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Portland Timbers

20 September 10:42 am

 

Seattle se qualifie, le LA Galaxy se fait peur : on peut résumer ainsi la soirée de mercredi des clubs de MLS en Ligue des champions. Aux Puerto Rico Islanders, les Californiens ont été muets offensivement et ont dû compter sur leur gardien Brian Perk pour sauver un point (0-0) : leur qualification se jouera le 25 octobre à Metapan. Seattle est déjà assuré de passer l’hiver au chaud grâce à sa victoire dans un match course-poursuite à Marathon (2-3). De bon augure avant le sommet de samedi contre San José.

D’autant que le leader est passé bien près de la catastrophe dans son match de championnat d’hier : chez lui, il a failli offrir sa première victoire en déplacement à Portland, qui menait 0-2 grâce à deux réalisations de Danny Mwanga. Mais Wondolowski est monté et a marqué deux buts synonymes d’égalisation (2-2).

La première a finalement eu lieu à New York. Après moult difficultés pour se rendre à destination, Kansas City a profité d’erreurs en début de match de l'équipe locale, qui avait pourtant juré qu’on ne l’y reprendrait plus, et lui a infligé sa première défaite à domicile de la saison (0-2).

Dans la lutte pour la cinquième place de la conférence Est, Columbus a remporté une victoire précieuse 1-0 contre Chivas USA grâce à un but tardif de Meram, et met la pression sur DC United qui se déplace ce soir à Philadelphie (direct RDS2, ESPN2, TSN2).

Classements de la Ligue des champions
Classement du championnat
Cliquez sur un résultat pour voir le résumé vidéo

29 August 1:00 pm

Do you like the Caleb Porter signing for Portland? Because I do.

Here are a couple of positives:

He'll likely keep Darlington Nagbe playing like this. Way back in February, everybody in Timbers camp assured me that Nagbe was one of the most talented players in the league. Then head coach John Spencer went so far as to say he's the most talented player in MLS.

I shook it off as a coach predictably trying to build the confidence of a youngster who'd shown flashes, but didn't seem to have the mindset (or a clear position) to be successful. Nagbe didn't score enough to play as a second forward, didn't pass aggressively enough to be a No. 10, and didn't work the flanks like a winger. Barring the Goal of the Year vs. Sporting KC, his 2011 season was, frankly, disappointing. He was a guy you'd want on your side in five-v-five keep-aways, but not in a game that counts.

GOAL: Nagbe puts the Timbers ahead

And that continued to be the story until about three weeks ago. Something clicked, and now Nagbe is a devastating force any time he's in the final third. Y.P. Lee doesn't get left on his rear too often, but that's exactly what happened this weekend when Nagbe scored the opener in the 2-1 win over the Whitecaps.

I'm happy about this not just because the Timbers deserve a bit of luck, but because Nagbe is in the process of getting his US citizenship (and is reportedly fairly close). And anyone who's playing this well, and is that tidy with the ball, will hopefully translate that to the international level.

Porter, of course, coached Nagbe at Akron, and brought the best out of him there. So purely from a "Selfish US Fan" perspective — yes, I like this hire.

I also like what Porter's done with Akron. Recruiting to northeast Ohio is, we'll say, just a bit harder than recruiting to Westwood or Chapel Hill. He had a vision for his program, and saw it out against fairly significant odds.

That success in the college ranks is actually a pretty good predictor of MLS success. It's something I had the chance to talk with Frankie Hejduk about last season, as he was riding the wave to his second Shield/Cup double with one of the great teams in MLS history. He'd done so before, back in 2008 with the Columbus Crew — one of the other great teams in MLS history.

To paraphrase, Hejduk felt that the biggest similarity between the 2011 Galaxy and 2008 Crew was the way the teams were managed. Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid — the two best managers in MLS history (apologies to Dom Kinnear) — had created an atmosphere that Hejduk compared to college, an atmosphere of competitiveness but unity that he said doesn't often exist at the professional level.

Coming from a guy who's played in the UEFA Champions League, the CONCACAF Champions League, a pair of World Cups and won the Supporters' Shield winners in three different decades, that observation has some weight.

Porter, by all accounts, is cut from the same cloth. A lot of people see a college background as a handicap, but Frankie and I see it as a plus.

