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. 

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).

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 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.

Jack Jewsbury to retire following 2016 season

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USATI

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 DEFEAT PHILADELPHIA UNION 2-1 AT PROVIDENCE PARK

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USATI

TIMBERS DEFEAT PHILADELPHIA UNION 2-1 AT PROVIDENCE PARK

The Portland Timbers defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-1 before a sold-out crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Saturday afternoon, tying their club record for MLS home wins in a single season (11) as the team notched its fourth consecutive home win at Providence Park in league play. Midfielder Diego Valeri and forward Fanendo Adi each tallied a goal in the second half for Portland, while midfielder Darren Mattocks recorded two assists in an MLS game for the first time in his career.

With the win, the Timbers (11-11-8, 41pts), who lead the league in home wins in 2016, extended their all-time record against the Philadelphia Union to 3-1-3, including a 3-0-1 record at Providence Park.

The Timbers opened the scoring one minute into the second half when Mattocks hustled to collect a loose ball on the far left side of the box, driving toward goal before setting up Valeri for a close-range finish in the 46th minute. With the finish, Valeri recorded his 12th league goal, an MLS career high for the midfielder, and his 14th goal in all competitions this season.

Following Philadelphia’s (11-11-8, 41pts) equalizer, a hard first-time strike from forward Chris Pontius from the edge of the box in the 47th minute, Portland regained the lead in the 53rd minute when Mattocks recorded his second assist of the match, setting up Adi for a redirect finish from close range. After dispossessing Philadelphia defender Keegan Rosenberry just outside the box, Mattocks ran at his defender before cutting inside on his right foot, curling the ball in the box toward Adi, who quickly flicked his chance in the goal to notch Portland’s second goal of the game. With the goal, Adi, who ranks fourth in MLS for goals scored (15), became the 16th player in MLS history to record consecutive seasons with 15 or more goals.

With 18 shots throughout the game, Portland threatened Philadelphia’s goal on a number of occasions, including a powerful left-footed attempt from Adi that forced a strong save from goalkeeper Andre Blake in the 18th minute of play. Less than 10 minutes before the end of the first half, the Timbers created their strongest chance of the opening half when defender Alvas Powell’s driven cross connected with Adi at the near post. Beating his marker to the ball, Adi produced a whipping header, narrowly missing the target.

In the 66th minute, Valeri’s floated cross into the box found Adi, who headed it back across the face of goal. Charging on to the ball, midfielder Darlington Nagbe came close to heading a follow-up attempt into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box, but the Union defense managed to clear the danger away. Continuing to push forward late in the game, Portland created two additional chances to add to their tally when midfielder Diego Chara came close to lobbing Blake in the 76th minute, while Nagbe’s free kick in the 79th minute just skimmed over the crossbar.

In the 90th minute, Chara sprung Mattocks in behind the Union’s defense, creating another chance on goal for the Timbers. Running onto Chara’s pass inside the box, Mattocks curled a first-time strike that resulted in a strong finger-tip save from Blake, forcing a corner.

Next up, the Timbers will travel to face the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, beginning at 6 p.m. (Pacific). Saturday’s match will be broadcast live on PDX TV (KDPX) with radio broadcasts on KUFO 970 AM (English) and La GranD 1150 AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).

Notes:

  • Saturday’s game marked the 101st consecutive regular-season sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park.
  • The Timbers have scored in each of their 16 home matches this season, ranking as one of two MLS teams to score in each of its home games, along with the Philadelphia Union. Additionally, Portland leads MLS for goals scored at home (34).
  • Portland has a league-leading 11 home victories this season. The 11 wins at Providence Park ties for the most home wins in the club's MLS era with the 2013 season and ties for the second-most home victories in all eras of the club, behind only the 13 wins in 1978.
  • Fanendo Adi scored his 15th goal of the season to become just the 16th player in MLS history to record consecutive seasons with 15 or more goals. 
  • Adi has scored in three consecutive matches in all competitions, including four consecutive home matches. 
  • Adi's seven shots in the match are the third-most by a Timbers player this season. 
  • Diego Valeri scored his 12th goal of the season, which is an MLS career high for the midfielder. 
  • Adi and Valeri currently rank fourth and ninth for the most goals in MLS this season, respectively. Their combined 27 goals is the second-most by a pair of teammates behind New York City FC forward David Villa and midfielder Frank Lampard, who have combined for 28 goals.  
  • For the first time in 109 MLS appearances, Darren Mattocks recorded two assists in a single match.
  • Mattocks was credited with four chances created in the match, which is also a career high for the midfielder. 
  • Jake Gleeson finished the match with seven saves, which is the third-most by the goalkeeper this season. 

