Jack Jewsbury to retire following 2016 season


Jack Jewsbury to retire following 2016 season

Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury – one of an elite group of players to play 300 or more games in MLS – announced this evening that he will retire as a professional player at the conclusion of the 2016 season. Jewsbury, who will finish his distinguished playing career after 14 MLS seasons, made the announcement at the club’s annual Stand Together Banquet, held at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland on Sunday night.

“As tough as this decision was, my family and I are extremely excited about the next chapter and the new adventures ahead,” Jewsbury said. “It has been an honor to represent MLS during my 14 seasons, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to play for two first-class organizations and fan bases that have taken this league and the sport in our country to the next level.

“I will always treasure my six years playing for Portland, including the postgame victory laps on the field with my daughters and celebrating the Timbers MLS Cup victory with the entire city.”

Jewsbury, 35, is one of just three players in MLS history to play 150 or more games with two different clubs in the league, and currently ranks 10th all-time in games played (348) and 29th in minutes played (25,363) as one of just 38 players to appear in 300 career games or more in MLS. Originally a fifth-round (43rd overall) selection of the Kansas City Wizards in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, Jewsbury has amassed 28 goals and 37 assists over his 348 games played (277 starts) during his 14-year playing career in the league. Additionally, the Springfield, Mo., native has made 19 postseason appearances (16 starts) to date – including six games during the Timbers’ run to their first MLS Cup in 2015 – tallying a goal and three assists in the playoffs during his MLS career, including two assists during the 2013 playoffs as the Timbers advanced to the Western Conference Championship.

“Jack Jewsbury has been a first-class leader on and off the field since the Timbers joined MLS. The consummate professional. I cannot say enough about what he has given to this organization,” said Merritt Paulson, owner of the Timbers. “Jack will leave this team a Portland Timbers icon and I am hopeful he stays involved with this organization.”

Of his 28 career goals in the league, 10 have been game-winners, with half of those coming for the Timbers, including his decisive strike in a 1-0 victory at Vancouver on Oct. 21, 2012, to clinch the Cascadia Cup that season, and two during the club’s MLS Cup-winning season in 2015, with crucial stoppage-time game-winners at Colorado on May 30, 2015, and vs. San Jose on July 5, 2015.

“Throughout Jack’s career, he has exemplified professionalism and what it means to be a Timbers player,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “Since joining the Timbers in 2011, Jack has proved to be a phenomenal addition to this club, as he’s played an instrumental role in its growth from an expansion team into an MLS Cup champion five years later. Throughout his time with the Timbers, he has been a leader on the field and in the community, helping this team reach new heights and continually putting the club before himself.”

Currently in his sixth season with Portland, Jewsbury was acquired by the Timbers prior to the start of their inaugural MLS season in 2011 from Sporting Kansas City, and has gone on to make 153 appearances (135 starts) to date for Portland, scoring 14 goals and tallying 17 assists. The team’s first-ever MLS All-Star and captain, while recording seven goals and eight assists over a career-high 32 games in 2011, Jewsbury was the Timbers’ Players’ Player of the Year in 2011 and the recipient of the club’s Unsung Hero award in 2013. During his first season with the Timbers, Jewsbury played in the 2011 MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United on July 27, 2011, after being voted to the First XI as one of the top vote-getters in the league.

“Jack Jewsbury has been an absolute pleasure to coach during the four years I’ve worked with him, and I can’t say enough about him as a player, professional and person,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “There’s no better reflection of our club and what it embodies than Jack, and his contributions on and off the pitch are immeasurable. He will go down at the end of the season as a legend for this club, one who put the team first and gave all he had every training session, every game. The biggest credit to his accomplished career is that, in his last season, he’s playing one of his biggest roles down the stretch.”  

Jewsbury, who resides in the Portland area with his wife, Brittany, and their two daughters, ranks among the top five in several Timbers career statistical categories, including ranking third in MLS games played, MLS games started and MLS minutes played (12,100). Additionally, Jewsbury ranks tied for third in assists and seventh in goals scored for the Timbers in MLS play. On the club’s all-era record books (since 1975), he currently ranks fifth in career games played and tied for eighth in assists. 

Among his many significant contributions with Portland as the club made its MLS debut in 2011, Jewsbury’s first regular-season goal with the Timbers helped them secure their first-ever point in the league with a 1-1 draw at New England on April 2, 2011, while his goal at Chicago on July 16, 2011, helped Portland to its first road victory as an MLS side. In the club’s first-ever home contest during U.S. Open Cup qualifying, Jewsbury provided the game-winning goal and assisted on a second tally in the Timbers’ first competitive win as an MLS team in a 2-0 victory over Chivas USA on March 29, 2011.

This season, Jewsbury has one goal and two assists across 19 games played (13 starts), providing a key assist in a 4-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at Providence Park on Aug. 28, and scoring in a 3-0 win over Sporting Kansas City in Portland on Aug. 7.

