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Timbers' Perkins: "I'll prove them all wrong"

PORTLAND — Goalkeeper Troy
Perkins does not mince words.

The Portland Timbers’ new goalkeeper said Wednesday that not only does he feel
like he was made a scapegoat of D.C. United’s tough season last year, but
that he’s eager for a fresh start with the expansion club that made him a priority.

“It’s not the beginning of a
new chapter,” Perkins said. “It’s a whole new book.”

Perkins, 29, came to Portland
in a Dec. 17 trade from D.C. United after a tumultuous 2010 season. The
two-time Supporters' Shield winner and 2006 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year endured his worst
season statistically last year behind one of the most porous defenses in the
league, finishing with a 1.68 goals-against average in 22 appearances.

Perkins returned to MLS with
much fanfare last February after more than two years and 53 appearances with
Norwegian side Valerenga IF, and he was quickly installed as the starter with D.C.
United. Still, Perkins said he paid a steep price after the wheels fell off in
D.C. last season, resulting in the December trade for fellow goalkeeper Steve
Cronin.

“I felt like I got put into a
situation that wasn’t the best,” said Perkins, who won an MLS Cup in 2004 with D.C. United. “Someone has to take the fall.
Someone has to get hung for it. Obviously, I’m the guy. I’m OK with it. I can
look at myself in the mirror every day and be fine with it.”

[inline_node:279876]Still, Perkins added: “I have a
huge chip on my shoulder.”

Perkins said there were stressful off-the-field situations happening within his
family last year that he prefers not to discuss. More than anything, Perkins is
embracing the new year and new opportunity in Portland to prove his doubters
wrong.

And the Timbers, for their part, appear thrilled to give Perkins the chance.

“Today, we’ve acquired one of the best American
goalkeepers in MLS,” Timbers coach John Spencer said the day of the trade. “With
his valuable MLS experience and proven leadership, Troy has the ability and
character to make a huge impact in Portland.”

Perkins arrived in Portland on Sunday and said he has experienced a sense of
déjà vu. It feels a little bit like his arrival in Norway, dropping into a city
where he knows almost no one.

As a career move, this feels like a defining moment for the Ohio native, coming
to a town that will more than likely embrace his mix of international experience
and blue-collar work ethic. He is eager to get started so that he can recapture
the type of feeling he had in Norway. He already senses similarities.

“The Timbers are as close to a European club in America as you can find,”
Perkins said. “And I think the city is the same way.”

For that reason, Perkins said he feels like he is taking “a step up” rather
than latching on with an expansion team.

“This is a proving ground,” Perkins said. “I want to show people, all the
doubters, all the people (in D.C.) that were happy to see me go, or that
thought I was a one-hit thing, that’s not the case. I have a huge chip on my
shoulder and I’ll prove them all wrong.”


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