TIMBERS DEFEAT REAL SALT LAKE 1-0, SECURE 100TH STRAIGHT HOME SELLOUT

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USATI

TIMBERS DEFEAT REAL SALT LAKE 1-0, SECURE 100TH STRAIGHT HOME SELLOUT

The Portland Timbers defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 before a sold-out crowd of 21,144 fans at Providence Park on Saturday night, as Portland celebrated its 100th consecutive regular-season sellout since joining MLS in 2011. Forward Fanendo Adi scored Portland’s lone goal in the first half, recording his 14th goal in league play this season.

With the win, Portland is unbeaten in eight consecutive regular-season games against Real Salt Lake, dating back to June 7, 2014, including three straight games this season (1-0-2). Additionally, the win marked Portland’s fifth shutout and 10th home win of the 2016 campaign. The Timbers’ 10 home wins are tied for the most home wins in MLS this season, along with FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls.

The Timbers (10-11-8, 38pts) opened the scoring early in the first half when Adi produced a composed finish from just outside the six-yard box in the 12th minute of play, marking his third goal at home in his last three games. The Timbers broke through after midfielder Darlington Nagbe made a sharp cut to beat Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman before blasting a hard shot that was deflected to Adi, who skillfully eluded his defender before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Portland created several additional chances to score throughout the match, including a chance from midfielder Diego Valeri that skipped just wide of the far post in the 18th minute of play. Three minutes later, defender Alvas Powell ran at Real Salt Lake (12-8-8, 44pts) defender Demar Phillips and cut inside the box, hitting a powerful left-footed effort just past the near post.

Less than 10 minutes before the end of the first half, Portland came close to doubling its lead when midfielder Jack Jewsbury played a low corner kick to the near post to defender Vytas, whose redirect effort narrowly missed the target.

Remaining on the attack in the second half, Adi produced another chance on goal for the Timbers in the 70th minute when he ran on to Vytas’ driven cross into the box, taking a touch before hitting a strong shot on target and forcing a firm save from Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Shortly afterward, the Timbers created their strongest chance of the half when Adi played a square ball across the box to an unmarked Valeri, who forced a difficult fingertip save from Rimando.

On the defensive end, the Timbers produced 13 tackles, while goalkeeper Jake Gleeson recorded five saves as Portland held Real Salt Lake scoreless for the first time since Aug. 3.

Next up, the Timbers will travel to face Deportivo Saprissa at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa on Wednesday, Sept. 14, in CONCACAF Champions League play; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific).

Notes:

  • Sunday’s game marked the 100th consecutive regular-season sellout for the Timbers at Providence Park. The club has sold out every one of its regular-season home games dating back to its first home game in MLS on April 4, 2011.
  • Portland has scored a goal in every home regular-season match this season, joining the Philadelphia Union as the only MLS teams to score in each of their home games this season.
  • Portland leads MLS in goals scored at home (32) this season.
  • Portland recorded its 10th win at home in 2016, which ranks tied for the most home wins in MLS with FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls. With the win, the Timbers are now just one win shy of matching their club MLS record of 11 home victories during the 2013 season.
  • The Timbers are unbeaten in their last eight regular-season matches against Real Salt Lake. The eight-match unbeaten run is tied for the longest streak against any MLS opponent for the Timbers, originally set against Vancouver Whitecaps FC from Aug. 20, 2011 to Oct. 6, 2013.
  • Forward Fanendo Adi scored his 14th goal of the season, tying him with Montreal's Ignacio Piatti for the fourth-most goals in MLS this season.
  • Adi has scored seven career goals against Real Salt Lake, which ties his scoring output against Seattle Sounders FC for the most goals scored by a Timbers player against a single MLS club.
  • Adi's four goals this season against Real Salt Lake are tied for the most goals scored by any MLS player against a single opponent.
  • The shutout was the fifth of the season for both Jake Gleeson and the Portland Timbers. 
  • The victory was Portland’s 50th at home in six MLS seasons.

TIMBERS FALL 3-1 AGAINST FC DALLAS

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USATI

TIMBERS FALL 3-1 AGAINST FC DALLAS

The Portland Timbers were unable to overcome a two-goal halftime deficit in a 3-1 away loss against FC Dallas before 14,207 fans at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night. Midfielder Diego Valeri scored Portland’s lone goal in the second half, recording his 11th goal of the season.

FC Dallas took the lead after referee Ted Unkel pointed to the spot in the 12th minute of play, with midfielder Mauro Diaz placing his penalty-kick effort just past Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. FC Dallas doubled its advantage in stoppage time of the first half when midfielder Victor Ulloa pounced on a deflected clearance inside the 18-yard box, slotting his first-time chance into the back of the net.

