PORTLAND, Ore. — Before Sporting Kansas City dealt Jack Jewsbury to Portland, the Missouri native and eight-year veteran had a meeting with KC head coach Peter Vermes to discuss his future.
Jewsbury asked for a chance to re-establish himself after a season in which he played in 17 of 29 games and logged his fewest minutes since 2005.
“I sat down with them probably two weeks before the trade actually happened, with coach Vermes and the staff there, and said, ‘Hey, if you don’t see me in one of your key positions, I know there are teams out there that would be interested in what I can do,’” Jewsbury recalled on Thursday. “At that time, I didn’t know if [a trade] was going to happen that minute or whether I was going to have a big role with them.”
Sporting responded by sending the midfielder to Portland in exchange for allocation money on March 1, and the expansion Timbers have been grateful for the deal ever since.
Within days of arriving in Portland, Jewsbury was named team captain, a role that has elevated his visibility, and he has become a prominent spokesperson for the team, second only to head coach John Spencer.
On Saturday, Jewsbury will get a chance to impress his former team when the Timbers go out looking to snap a five-game winless streak against Sporting KC. (11 pm ET, watch LIVE online)
“It was a good decision for them and myself to part ways,” Jewsbury said. “I have respect for them, respect for that organization, but it’s been a great time here in Portland so far.”
In his four months with the Timbers, Jewsbury has quickly made himself the team’s MVP in their inaugural MLS season. A lethal set-piece taker, the midfielder’s masterful service from corners and free kicks have been Portland’s most reliable weapon and his offensive output — four goals and six assists through 15 games — indicate he’s having a career year. On top of that, he is the Timbers player considered most likely to be selected as an All-Star.
Jewsbury has not practied this week ahead of the Sporting match while dealing with a hamstring injury suffered during last Saturday's 4-0 loss to FC Dallas, but he was injected with cortisone on Wednesday and is hoping that a little extra rest and rehabilitation will help him recover by Saturday.
The Timbers — who head into the SKC match coming off a 4-0 loss to FC Dallas — will almost certainly need him in order to turn their season around.
“Any time you go on what you might call a bad streak, you want to get back on track as soon as possible,” Jewsbury said. “Most of the teams have hit this point a little bit already. The question is, how fast can you get out of it?”