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Get healthy, get consistent, get trophies: New Year’s resolutions for the Portland Timbers

We know the Timbers’ ultimate goal is to win MLS Cup. But what does each player need to do to make that happen? They need to live up to these New Year’s resolutions.

SOCCER: NOV 22 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Round One - FC Dallas at Portland Timbers Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Portland Timbers’ season ended in devastating style, but that shouldn’t overshadow all of the positive things we saw. The Timbers have a great core of experienced players and some young players who are growing their game and becoming integral pieces of this team. When the Timbers were healthy they made a huge statement of intent by winning the MLS is Back Tournament. Those are both very good things.

Their ultimate goal is winning MLS Cup and the unfortunate defeat to FC Dallas should fuel this team. If the Timbers players can live up to these New Year’s resolutions, they’ll be able to accomplish what they did in 2015 — hoist the MLS Cup.

Player Resolutions

Darion Asprilla: Score big goals in the playoffs.

Jeff Antinella: Take the younger keepers like Ivacic and Hulte under his wing. Challenge to be the backup keeper.

Sebastian Blanco: Fully recover from his injury and return to his scintillating MLS is Back Tournament form.

Blake Bodily: Fight for more minutes and try to secure a spot as one of the first midfielders of the bench. Take advantage of rotations and make an impact when starting matches.

Pablo Bonilla: Challenge for the starting right back position and work to add more assists to his repertoire.

Claudio Bravo: Secure a starting spot and become a key contributor defensively and going forward.

Diego Chara: Be Diego Chara. There is not much Chara could really hope to do differently this season. Individually he had an exceptional season and was justly rewarded for it.

Yimmi Chara: Continue to improve his final product. Yimmi forced his way into the team with his electric play. With the Designated Player tag, he needs to consistently contribute goals and assists throughout the (hopefully normal) league campaign.

Steve Clark: Limit silly mistakes and hold on to the starting goalkeeper spot.

Tomas Conechny: Be the go-to player off the bench when the Timbers need a spark in midfield. Continue to develop and learn from the great midfielders that surround him.

Jeremy Ebobisse: Lead the team in goals scored. If Ebobisse is with the Timbers for the whole season, he should look to score 15 goals.

Aljaz Ivacic: Secure the backup goalkeeper spot and take advantage of valuable rotational minutes.

Marvin Loria: Become more consistent. Loria would be an impact sub only to be quite for 70+ minutes as a starter. His minutes will be even more limited this season and he will need to prove to Giovanni Savarese that he can be a key contributor.

Larrys Mabiala: Limit lapses in concentration and help the defense close out the final 15 minutes of the match.

Zac McGraw: Fight for minutes. McGraw didn’t play at all last season but was on the bench as an unused sub. He should challenge for minutes this season.

Felipe Mora: Challenge Ebobisse for the Timbers’ golden boot. Mora has the quality to consistently score 10+ goals a season.

Jaroslaw Niezgoda: Niezgoda should look to build on his promising 2020. He needs to return from injury and continue where he left off. Like the other two strikers, he has the ability to score more than ten goals a season.

Cristhian Paredes: Find his 2019 form. Paredes was a key cog in the midfield two seasons ago. He will likely be the first midfielder off the bench to replace Williamson or Chara and will need to have better performances than we saw in 2020.

Andy Polo: Become more involved in matches and improve his efficiency in the final third. We know we can count on Polo for a couple worldies, but adding a few tap-ins would help the team immensely.

Hunter Sulte: Continue his development and learn from the quality keepers around him.

Bill Tuiloma: Slide into the defense as needed and put in quality minutes to allow Savarese to keep the defense fresh throughout the season.

Diego Valeri: Continue pulling the strings of the Timbers offense and unlocking MLS defenses. What more can we ask of Valeri? Just enjoy the magic show while El Maestro is still playing.

Jorge Villafana: Build off of his career season in 2020. Villafana was one of the revelations of last season, and if he can replicate or add to his offensive numbers, there may be a case for calling him one of the best two-way fullbacks in the league.

Eryk Williamson: Return from injury and regain his 2020 form. Williamson was the other revelation of the season. In 2021, he should aim to impact matches on a regular basis by improving his consistency and adding a few more goals and assists, because he has the quality to do so.

Renzo Zambrano: Look to appear in more than five matches and put in reliable performances to earn more minutes.

Dario Zuparic: Take on the role of the leader of the back line. Become the vocal rock at the back the Timbers desperately need and plug the leaks we saw last season.

Team Resolutions

  1. Challenge for the Western Conference Title
  2. Limit the number of goals in the last 15 minutes of matches
  3. Make a deep run in the MLS Cup Playoffs