Portland (9-11-8, 35pts) opened the second half with a strong goal-scoring chance when midfielder Lucas Melano produced a powerful first-time effort from just outside the 18-yard box, powering his strike off the crossbar in the 52nd minute of play. Forward Fanendo Adi managed to connect with the rebound, but headed his chance at FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz, who managed to make the save.

One minute later, FC Dallas (15-7-6, 51pts) extended its edge when defender Walker Zimmerman connected with Diaz’s free kick, nodding a strong header into the back of the net.

Continuing to press forward, Portland cut the home side’s lead to two goals when defender Zarek Valentin played a cross into the box, finding Valeri, who produced a clinical volley to beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz in the 87th minute. With the finish, Valeri ranks tied for the eighth-most goals scored in MLS this season.

Creating additional chances to score, the Timbers produced a strong effort in the second half when midfielder Jack Jewsbury’s corner kick connected with defender Steven Taylor, whose effort went just wide of the far post, while Vytas’ cross in the 31st minute nearly connected with Adi, but the FC Dallas defense managed to clear away the danger. Twelve minutes prior to Taylor’s chance, Melano broke free in behind FC Dallas’ defense, rounding the goalkeeper before playing the ball back across the face of goal to Valeri, who had his threatening chance deflected wide for a corner kick.

Next up, the Timbers will play host to Real Salt Lake at Providence Park on Saturday, Sept. 10; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). The match will feature a live broadcast on ROOT SPORTS 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 scored his 11th goal of the season, tying him with Frank Lampard for the eighth-most goals in MLS this season. Valeri also tied his career-high for goals in MLS, which he originally set in the 2014 season.
  • Valeri recorded his 34th goal in his MLS career, placing him one goal shy of fifth place on the Timbers all-time goal-scoring list behind Dale Mitchell, who played in the club's NASL era.  
  • Midfielder Diego Chara started his 170th regular season match for Portland, tying him with teammate Darlington Nagbe for the most starts across all eras in club history (since 1975). 
  • Zarek Valentin recorded his first assist of the season, marking his first assist in an MLS match since July 4, 2012, when he was a member of the Montreal Impact.
  • Jack Barmby made his second start for the Timbers. 

Top 5 reasons Portland is indeed Soccer City USA

Top 5 reasons Portland is indeed Soccer City USA

I'm not a soccer fan.

I played some low level high school soccer but could never get into it as a supporter. I've been to matches at Providence Park, both Timbers and Thorns, I've tried. And while the event of going to a match is fun (you should go!), I just don't find it appealing as a spectator sport. Yes, I understand the game and the strategy, it's just not for me. I prefer basketball and football and there are lots of people on both sides of the soccer debate fence. None of that is relevant here.

Portland is Soccer City, USA. Has been and always will be, simply because it is ingrained in the culture of this city.

Let's all just agree that Portland and Seattle are the only cities up for consideration here. Kansas City has a nice pro soccer thing going (1 MLS and 2 NWSL titles) but it's not on the same wide-spread level as here in the northwest. A recent story handed the title over to over to Seattle but I think the scope was far too narrow. 

Here are the top five reasons Portland is Soccer City, USA and Seattle isn't:

1. Timber's Army (PORTLAND) - You may not love them, but you can't deny that the Timber's Army is the top supporter group in the MLS. Really, don't even try. 

2. Championships (PORTLAND) - Scoreboard check. Both the Timbers and the Thorns have won titles in their respective leagues and don't forget two NCAA National Championships for the University of Portland Women's Soccer Team.

3. Collegiate Soccer (PORTLAND) - Unless you're in North Carolina (or maybe South Bend, Indiana), you won't find a community more supportive of collegiate soccer than Portland. The Pilots have a storied tradition, especially on the women's side and two National Championships. 

4. NWSL (PORTLAND) - It's not even close. The Thorns draw 3-5x the number of fans vs. the Reign. Oh, and there's that whole NWSL Championship thing again too (no, Shields don't count). Do not discount the relevance and importance of women's soccer in this discussion. 

5. MLS Attendance & Season Tickets (TIE or SLIGHT EDGE SEATTLE) - Sure, Seattle leads the way in MLS attendance (44,247 per game for 2015) thanks in part to their home stadium at CenturyLink Field which has 68,000 fixed seats. But let's not forget that the population of the Seattle Metro area is about 1.5x that of the Portland Metro area. On average, Seattle fills its stadium about 65% "full" for a Sounders home game. The Timbers do not have a the luxury of an NFL sized stadium, but fill Providence Park at about 96% capacity based on average numbers (attendance figures here, the capacity is 22,000).

