored in MLS this season. 
  • With the finish, Portland is the 10th team in MLS history to have multiple players score 14 or more goals in the same season with forward Fanendo Adi (16) and Valeri (14) accomplishing the feat.
  • With four chances created in the match, Valeri finished 2016 with 89 chances created, the second-highest total in MLS behind only New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan. 
  • Jake Gleeson finished the season with 112 saves, which is tied for third-most in 2016.
  • Jack Jewsbury played in his 157th regular-season match for Portland, ranking as the fourth-most matches played in Timbers history across all eras of the club (since 1975). Jewsbury, who is retiring, finishes his MLS career with 352 regular-season games played, which is ninth-most in MLS history.
  • Gbenga Arokoyo made his debut for the Timbers, entering the game as a second-half substitute. 

TIMBERS FALL 1-0 AGAINST COLORADO RAPIDS

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USATI

TIMBERS FALL 1-0 AGAINST COLORADO RAPIDS

Playing their third away match in a one-week span, the Portland Timbers fell 1-0 against the Colorado Rapids before 17,554 fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.

The result marked the Timbers’ first loss against the Rapids in the last seven regular-season games played between the two teams, dating back to the 2014 MLS campaign, with both teams previously drawing 0-0 at Dicks Sporting Goods Park earlier this season on July 4. Portland and Colorado will face each other for the final time during the 2016 regular season on Oct. 16 at Providence Park, following a FIFA international window next weekend.

Portland (11-13-8, 41pts) opened the match against the Rapids aggressively, creating several chances to score in the first half. In the fifth minute of play, the Timbers produced a strong chance on goal when midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Ned Grabavoy combined on the edge of the box, creating an opening for midfielder Diego Valeri, who struck a powerful first-time chance that went just high of the target.

Less than 10 minutes later, Nagbe broke free down the right wing and ventured into the 18-yard box, before driving a cross toward the goal, just missing forward Fanendo Adi at the near post in the 13th minute of play.

Approaching halftime, Portland created another clear chance when Adi held up the ball on the edge of the box, laying it off for Valeri. Anticipating Adi’s touch, Valeri quickly pounced on the ball before hitting a dipping strike, forcing a strong save from Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 33rd minute. Three minutes later, defender Alvas Powell slipped a pass into the box, finding Valeri on the far right side of the area. After taking a touch, Valeri produced a low, precise effort that rattled off the far post after beating Howard.

In the second half, Colorado (13-5-12, 51pts) managed to open the scoring in the 63rd minute when Marlon Hairston’s pass into the box found its way to forward Sebastien Le Toux, who curled his effort into the bottom right corner to give the home side a 1-0 edge midway through the second half. Continuing to press forward, Portland responded strongly two minutes later when Grabavoy found space inside the box and fired a strong effort, forcing a sliding block from the Rapids defense.

Next up, Portland will return to league play on Sunday, Oct. 16, following a FIFA international window, taking on the Rapids at Providence Park at 2 p.m. (Pacific).

Notes:

  • Saturday’s match marked the Timbers’ first regular-season loss against the Rapids in the last seven games played between the two teams, dating back to the 2014 MLS campaign.
  • The Timbers are now 8-2-3 in regular-season matches during the month of October, dating back to the 2013 season.
  • Midfielder Jack Jewsbury played in his 350th MLS regular-season match, becoming the 10th player in league history to reach that milestone. 
  • Midfielder Ned Grabavoy became the 39th player in MLS history to appear in 300 matches. 
  • Midfielders Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe each made their 174th start with the Timbers, ranking tied for the most by any MLS player with a single club since the beginning of the 2011 season. 
  • Midfielder Diego Valeri registered five shots in the match, becoming the fifth player in MLS to attempt 60 shots during the 2016 season. 

TIMBERS FALL 3-1 ON THE ROAD AGAINST HOUSTON DYNAMO

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USATI

TIMBERS FALL 3-1 ON THE ROAD AGAINST HOUSTON DYNAMO

Despite a finish from midfielder Diego Valeri early in the second half, the Portland Timbers fell 3-1 against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night. The goal marked Valeri’s 13th in league play this season, and second in as many matches, with the midfielder ranked tied for the sixth-most goals scored in MLS this season.

The result snapped the Timbers’ three-game unbeaten run against the Dynamo in league play (2-0-1), dating back to June 20, 2015, with Portland (11-12-8, 41pts) defeating Houston 3-2 at Providence Park in the first matchup of the 2016 season between the two clubs on June 26.

Despite Portland opening the match on the strong foot with several chances, including a close-range header from defender Steven Taylor in the second minute of play, Houston (7-11-11, 32pts) managed to take the lead in the 34th minute when the referee pointed to the penalty spot, signaling for a handball in the area on Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell, who made a sliding challenge to block a shot from the edge of the box. On the ensuing penalty kick, forward Mauro Manotas converted from the penalty spot, giving the home side a 1-0 lead late in the first half.

Responding strongly in the second half, Portland equalized just six minutes into the half when Valeri scored from inside the 18-yard box, recording his 13th goal of the season. The Timbers broke through after a precise pass from midfielder Darlington Nagbe released midfielder Darren Mattocks in behind Houston’s defense. Charging into the box from the left side of the field, Mattocks’ curling effort rattled off the post to Valeri, who anticipated the rebound, with the midfielder calmly slotting his first-time chance past goalkeeper Joe Willis and into the back of the net.

With the finish, the Timbers are the only team in MLS with two or more players who have scored 13 or more goals this season, with forward Fanendo Adi ranking fourth in MLS for goals scored (15).

Houston regained the lead against the run of play when Manotas scored his second goal of the game in 73rd minute of play, finishing a low cross from midfielder Boniek Garcia from 12 yards away. Less than 15 minutes later, with the Timbers pushing up the field for an equalizer, Houston doubled its lead through a counter attack when Garcia played a through ball in behind to Manotas, who slotted his chance into the bottom left corner.

Portland created additional chances to score throughout the game, including an opportunity in the 12th minute from Valeri, who combined with Mattocks before striking an effort just wide of the target, while Nagbe’s chance in the 67th minute skipped just wide of the target.

Next up, the Timbers will travel to San Salvador, El Salvador, for a 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League fixture against C.D. Dragon on Tuesday, Sept. 27, beginning at 7 p.m. (Pacific). Portland will return to league play on Saturday, Oct. 1, when it travels to face the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, beginning at 6 p.m. (Pacific). Next Saturday’s match will feature a live broadcast on PDX TV (KPDX) with local radio broadcasts on 750 AM/102.9 FM The Game (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).

Notes:

  • Midfielder Diego Valeri recorded his 13th goal in MLS this season, which ranks tied for the sixth-most in the league in 2016.
  • With the goal, Valeri ranks tied for ninth place for the most goals scored in a single season across all eras in club history (since 1975).
  • Valeri’s finish places his season total to three goals scored against the Dynamo in 2016, which ranks as the most goals scored against Houston by a single player in MLS this season.
  • The Timbers are the only team in MLS with two or more players who have scored 13 or more goals in MLS this season, with forward Fanendo Adi ranked fourth for goals scored (15).
  • The loss against Houston marks the Timbers first loss against the Texas-based club since June 20, 2015, snapping Portland’s three-game unbeaten run against the Dynamo.
  • Recording two saves in the match, Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson ranks first in MLS for saves (109), despite playing six games fewer than Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted, who ranks second for saves in MLS.