And here are the negatives:

Porter's Under-23 Olympic qualifying team was lamentably rigid. He stayed with the 4-3-3 come hell or high water, and the US both burned and drowned. The Canadians exposed his squad badly, and then he failed to adjust for the group finale against El Salvador. You want to forget, but you remember.

It's a case of him failing to make the best use of his available resources. This past U-23 group was loaded with pacey wingers and fullbacks who can cross, and big, strong forwards who can finish those crosses. A 4-4-2 was called for given the personnel — imagine El Salvador trying to contain Terrence Boyd and Will Bruin, just for a moment if you would. It's laughable.

But the adjustment never came. It was 4-3-3 to the very end, and it was ugly. The good news for Timbers fans is that he hasn't been that rigid at Akron, so perhaps it wasn't really his call with the U-23s.

He gets cute and plays guys out of position far too often for my tastes. Sometimes the best bet is just to keep it simple, and he seems to be against doing that a bit too often. I don't know if it's because he's young or if it's just how he's wired, but it definitely puts a ceiling on my expectations from him.

Anybody who watched MLS in 2011 — anybody! — could've told you that Perry Kitchen (another Akron product) was going to struggle at central defense in Olympic qualifying. It was also fairly apparent even at that point that Amobi Okugo would end up being a backliner.

Yet Kitchen spent the tournament in the heart of defense, while Okugo played defensive mid. Five months later, that's practically inconceivable.

Not to sell the job short, but 90 percent of managing is keeping the players pointed in the right direction emotionally and then putting everyone in the right spots on the pitch. I have little doubt that Porter will be successful at the first (I can't stress this enough: Every single player I've talked to who's played for him at any level absolutely loves him).

For the second ... if I were a Timbers fan, that's where my worries would be.

29 August 12:23 pm

Une fois n’est pas coutume, l’émission Coup Franc (à écouter ici) est diffusée le mercredi cette semaine et accueille Olivier Brett en studio. Allongée et enrichie, en voilà le menu :
- Rémi Roy, entraîneur des gardiens de New England, nous parle de la saison actuelle de son club, de la transition en cours, de ses gardiens et des qualités des meilleurs portiers de la compétition.
- Amos Magee, entraîneur adjoint à Portland, se penche sur l’échange Perkins - Ricketts, tente d’expliquer pourquoi son équipe n’a pas confirmé sa bonne première année, évoque ses difficultés en déplacement et la Cascadia Cup qui pourrait sauver la saison.
- Nos deux invités confirment aussi les avantages de parler français en MLS.
- Discussion sur les gardiens : Qui sont les meilleurs en MLS ? Comment les évaluer ? Serait-il opportun d’avoir un joueur désigné à ce poste ?
- Caleb Porter sera-t-il l’homme de la situation à Portland ? Quel est le profil idéal d’un entraîneur en MLS, comment et où le recruter ? Quelles sont les erreurs à ne pas commettre ?
- Débat : Qui de Colombus, Montréal, Houston, Chicago et DC United disputera la phase finale de la saison ? Nous avons analysé le classement et le calendrier de chacune des équipes pour vous faire le portrait le plus clair possible de la situation. Voyez aussi le fameux tableau de Frédéric Lord.
- Kansas City - New York : 1-1, alors que New York n’a pas tiré une seule fois au but !

L'émission Coup Franc est aussi disponible sur Stitcher et iTunes. Vous pouvez nous joindre par courriel (coup.franc@MLSsoccer.com) ou sur Twitter (@CoupFrancMLS).

24 August 5:12 pm

I've got goosebumps right now. Just trust me when I tell you that's not the norm here at MLS HQ come Friday afternoon.

For that, I have to thank the Vancouver Whitecaps, who put out quite the hype video ahead of Saturday's trip to Portland (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).

Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

07 August 6:11 pm

It's the talking point after every trade in any sport: Who got the better deal?

Numbers don't lie, and although they are certainly not exempt from an open interpretation, the data speak for themselves. And regarding the goalkeeper swap of Donovan Ricketts and Troy Perkins between Montreal and Portland, the results are fairly persuasive.

Montreal found a winner in Perkins.

Ahead in almost every category, the newly acquired Impact netminder has a higher catch success rate, fewer drops and more saves parried away to safety to name a few.