Prior to joining the Timbers, Jewsbury, who played collegiately at Saint Louis University, spent eight seasons with the Kansas City Wizards (2003-10), winning a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title and starting in a 3-2 loss to D.C. United during his first MLS Cup in 2004.

Timbers come close to win, settle for draw against United

Timbers come close to win, settle for draw against United

For 45 minutes on a rainy, then sunny, then rainy Mother's Day, the Portland Timbers and Atlanta United played the feel-it-out game. With few shots on goal, and very few cards pulled, both clubs seemed content to make this a second half affair.

It did not take long for that narrative to play out.

Just thirty seconds into the second half, Atlanta's Julian Gressel got one past Jake Gleeson, giving the United a 1-0 lead. It only took the Timbers four minutes to respond. Off a corner kick, Liam Ridgewell knocked in his first goal of the season, giving the Timbers the draw. 

"Pretty even game, overall. Disappointed to give up that early goal in the second half, but then I thought from there, the next 44 minutes were all us," said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. 

After the two clubs knotted it up, the final 40 minutes saw frenetic play, mostly from the Timbers, as numerous shots on goal went just high, a tad far left, or right into the surprised, yet waiting arms, of United goalkeeper Alec Kann. No sequence summed it up more than in stoppage time, with the Timbers threatening, and David Guzman's strike from 50 feet practically denting the post, coming inches from delivering the win.

"I thought we gave it everything we had," said Porter, who's team dropped to 5-3-3 on the season. "I thought we were going to get the goal to win the game. A couple bounces that maybe go different, you know, the post, all the times the ball's in the box. Couldn't quite get the half chance, a couple through balls that just didn't get through."

It was a solid bounce back from the Timbers, who feel 0-3 last Saturday to the Earthquakes. Playing again without Darlington Nagbe, whom Porter said should be back for the upcoming two-game road trip after an injury, the Timbers appeared to find some cohesion, but still appear to be a step off from their early season successes. 

Portland heads to Montreal next Saturday, before renewing their rivalry with Seattle on the 27th. Overall, the Timbers are in a stretch of four games out of five on the road.

Porter said playing without Nagbe - who, along with Guzman, will be away from the club in two games - is something the club needs to figure out. 

"We're going to be losing, in two games from now, Darlington and Guzman. So we're going to have to figure out that mid-spot," he said. "Can we get better chemistry with Roy (Miller)? I thought today we did miss Darlington. You see that. Sometimes you don't know how good a guy is or isn't until he's gone."

Portland Timbers prepare for most challenging game of the season


Portland Timbers prepare for most challenging game of the season


This Saturday, April 29th, at 5:00 PM PT, the Portland Timbers will face the biggest challenge of the season so far. The Timbers head down to Frisco, Texas to face FC Dallas, the only unbeaten team left in Major League Soccer.

The Timbers currently sit atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with 16 points after their first eight games. The next two teams, Orlando City (15 points) and FC Dallas (14 points), have each earned their position with only six games played. A victory on Saturday will do more than give the Timbers a bit of room between themselves and their Western Conference foe, it will decisively demonstrate who the best team in MLS is right now (sorry Orlando, make it to the Cup final and then we’ll talk).   

And they may need to do it without the help of arguably their best player, Diego Valeri. Valeri not only came out in the 80th minute of the Timbers victory against Vancouver with a hip injury, but had to be carried off the field on a stretcher, a sight that took away the collective breath of the Providence Park faithful. On Tuesday, neither Valeri, nor goalkeeper Jake Gleeson (both out with hip/hip flexor injuries), were active in practice. As of today, the team is reporting that both are still questionable for the game this weekend.

It should be noted that FC Dallas (eliminated from the playoffs by Seattle in the Western Conference semi-finals last year) have been without their star, Mauro Diaz, all season. Diaz tore his Achilles tendon in the final regular season game of last year. It is not hyperbole to state that after a dominant year that saw Dallas hoist up the Supporters Shield, Diaz’s injury ended the number one seed’s MLS Cup run. 

FC Dallas is coming off a 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City, the only other unbeaten team in the league until that game. They are playing with confidence, which is terrifying when you realize how much strength and skill is behind that confidence.

The Timbers are going to need to bring their A-game if they want to steal three points on the road. A draw would feel like a small victory in this one, but that’s not the kind of team the Timbers are. Forget about the road, the travel, the Texas heat. They are on top of the table for a reason: they are just that good. 

We’ve talked about Portland’s struggles on the road. Saturday is their chance to show the league after missing out on the playoffs last year, they are once again, the best team in MLS. At this point, still early in the season, the Timbers look like they’ve returned to the form that took them all the way to their first MLS Cup championship two seasons ago. And nothing, not even an injury to a player as important as Valeri, looks like it can stop them from continuing to improve and impress. The true sign of a championship team is when they can win amidst adversity.

