Timbers Preview: Tidbits for the season

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Things to know, or to anticipate, as the Timbers kick off the 2014 Major League Soccer season.

Watch for: Portland's attack to be one of the most dynamic in the league. The Timbers had five players score seven or more goals last season. Ryan Johnson (nine goals) is playing in China and Rodney Wallace (seven goals) is out until at least midseason because of knee surgery, but the addition of Gastón Fernández and the potential for breakout seasons from Darlington Nagbe, Maximiliano Urruti and Kalif Alhassan could make the Timbers' offense one of the best in the league.

Watch out: For injuries, particularly if goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is out for a significant time. Backup Andrew Weber is a journeyman. On the plus side, Portland appears to have roster flexibility to address a significant injury or other midseason need.

Who's new: Forward Gastón Fernández, defender Norberto Paparatto, goalkeeper Andrew Weber, forward/midfielder Steve Zakuani, midfielder/defender Jorge Villafana, forward/midfielder Schillo Tshuma (rookie), midfielder Aaron Long (rookie), midfielder George Fochive (rookie), defender Taylor Peay (rookie), defender Bryan Gallego (rookie).

Who's gone: Forward Ryan Johnson, forward Jose Valencia (on loan), defender Mikael Silvestre; defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste, defender Ryan Miller, defender David Horst, forward Bright Dike, midfielder Sal Zizzo, goalkeeper Milos Kocic, forward Brent Richards, defender Dylan Tucker-Gangnes; forward Sebastian Rincon, midfielder Brad Ring.

Timbers roster

Forwards — Gastón Fernández, age 30, 5-7, 160; Frederic Piquionne, 35, 6-2, 170; Schillo Tshuma, 21, 5-10, 162 (rookie); Maximiliano Urruti, 23, 6-0, 165.

Midfielders — Kalif Alhassan, age 23, 5-10, 160; Diego Chara, 27, 5-8, 150; Steven Evans, 22, 6-1, 180; George Fochive, 21, 5-9, 172 (rookie); Will Johnson, 27, 5-10, 160; Aaron Long, 21, 6-1, 173 (rookie); Darlington Nagbe, 23, 5-9, 165; Michael Nanchoff, 25, 5-8, 150; Diego Valeri, 27, 5-10, 165; Jorge Villafaña, 24, 5-9, 150; Rodney Wallace, 25, 6-0, 165 (out until midseason, knee surgery); Steve Zakuani, 26, 6-0, 160; Ben Zemanski, 25, 5-11, 150.

Defenders — Mamadou "Futty" Danso, age 30, 6-3, 185; Bryan Gallego, 20, 5-10, 165 (rookie); Michael Harrington, 28, 6-0, 170; Jack Jewsbury, 32, 6-0, 185; Pa Modou Kah, 33, 6-1, 175; Rauwshan McKenzie, 27, 6-1, 185; Norberto Paparatto, 30, 6-3, 180; Taylor Peay, 22, 6-2, 180 (rookie); Alvas Powell, 19, 6-0, 165;

Goalkeepers — Donovan Ricketts, 36, 6-4, 210; Andrew Weber, 30, 6-2, 190; Jake Gleeson, 23, 6-3, 200.

Head coach — Caleb Porter (second season). Assistant coaches — Sean McAuley, Cameron Knowles, Mike Toshack (goalkeepers).

General manager — Gavin Wilkinson (fourth season).

Dates to circle

April 5 and Aug. 24 — Seattle visits Portland for MLS matches.

May 11 — L.A. Galaxy makes its only league visit to Portland in 2014.

June 12 — World Cup begins in Brazil.

July 13 — Portland visits Seattle for a Sunday night. The World Cup final is that afternoon in Brazil.

Aug. 6 — MLS All-Stars vs. Bayern Munich at Providence Park in Portland.

Sometime in August — The Timbers will debut in the CONCACAF 2014-15 Champions League, the first time Portland has qualified for the annual 24-team tournament for the nest clubs from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Group play likely will kick off in August.

Oct. 17 — Real Salt Lake visits Portland for the last regular-season home game, a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference finals.

Late October — MLS Cup playoffs begin.

Early December — 19th MLS Cup championship match.

2014 MLS schedule

Home games at Providence Park (same old stadium at 1844 SW Morrison St.; new naming sponsor).

Tickets —Timbers.com or 503-553-5555.

TV — All league games live on various TV networks.

Radio — AM 750. Spanish language broadcasts on AM 940 and FM 95.1.

March

8 — Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

16 — Chicago, noon.

22 — at Colorado, 3 p.m.

29 — at FC Dallas, 5:30 p.m.

April

5 — Seattle, noon.

12 — Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m.

19 — at Real Salt Lake, 6:30 p.m.

27 — at Houston, noon.

May

3 — D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

11 — L.A. Galaxy, 11:30 a.m.

17 — Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

24 — at New York, 4 p.m.

28 — at Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m.

June

1 — Vancouver, 6 p.m.

7 — at Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m.

11 — FC Dallas, 7 p.m.

27 — Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m.

July

4 — at L.A. Galaxy, 8 p.m.

13 — at Seattle, 7 p.m.

18 — Colorado, 8 p.m.

27 — at Montreal, 5 p.m.

August

2 — at L.A. Galaxy, 11:30 a.m.

9 — Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m.

16 — at New England, 4:30 p.m.

24 — Seattle, 2 p.m.

30 — at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.

September

7 — San Jose, 2 p.m.

13 — at Colorado, 6 p.m.

20 — Vancouver, 2 p.m.

27 — at Toronto, 10 a.m.

October

4 — at San Jose, 8 p.m.

8 — San Jose, 7:30 p.m.

17 — Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m.

25 — at FC Dallas, 5:30 p.m.