A new year is upon us and it is a time to look forward at how we can improve in the coming year. Instead of thinking about ourselves, however, we can't help but think about what the Portland Timbers need to do in 2014.
The Timbers stepped their game up in 2013 as the new group of players under new head coach Caleb Porter set a record for the number of points improved between seasons. Still, the team can continue to improve and there are still many milestones to pass.
Here are our New Years resolutions for the Timbers in 2014.
Beat RSL. All up and coming teams have to get by a team in order to win their championship. Sporting Kansas City had to get by Houston, RSL had to get by LAG and it appears that Portland will have to beat RSL. Do what ever it takes to beat RSL and the Timbers could be bringing home significant hardware during the 2014 season.
After the runaway success of 2013, it's going to take a lot for 2014 (or beyond) to top it. The club is sure to set expectations high, and no doubt fans will follow suit. But patience will be a key word when there aren't 15-game unbeaten runs or long clean sheet streaks at home. That's not to say 2014 won't be a good year for the Timbers, but managing the hype will be even more important than it was this past season.
Whatever it takes, improve set piece defense. You all knew I was going to say that, right? Defending set pieces was one of the Timbers' few significant weaknesses in 2013. The Timbers were a good team this last season, but part of becoming a great team is eliminating those glaring weaknesses.
The Timbers need to take back the Cascadia Cup. Coming off a season of remarkable improvements, the Timbers still lost the Cup to the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2013. If the Timbers had managed just five more points against their northwest rivals, not only would the Cascadia Cup be here, but the Supporter's Shield would currently reside in Portland as well. To effectively compete for the top spot in MLS, the Timbers need to show that they are truly the top team in Cascadia, particularly with this year's home field advantage.
What resolution do you think the Timbers should make in the New Year?