The preseason is coming to a close. All in all, it was a fairly good one for the Portland Timbers. They won some games, they lost some, and they drew some. That's what an MLS team should be doing during the preseason as coaches look to fine tune their squads for their regular season. Nobody could have possibly expected some combinations of players to win against other combinations of opposing teams.
Now, as we gear up for the regular season, I've put together this small season preview:
Portland Timbers stats for 2011 and 2012:
- W-L-D: 19-30-19
- Goals for: 74
- Goals allowed: 104
- Points: 42 (2011) and 34 (2012)
The optimist says:
The Portland Timbers have completely rebuilt their squad for 2013 and under head coach Caleb Porter there's already been showings of a stronger, more tactical side that is keen on quick passing. Smart tactics combined with some equally skilled players such as Diego Valeri being brought on should help the Portland Timbers have a more successful season than in 2012.
While every team in the Western Conference has seemingly gotten better this off season, it's certainly not inconceivable to think that the Portland Timbers will play the play offs.
The pessimist says:
2012 was a rough year for fans and the team. A new coach and new players are nice, but therein lies another problem. Players need time to gel together and a single preseason does not afford the kind of time needed. While it's difficult to be much more pessimistic about 2013 than what 2012 ultimately turned out to be, expectations should be tempered a bit.
The realist says:
There's a real chance for something great in this team. Yes, the preseason hasn't been perfect, but we've seen flashes of creative brilliance that have made the crowd audibly gasp with "Ooohhhs" and "Aaaahhs." Should we expect MLS Cup in year one of the rebuild? Absolutely not, but we can expect a team that plays in a more creative way and, at the very least, they should put on a good show.
Ideal starting 11:
Donovan Ricketts; Ryan Miller, Mikael Silvestre, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington; Diego Chara, Will Johnson; Kalif Alhassan, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe; Ryan Johnson
Keep an eye on Dylan Tucker-Gangnes this season. While he probably won't get much playing time right from the start, what we've seen from him has been very impressive for a rookie. The Timbers are coming in with a defensive sore spot and though Silvestre will certainly help to shape it up, a key injury or two could see DTG take the spotlight.