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News / Sports / Clark County Sports

Langsdorf looking at an uncertain future with Timbers

Mountain View High grad made his MLS debut, but still battles to get back with first team

By ANDY BUHLER for The Columbian
Published: April 30, 2019, 6:00pm
6 Photos
Foster Langsdorf looks towards Merlo Field before retuning to the pitch after halftime in a T2 game against Las Vegas on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
Foster Langsdorf looks towards Merlo Field before retuning to the pitch after halftime in a T2 game against Las Vegas on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

PORTLAND — It was a Monday afternoon at the Portland Timbers training facility, and the team was both disappointed, and focused.

After a 4-1 loss on the road at Los Angeles FC, the Timbers went straight from the airport to their Beaverton-based practice facility to work to put the loss behind them.

As players walked off the field after practice, Foster Langsdorf asked head coach Gio Savarese to meet and discuss his role. Langsdorf sought answers as he began his second season with his hometown club.

Savarese obliged and the two went back to his office and met for about 20 minutes.

“I just said very clearly,” Langsdorf said, “if you were me, what would you do in order to play first team minutes? And do you see me in your plans this year and if so, and if not, why and what can I do?”

Those questions linger at the forefront of Langsdorf’s mind in his second professional season since signing as a homegrown player with the Timbers out of Stanford.

On April 6, he got a partial answer.

Langsdorf made his MLS debut in a 3-0 road loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. He logged 24 minutes in the second half. But the Mountain View grad made sure to treat it as just another game.

“I tried to be very calm, we’d gone down another goal,” Langsdorf said. “I was warming up with the other guys on the team and they pulled up my jersey and flashed it from half field. Everyone on the Timbers team started getting excited, supportive saying ‘go get ’em.’

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“It was awesome. It’s cool, seemed like they were also excited for me.”

He appeared in a U.S. Open Cup game with the Timbers last June, but had not made a first team appearance up until that game. He spent most of last season on loan with United Soccer League-affiliate Timbers-2 as the first team made a run to the MLS Cup finals. He scored 14 goals and was the most efficient finisher in T2.

Langsdorf still laments going scoreless during the last seven games of his rookie season, a stretch he played parts of with a partially torn meniscus.

Right after the season, Langsdorf underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his right lateral meniscus, which sidelined him from any live scrimmages or contact training, instead opting to lifting weights before returning to full contact two weeks before the start of preseason.

Physically, Langsdorf says he’s fully regained his shape, though still regaining his sharpness on the field which, he says, takes the form of over-analyzing and overdoing little things in-game.

Off the field, he spends his afternoons working at a consulting firm in Portland founded by a former Stanford soccer player, something he says keeps his mind engaged during the blocks of down time typical of a pro soccer player’s day-to-day schedule.

Langsdorf, 23, spent last season buried among a cast of forwards that featured franchise-leading scorer Fanendo Adi, Samuel Armenteros (eight goals in 28 appearances) and Jeremy Ebobisse, a budding young prospect.

Adi was traded to Cincinnati FC midseason, and Armenteros’ loan expired at the end of the season, but the Timbers are reportedly looking to make a splash by signing a young designated player at the No. 9 (striker).

With the widely reported signing looming, Langsdorf sees the window before then as an opportunity. Still, he’s competing with the Timbers young signings up top in Marvin Loria and Renzo Zambrano, along with Ebobisse and Lucas Melano.

Langsdorf sees himself as the No. 3 option up top.

“Without them signing the No. 9 it gives me hope that there’s still a chance of playing,” he said. “As soon as they sign that guy it’s hard to imagine leap-frogging the three guys in front of you.”

Meanwhile, Langsdorf continues to bide his time with T2, which he went back to playing with the week after his MLS debut. In six appearances Langsdorf has three goals and an assist this season with the USL club.

Part of what continues to motivate him is never being satisfied.

“I don’t know if I’m happy where I stand,” he said. “I’m not unhappy, so I wouldn’t say I’m happy, it’s more that I see opportunity, especially with these guys being gone currently. I think if this is my shot, it’s going to happen now.

“Now if I get an opportunity I have to capitalize on it. Or I could potentially lose it and be too far behind to even get a look because of how many options we will have.”

For Langsdorf, the sit-down with Savarese was the second such conversation between him and his head coach. Savarese delivered a similar message to Langsdorf in September after a training session in Providence Park. This time, it’s a new season.

Saverese told Langsdorf he’d get a chance. The head coach delivered on that assurance, but Langsdorf continues to vie for first-team minutes.

“It is nice to check the box,” Langsdorf said. “I don’t want to read into the coaches decisions, but it’s hard not to. I just try and play my game … obviously I want more, I don’t want just a debut on my career.”