Talking Points: Timbers losing respect

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1

Apparently, the blogosphere is getting tired of ties so far as the Timbers go. Portland has slipped to No. 4 this week in most Major League Soccer power rankings following a 2-2 standoff in Chicago.

Bleacherreport.com says "the draw with the Fire was deemed a disappointing result as the Timbers conceded twice in the second half.''

West leader and No. 3 FC Dallas (8-2-4, 28 points) comes to Portland (5-1-8, 23 points) on Saturday.

Also of note, after starting the season near the bottom of the rankings, the Seattle Sounders (6-4-3, 21 points) are now ranked No. 5, just a slot behind the Timbers.

2

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tops the list of Sporting News' top 25 National Football League players younger than 25.

About Wilson, SN's Vinnie Iyer writes: "Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton provided tough competition for this honor. But in the second half of his rookie season, Wilson was a more durable, productive, efficient and winning quarterback than all of them. He should build on the momentum to be much improved in Year 2.''

The rest of the top five are Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay; Alfred Morris, RB, Washington; Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England, and A.J. Green, RB, Cincinnati.

3

Well, it's not even July and the Mariners are a certified mess.

The team is on pace for a 90-loss season again even with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma front-loading the rotation and woeful Houston joining the AL West.

The youth movement is pretty much a failure. Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero are at Tacoma, Justin Smoak is parked on the DL and Michael Saunders can't hit, after teasing us that he could.

GM Jack Zduriencik has developed one consistent major league player in third baseman Kyle Seager in five years. The M's are now a patchwork of fill-ins with lots of role players forced into daily duty due to the collapse of the youth. By the All-Star break, look for the annual second-half audition of prospects.