Yes, there are certainly some intangibles that are overlooked (e.g. Ricketts 90-plus international caps), but Montreal clearly appear to have gotten an upgrade. Timbers GM and interim head coach Gavin WIlkinson believes that the Timbers received an upgrade as well.

What do you think? Who got the better deal: Montreal or Portland? Let us know in the comment section below.

Perkins

Player Surname

Ricketts

35

Goals Conceded

39

27

Goals Conceded Inside Box

33

8

Goals Conceded Outside Box

6

66

Saves Made

61

31

Saves Made from Inside Box

32

35

Saves Made from Outside Box

29

65.35%

Saves to Shots Ratio

61.00%

53.45%

Saves to Shots ratio Inside Box

49.23%

81.40%

Saves to Shots ratio Outside Box

82.86%

3

Goalkeeper Smother

1

31

Catches

18

15

Punches

9

3

Drops

7

2

Crosses not Claimed

4

93.88%

Catch Success Rate

79.41%

3

Clean Sheets

3

214

GK - Pick up

165

0

Error leading to Goal

3

0

Error leading to Attempt

2

105

Shots On Conceded

104

62

Shots On Conceded Inside Box

69

43

Shots On Conceded Outside Box

35

59.05%

% Shots On Conceded Inside Box

66.35%

40.95%

% Shots On Conceded Outside Box

33.65%

24

Saves Parried Safe

20

7

Saves Parried Danger

15

22

Saves Caught

8

13

Saves Collected

15

26

Keeper Sweeper Successful

32

5

Keeper Sweeper Unsuccessful

6

0

Recoveries in Opp Half

0

0

Goals Conceded from Fast Break

0

4

Attempts Conceded from Fast Break

6

29

Big Chance Faced

35

15

Big Chance Goals Conceded

22

2

Big Chance Saved

5

12

Big Chance Missed

8

11.76%

Big Chance Prevention %

18.52%

 

31 July 1:25 pm

Ever wonder what the days are like in the life of MLSers leading up to matches?

Well, now you can find out. Major League Soccer and NBC have announced a new, day-in-the-life series, MLS 36. The program – which follows in the footsteps of fellow NBC Sports Network series Fight Night 36, IndyCar 36 and NHL 36 – takes viewers behind the scenes for a player's 36 hours prior to kickoff.

San Jose Earthquakes star and golden-boot leading Chris Wondolowski wil be the first league player highlighted, when his preparation for the 2012 MLS All-Star Game will air on Sunday, August 5 at 9:30 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network. The second installment is set to air the following Friday, August 10 when Seattle's Fredy Montero's preparations are recorded ahead of the Sounders' World Football Challenge match vs. Chelsea on July 18.

Additional episodes and players of MLS 36 will be announced at a later date. Which player to the right would you want to see featured? Or, let us know who else you would want in the comments below.

25 July 12:09 pm

On vient de dépasser la mi-saison et j’avais envie de voir à quel point les équipes en étaient par rapport au même stade l’an dernier. Le calendrier de la MLS étant ce qu’il est, j’ai d’abord réalisé un classement des 18 premières rencontres de chaque club (qui permet au passage de relativiser le classement actuel). Ensuite, je l’ai comparé avec le classement de leurs 18 premiers duels l’an dernier pour voir leurs progressions / régressions respectives. Même s’il faut prendre ces tableaux avec des pincettes, notamment en raison du déséquilibre entre les matchs joués à domicile et à l’extérieur, ils n’en demeurent pas moins des indicateurs très intéressants. À vous d’en tirer vos propres conclusions… N’hésitez pas à les partager !