A draw on the road is always a positive result, and a loss could be excused, especially with so many more games to play. But there is something more at stake here: The chance to be the first team to beat FC Dallas this year. The winner will stand atop this week’s MLS.com Power Rankings, and will stand alone as the team to beat heading into summer.

Providence Park to add 4,000 seats in modern expansion

Portland Timbers

Providence Park to add 4,000 seats in modern expansion

Since the Portland Timbers’ arrival in Major League Soccer in 2011 and the addition of Portland Thorns FC and the National Women’s Soccer League in 2013, Providence Park has become one of the foremost venues in North American soccer. It has won numerous awards for its unrivaled fan experience and atmosphere and has been named FourFourTwo’s Best Stadium for Soccer in the United States as well as the top MLS stadium experience across all sports by StadiumJourney.com.

Originally built in 1926 in the downtown core of Portland, its 91-year history has seen the likes of soccer, football, baseball, dog racing, concerts, ski jumping, presidential visits and much more. Now nearly a century since it first opened, Providence Park is poised for another transformation. An already great stadium for sport will become an even greater cathedral for soccer, while helping meet the ever-increasing demand for tickets.

Club leaders have proposed a modern, yet historically influenced $50 million-plus, privately financed expansion project for the east side that would add approximately 4,000 new seats, a striking new street-level colonnade and an iconic, modernized expansion—all at no cost to the city or public. An expanded Providence Park will make the stadium viable for the future and help ensure that Timbers and Thorns FC remain in their unique downtown location long-term, well beyond the expiration of the current operating agreement in 2035.

(Allied Works Architecture)

The proposed design by internationally renowned and Portland-based architecture firm Allied Works would add a 93-foot high covered structure on the east side of the stadium, taking a vertical approach to a relatively small footprint while integrating well with the existing stadium. The proposed project includes four new levels on the expanded east side, with three of the four levels created for reserved and group seating sections to help meet demand, while including a unique, pedestrian-friendly public arcade along SW 18th Avenue.

While Providence Park is already a top destination for soccer, challenges for the future remain. The stadium has sold out for every single Timbers regular-season and playoff match at home since the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2011. The Timbers currently have an ever-growing waiting list of more than 13,000 fans for season tickets. MLS matchday ticket demand for the available supply is at a premium. In short, more people want to get in than can be accommodated.

“Providence Park is one of the most special stadiums in sports,” said Mike Golub, president of business for the Timbers and Thorns FC. “With our proposed expansion, we will enhance the incomparable fan experience and intimacy and provide the opportunity for some of the more than 13,000 members of the waiting list to become season ticket holders.”

Additionally, MLS is evolving rapidly as the league continues to grow in all areas and additional expansion teams come on line in the upcoming years. Stadia in Major League Soccer are growing in size and the rising economics of the league are making it increasingly challenging to compete, as Providence Park – with an existing capacity of 21,144 for soccer – currently ranks in the bottom half of the league in terms of size.

Inspired in part by the famous Shakespearean Globe Theatre in London and the iconic La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires—both with their upright vertical seating areas and literal on-top-of-the-action perspective—the new Providence Park expansion would complete the full U-shape stadium design as was envisioned by the original then-Multnomah Stadium architects of A.E. Doyle and Morris Whitehouse in 1925. The end result would “finish” the stadium after almost 100 years, completing a transformation to a fully realized, urban soccer stadium.

“The expansion of Providence Park will continue to honor the rich history and traditions of the stadium and city of Portland and marry them with the best of modern stadia,” said Golub.

This private investment into the city-owned venue also goes a long way towards keeping the club’s unique urban environment viable well beyond its current operating agreement. The added capacity to the century-old, community gathering space will better position it to attract additional, larger-scale soccer and special events, and will benefit other stadium users, such as Portland State University football. The expansion and ensuing increased capacity and public use would substantially increase the city ticket tax revenue that benefits directly back to the City of Portland.

While the team continues to work with the city and neighborhood association on specifics of the proposed project and the initial design-review process commences, the potential construction timeline would include a two-offseason process, beginning either at the conclusion of the 2017 or 2018 season at Providence Park and concluding in time for either the beginning of the 2019 or 2020 MLS season.

“This proposed project is a win-win for everyone involved, and we’ve been very encouraged by the collaborative work that’s been put into this project to date,” said Golub. “We still have some work to do, but we are actively working with the city and neighborhood association, and everyone is excited by the prospect of an expanded Providence Park and ensuring the long-term viability of this unique stadium.”

Portland Timbers have the most dangerous attack in MLS

USA Today

Portland Timbers have the most dangerous attack in MLS


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


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


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:

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.

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

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.”

View image on Twitter

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.


“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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Darlington Nagbe showing signs of promise with USMNT


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

USA Today

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


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

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