PORTLAND, Ore. – Jeremy Hall has proven he’s one of the most valuable assets on the Portland Timbers this season, but there was a time last season when he struggled just for playing time.
The midfielder/defender battled injuries and a talented depth chart while playing for the New York Red Bulls in 2010, earning just nine starts with Hans Backe’s team after starting 22 games as a rookie the year before.
Hall was shipped to Portland last November for a third-round selection in the SuperDraft, giving the Timbers a valuable and versatile player and offering Hall his first taste of the MLS merry-go-round.
Hall – who will face his former team on Sunday when the Red Bulls make their JELD-WEN Field debut – says he harbors no ill will to the team who sent him packing.
“I didn’t leave on bad terms,” Hall said. “Everybody from the (Red Bulls) organization, from the front office to the coaching staff – at least the people who are left from when I was there – have all been great. They’ve treated me with respect just like they have every other player.
“(Red Bulls) are a great team, great organization and are doing things the right way,” he added. “They’re setting the bar for the league.”
Hall has adjusted smoothly to his new team, starting all 13 games and notching two assists (he had two assists in 37 career games with New York).
He’s done just as well acclimating off the field, though he still flashes his New York temper while driving the streets of his new, laid-back locale.
“People here drive the speed limit, or slower, and it just kills me,” he said. “People (in New York) are first to honk their horns or cut in and out. That’s the only part of New York I brought with me when I moved out here.”
The Timbers enter Sunday’s match on a three-game losing streak, and have suddenly lost two straight at home after winning five consecutive games to christen JELD-WEN this spring.
And for his part, there’s still some unfinished business for Hall, who wants desperately for Portland to snap out of their funk and to give his former club some talking points when they leave town.
“It’s a little different playing a competitive match against your former team,” he said. “But I’m ready for it. It’s exciting for me and it’s a good opportunity for us to get a win. You want to put a good performance on them and show them what they missed out on.”