Memo to MLS: it's not just a fluke anymore. The Portland Timbers are a force to be reckoned with.
An unbeaten run that includes wins against teams like Houston and San Jose is nothing to sneeze at. But to extend that streak with a win at Livestrong is a full-fledged statement.
Teams around the league have noticed, I guarantee it. They will be watching MORE tape and pouring more hours into their preparation efforts for the emerging Portland Timbers. This means it is only going to get harder for us.
Caleb Porter was one of my favorite coach-replacement options, and when we hired him, I could hardly believe we actually got him. Once hired, I never doubted his potential or his intelligence. But I DID try very hard to temper my expectations. I thought it was very possible that it would take significant time to put all the pieces together and get the team firing on all cylinders.
But now that we've officially exceeded expectations, and emerged early on as one of the best attacks in the league, every team will be seeking to become the team that stopped the Portland Timbers unstoppable attack. We're going to be facing a LOT of stubborn defenses in the coming games. Is Caleb Porter ready with answers? Does our team have enough offensive bite to consistently snake out a goal or two when facing tough, bunkered, and disruptive tactics from some of the better defensive sides in this league?
The San Jose series gives me hope that this is possible. But only time will tell.
Saturday's win was a HUGE statement that the whole team and most of the fans have taken tremendous joy in. But it only ups the ante for what we'll need to do to keep the momentum going. Let's hope Caleb Porter and the players are already moving on from the euphoria of this tremendous victory, and are actively preparing for the difficult road ahead.