The intensity is gradually ratcheting up as MLS preseason training continues at a variety of locations around the country. Catch all the other news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.
The Portland Timbers, the preseason tournament’s host, mined the Jamaican Premier League side’s roster last year for young outside back Alvas Powell. Now the 19-year-old Jamaican international, competing with Jack Jewsbury for the starting spot at right back, will get to face off against his old team, where he spent the previous two seasons before joining the Timbers late last season, when Portland take on Portmore on Day 2 of the tournament Wednesday at Providence Park.
“I had been watching Portland for a long time, and Portland’s structure of the team, the players, it was fantastic,” Powell said in an article by PortlandTimbers.com’s Brian Costello. “I had always watched Portland because Portland is a nice attacking team. The stuff that I normally did in Jamaica was pretty easy, but while training here each day I’ve been learning and learning. So it’s a big difference.”
The article takes a look at the connection of a number of players from Jamaica who currently ply their trade in MLS. That also includes fellow Rose City Invitational participant Vancouver Whitecaps, who feature Andre Lewis, also formerly of Portmore, and Darren Mattocks.
“For our club, on a business end, it’s always good when you can export players,” Portmore coach Calvin Lewis said in the article. “Of all the clubs in Jamaica, we’ve exported the most players. It’s good to know that over the years, we continue export quality players.”
And of course, right off the bat he fielded a question about the team’s formation.
— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) February 25, 2014
.@theglav I think there's too much talk about us playing a 4-3-3. In reality, we're going to put the best team on the field to be successful— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) February 25, 2014
Growing up in Tampa Bay, Fla., of course, Hackworth said he was a “HUGE” Rowdies fan.
Even one of his players tried to take advantage of the public forum to get some time off.
TIMBERS SIGN ROOKIE DUO: The Portland Timbers announced the signings of 2014 SuperDraft picks George Fochive and Aaron Long on Tuesday morning, adding to their midfield depth ahead of a busy season.
Long, 21, scored 13 goals and five assists as a four-year starter and two-time Big West All-Conference selection at UC Riverside. The 36th overall SuperDraft pick helped his cause by recording an assist in his first preseason action for the Timbers in a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City in Tucson, Ariz., on Feb. 1.
Fochive, also 21, was selected with the first pick of the third round (No. 39 overall) after two solid NCAA seasons at the University of Connecticut, starting 45 games and recording two goals and two assists for the Huskies.
PTFC have also posted a video with reactions to last night's rough-and-tumble 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in their opening match at the Rose City Invitational, including thoughts from coach Caleb Porter, Ben Zemanski and Diego Valeri:
COFFEE POT CUP ON TAP FOR D.C.: D.C. United trained amid the castle-inspired architecture of The Citadel campus in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday morning ahead of Wednesday's Carolina Challenge Cup clash with the host club Charleston Battery.
This traditional preseason matchup is known as the "Coffee Pot Cup" thanks to a quirky story dating back to the early days of MLS, specifically a 1999 US Open Cup meeting between the two clubs at Blackbaud Stadium.
A stacked United side featuring the likes of Eddie Pope, Jaime Moreno and Roy Lassiter were knocked off by the underdog Battery, and the pain of losing to a lower-division side in the knockout competition turned to anger in the visitors' locker room postgame, with two coffee pots and some shower heads smashed. Read more about the roots of this unique rivalry here.
SOUNDERS SAY 'HI' TO ACADEMY KIDS: Seattle are also preparing for their second Carolina Challenge Cup match down in the Low Country, a Wednesday evening duel with the Houston Dynamo.
On Tuesday morning they hit the field for a training session at the College of Charleston, where they have run into a couple of familiar faces from back home: two academy products who are playing NCAA soccer at C of C.
Andy Rose is one Sounder who has made good use of the preseason, taking advantage of the early absence of both Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin due to national team duty. Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart took a glance at the Englishman's outlook as the 2014 season approaches.
FIRE SIGN FRANCO: Fullback Marco Franco was one of the surprise standouts at the MLS Combine last month, and now he's officially earned a spot on the Chicago Fire's roster.
The Fire announced the signing of their first-round SuperDraft pick, a product of UC Irvine, on Tuesday.
“Marco is an athletic, solid player and will add depth to our backline heading into the 2014 season,” said Fire head coach Frank Yallop in a statement. “From his performance at the Combine and throughout preseason, we are hoping Marco can transition from the collegiate level to the professional game."
Franco spoke to Chicago-Fire.com about the preseason efforts that earned him his first pro contract: