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Major League Soccer

The Portland Timbers in a Single Word: Fledgling

How will Caleb Porter do in his first season in Major League Soccer? A great fan base and a few special players may not be enough to lift the Timbers into the playoff picture.
BY Matt Thacker Posted
March 03, 2013
6:44 PM
New head coach Caleb Porter is a proven winner at the college level, but even he knows it could take time to implement his attractive possession-style offense.

Last year was a disaster for the Timbers, which conceded the third-most goals and scored the second fewest. The back line is still a concern too, although newly signed French international Mikael Silvestre, 35, should bring poise and experience. Ryan Johnson will add pace as he replaces Kris Boyd at striker, while Will Johnson and Diego Valeri offer upgrades in midfield. Valeri, the 26-year-old Designated Player, could take this team to the next level if he lives up to expectations. The Timbers will feature a lot of young talent and speed, but the coach is the one to watch. Porter will face an unfamiliar situation where his players are not always more talented than the opposition. Those times usually call for a grittiness that this team may lack.

Expected finish: 7th in the Western Conference. Portland has the talent to surprise more than a few teams this year, but the playoffs may be one more year away for this young team.

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