Phase 1 of the Major League Soccer regular season restart has brought mixed results for the Portland Timbers. On one hand, they had a big win over the Seattle Sounders on September 6 and have seen various players accomplish different things, from Diego Valeri becoming the third player ever with 80 goals and 80 assists in a career to Eryk Williamson getting his first two goals of his MLS tenure to Steve Clark earning his 500th save. Pretty cool stuff!
On the other hand, Portland has been a mess defensively, gone a measly 1-1-3 after their MLS is Back Tournament win, and lost Sebastian Blanco for the rest of the season with an ACL tear. Admittedly, it definitely feels like there’s been more bad in these first few weeks than good, and the Timbers are currently stuck. So knowing where this team stands, how do different outlets rank them among their peers? Here’s where some power rankings have the Timbers.
ESPN ranked Portland 13th in the league overall, dropping them two spots because of their struggling defense. While they think the return of Diego Chara and Larrys Mabiala will help, they don’t think it’s a cure-all for everything.
The Timbers have conceded 15 goals since returning from MLS is Back, including four in the defeat to LAFC. The return of Larrys Mabiala from injury and Diego Chara from suspension will no doubt help, but overall Portland is in a rut.
Major League Soccer’s Jonathan Sigal has the Timbers ranked significantly higher than ESPN, slotting them in for the seventh spot. However, Sigal noted that the first post-Blanco performance was subpar and the defense has improve.
Portland laid an egg in their first game without star attacker Sebastian Blanco (torn ACL), continuing their hot-and-cold form since winning the MLS is Back Tournament. What’s most concerning, however, is the Timbers are allowing three goals per game during that five-game stretch.
Finally, Bleacher Report has the Timbers as the 12th best team in the league, a six-spot drop from where they were last week. Joe Tansey noted that more consistent results are needed to see where they really stand among the top MLS contenders.
Portland has alternated between a loss and earning points through five Phase 1 games.
On Sunday, the Timbers were outclassed by LAFC in a six-goal thriller at Providence Park.
The Timbers should recover against a struggling San Jose side Wednesday, but even if they win that game, it will not tell us much about where they stand among the MLS Cup contenders.
Portland split games with Seattle and lost to both L.A. teams in Phase 1. It gets another matchup with the Sounders in the second contest of Phase 2, which could be massive as the race for playoff seeding intensifies.
What do you think about where Portland ranks among these outlets? Agree or disagree? Let us know below.