Going into the offseason, one of the goals for the Portland Timbers was to shore up the back line. One of the areas of struggle for Portland all of last season was the constant concession of goals late in games. They gave up 15 goals in the final 15 minutes during the course of 2020. There were other areas that could use work, but the Timbers knew the defense was where to start.
They made a few moves here and there solidify the back line. They brought in Claudio Bravo from Club Atletico Banfield back in December, and they also re-signed Larrys Mabiala to solidify the center back position. Their most-recent move was bringing in Josecarlos Van Rankin from Liga MX. The right back joined the team last month for the beginning of the preseason and already feels like he’s adjusting to his new club.
“Little by little I am adapting to the team, and they have received me very well,” Van Rankin said. “The city is incredible, so I am very happy to arrive here. Little by little I am getting to know my colleagues and they are giving me the opportunity to adapt quickly.”
Van Rankin said that he feels confident in his ability to adapt to his new club. He considers himself someone who plays aggressively and who does well when things are tactically organized. The Timbers showed their ability to do that when Sebastian Blanco went down last September. If anything, Van Rankin sees the upcoming trip to Arizona as an opportunity to grow more comfortable with his new teammates.
“It’s going to be a good time for me to adapt and get to know my teammates,” Van Rankin said. “I am already getting to know how they work, and I think it’s a little different from Mexico. That’s what I think: getting to know the team, building team, getting to know them and get closer to my teammates to start this new season.”
Getting to know the league better is a top priority for Van Rankin. He noted that he was impressed with the facilities and the organization of everything, and that he’s observed its growth from afar. His almost 10 years of experience in Liga MX has helped prepare him for this moment.
“I believe that the experience I gained in Mexico can help me a lot to do a good job here in the MLS,” Van Rankin said. “It’s a very big league that has grown a lot in recent years, and the experience I had in Mexico will help me perform well here in the MLS.”
While he feels he’s ready to go, he’s prepared to make the necessary adjustments — whatever they may be — in order to fit in with the Timbers and help propel them to the heights they want to reach.
“I think the first thing is for me to adapt to the league, the team and then with time see how I can improve but basically I may have to change something,” Van Rankin said. “I have to adapt to the type of game they have here.”
The Timbers have high hopes for the 2021 season, and Van Rankin is primed to play a big role in that.