CLASSEMENT 2012 APRÈS 18 MATCHS
    J Pts
1. San José 18 36
2. DC United 18 33
. Kansas City 18 33
4. Salt Lake 18 32
5. New York 18 31
6. Vancouver 18 30
7. Chicago 18 28
8. Seattle 18 27
9. Columbus 18 25
. Houston 18 25
11. Chivas USA 18 23
12. Colorado 18 22
. New England 18 22
14. LA Galaxy 18 20
. Philadelphie 18 20
16. Portland 18 19
17. Montréal 18 18
18. Dallas 18 15
19. Toronto 18 13
COMPARAISON 2012 / 2011 APRÈS 18 MATCHS
    J 2012 2011 Diff.
1. Vancouver 18 30 14 +16
2. San José 18 36 22 +14
3. Kansas City 18 33 22 +11
4. DC United 18 33 23 +10
5. Chicago 18 28 18 +10
6. New England 18 22 16 +6
7. New York 18 31 25 +6
8. Houston 18 25 20 +5
9. Chivas USA 18 23 21 +2
10. Salt Lake 18 32 31 +1
11. Seattle 18 27 28 -1
12. Colorado 18 22 23 -1
13. Columbus 18 25 27 -2
14. Portland 18 19 21 -2
15. Toronto 18 13 15 -2
16. Philadelphie 18 20 28 -8
17. LA Galaxy 18 20 34 -14
18. Dallas 18 15 34 -19
 
11 July 12:51 pm

Ask Joe Bendik about his eight-year-old nephew Gavin, and his eyes instantly light up.

You see, Gavin has cystic fibrosis and Bendik, the Portland Timbers backup goalkeeper, has used his notoriety as a professional soccer player to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  It's a passion that has led Bendik to raise close to $3,000 through the Portland chapter of Team Gavin as part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides National Walk Event.

Those efforts have earned him the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month award for July.

Bendik and a handful of teammates participated in the May 19 Great Strides event at Oaks Park Amusement Park or donated gear to show their support. Along with the money generated at the local event, Team Gavin raised more than $30,000 nationwide.

Bendik is hoping to draw on the excitement displayed during the Great Strides walk to plan a charity golf tournament in August. He's also working with a local high school in the area on an alumni football game fundraiser.  All of it with Gavin in mind.

Article by Dan Itel. Read more.

10 July 10:58 am

Cette semaine, Olivier Tremblay, collaborateur à MLSsoccer.com, se joint à l’équipe pour une émission à écouter ici et au menu encore très riche :
- Nick De Santis, directeur sportif de Montréal, nous parle des coulisses du transfert d’Alessandro Nesta, notamment du fait qu’il n’est pas joueur désigné. Il évoque aussi les renforts que son club cherche encore.
- Notre invité Aurélien Collin révèle les secrets de l’excellent début de saison de Kansas City, fait part de ses attentes en vue du Match des étoiles (All-Star Game) contre Chelsea et évoque aussi de sa passion, la mode.
- On analyse le Onze Populaire de la MLS, choisi par le public, avec Christian Schaekels de Vision du Jeu. Comment Ben Olsen doit-il compléter ce groupe, en fonction des qualités des joueurs choisis, du style qu’il prône et des qualités de l’adversaire, Chelsea ?
- Décevant sur le terrain, Portland limoge son entraîneur John Spencer.
- L’accolade entre Zakuani et Mullan après Seattle - Colorado.
- Les trois buts marqués par Saborio en un quart d’heure.

L'émission Coup Franc est disponible sur iTunes.

09 July 2:38 pm

MLS W.O.R.K.S. and MLS corporate partner Continental Tire announced their commitment to educate the next generation of energy users during MLS Cup 2011 and are participating in Bonneville Environmental Foundation's (BEF) Solar 4R Schools program. A solar panel installation was awarded to KIPP Los Angeles Preparatory School--also the location of an environmentally friendly service project that culminated Greener Goals week and included players from MLS Cup 2011 champion LA Galaxy.

In addition, MLS W.O.R.K.S. and Continental Tire launched the "How Green Are Your Goals?" campaign as a way to engage MLS fans to participate and support environmentally friendly efforts leading up to Earth Day. Fans were encouraged to visit the Greener Goals website to share stories of how they incorporate green efforts into their everyday lives.

Thanks to the incredible support from supporters and fans, the Portland Timbers are the MLS W.O.R.K.S./Continental Tire "How Green Are Your Goals?" contest winners. A deserving school in Portland will receive a $50,000 solar panel installation as part of an MLS W.O.R.K.S. Earth Day 2013 community service project.

Timbers fan Jeffrey Briley was named the "How Green Are Your Goals?" Sweepstakes Grand Prize winner and has won a trip to the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park in Chester, PA, and a set of tires, courtesy of Continental Tire.

Congratulations to the Portland Timbers and Jeffrey Briley for your outstanding commitment to the environment.

 

For photos from the event at KIPP LA, visit the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Flickr page.