Would Portland fill a 68,000 seat stadium for an MLS soccer game? No, but it would be on par with Seattle's numbers easily. Especially considering the Timbers have a season ticket holder wait list that is well north of 10,000 people. Add that to the 21k average attendance and you're immediately in the 31-34k range without factoring in non-season ticket holders who would attend games if tickets were easier to get. Compare that to the reduced population size and you can easily argue Portland and Seattle would be even on attendance figures if the stadium situations were equal.

When you look at the whole picture: MLS, NWSL, College, Supporters, Championship, Ticket Sales & Attendance (relative to population sizes), and importance to the city... it's pretty obvious. 

Portland is Soccer City, USA.

VYTAS, POWELL KEY FOR PORTLAND TIMBERS MOVING FORWARD

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USATI

VYTAS, POWELL KEY FOR PORTLAND TIMBERS MOVING FORWARD

The Portland Timbers came into Sunday’s game against the Seattle Sounders staggering. Losers of their previous two, including a road loss to hated Seattle, Portland rudely welcomed their northern neighbors, scoring three goals in the opening 29 minutes and four in the opening half en route to a final score of 4-2. It was the first time in the 41-year rivalry between the two clubs that a team scored four goals in the first half.

Portland came out playing like their season was on the line, pressuring Seattle right from the opening kick. The persistence was finally rewarded in the 16th minute when Vytautas Andriuskevicius (Vytas to us mere mortals) whipped in a venomous header off a Jack Jewsbury corner kick. Portland would double the lead just five minutes later when beautiful link up play between Lucas Melano and Diego Valeri led to Fanendo Adi poking in a rebound. Nine minutes later, the floodgates were officially opened when Melano got on the scoresheet himself. New Timbers center back Steven Taylor completed the magical first half for Portland by heading in a second corner kick in the 44th minute for the Timbers’ fourth goal of the half.

Unfortunately for Portland, they were not able to keep that momentum coming out of halftime. Seattle came out of the locker room looking to make a game of it succeeded, scoring twice in the opening five minutes of the half off headers by Andreas Ivanschitz and Jordan Morris, to cut the Timbers lead in half. Portland was able to calm down after the second Seattle goal, and effectively killed off the remainder of the game to earn an invaluable three points, much to the delight of the home crowd.

This was a badly needed win, coming on the heels of two difficult and deflating road losses to D.C. United and Seattle, the latter seeing their rivals creep within a single point of Portland in the playoff race. Seattle was unbeaten in their last four since signing Uruguayan international Nicolas Lodeiro, but missed Clint Dempsey who is undergoing testing for an irregular heartbeat. Portland now sits a full three points above the red line, and four points ahead of Seattle with seven games left to play.

Outside of a team that finally looks relatively healthy, the biggest x-factor moving down the stretch may be the development and deployment of fullbacks Alvas Powell and Vytas.

Portland has struggled all season long with consistency in the fullback positions. Since the departure of Jorge Villafana to Liga MX this past offseason, the Portland fullbacks have been the equivalent to the Spinal Tap drummer – a rotating cast of characters that meet with often unfortunate results.

Powell, who was the returning starter at right back, tore a ligament in his wrist in mid-April and proceeded to miss nearly three months. Chris Klute, who was signed in the offseason ostensibly to replace Villafana, struggled with a lingering offseason injury and eventually fell out of favor with coach Caleb Porter. Zarek Valentin performed well enough, but is not nearly the attacking presence needed and was injured himself in early August. Finally, there’s Jermaine Taylor, a natural center back, who has played extensively for Portland at fullback this season.

Enter Vytas, who was signed in mid-July as a natural left back. He entered the lineup just a few weeks ago, and has quickly made the position his own. He has not been free of mistakes, but has improved game-by-game and is much more dangerous on the attack than any of Portland’s other options at the position. Meanwhile, Powell has returned to full health and has re-assumed his regular duties at right back. Powell is prone to the occasional heart-attack inducing play, but is also Portland’s most attack-minded defender who creates match-up nightmares with his speed and overlapping runs.

Vytas and Powell give Portland’s attack a different dimension. With the overlapping runs and first-time crosses, it’s another avenue of potential service for Adi and another pair of players to partner with for Valeri, Nagbe, and Melano. It gives additional options and opens up space for Portland’s playmakers, which is when they are at their best.

In his 3+ years as head coach, Caleb Porter has the best record in all of MLS in September and October. He has a reputation for making the right adjustments and pushing the right buttons to get his team playing their best at the most critical of times. If Vytas and Powell are at their best for the Timbers as the season winds down, Porter may once again be able to find that magic combination that puts Portland back in position to defend its MLS Cup championship.