Jack Jewsbury has been at this awhile, so he knows that success in preseason games should always be taken with a grain of salt.
But even the Portland Timbers captain, who's entering his 10th year in MLS, has admitted that the results his club have earned are a real good sign.
Heading into Wednesday’s game against Chicago, the Timbers final contest of their 10-day preseason camp in Carson, Calif., Portland have posted a 2-0-1 record thanks to a 4-1 win against the LA Galaxy on Feb. 7, a 0-0 tie against Montreal on Friday, and 2-0 win over Houston on Sunday.
“I think the reality of the situation is they still are preseason games, but anytime we step on the field we’re going out there to win,” Jewsbury told MLSsoccer.com after the team’s training session on Tuesday. “And I think that in this organization that’s from the top down that anytime we’re out there, we’re trying to get three points. And the guys have that mentality, and we’ve gotten some good results.”
As opposed to this time last year, when Portland was kicking off their inaugural MLS season and with players coming together from all different backgrounds, getting to know new teammates this season isn’t as big of an issue. Jewsbury said a year of playing together has allowed them to hit the ground running in 2012.
Jewsbury didn’t even join the team until he was traded from Kansas City in March, with just a few weeks until the start of regular-season games.
“What I do know is that this group has had a year of playing together, and that’s a big deal,” said Jewsbury, who scored his first goal of the preseason against Houston. “A lot of teams in this league have built a core of guys for three or four years. You get to know one another’s tendencies. But even in this first year of playing together, guys have built relationships on and off the field that are going to help us get to the next level.”
He also said the team is building off the momentum of a late-season playoff push last year after an inconsistent first half.
“Toward the end of the season we were playing well and were playing better consistently than we were in the early stages of the season,” he said. “And I think the core group of guys wanted to come in here and let it be known that consistency needs to start now. It’s not something we can wait on for two or three games into the season. The guys on the team have preached that. The coaches have preached that. And I think everyone has reacted very well.”
After the Timbers face Chicago, they’ll return to Portland to round out the preseason schedule with a four-team tournament at JELD-WEN Field from Feb. 27 to March 4.
“It’s just a matter of having the same approach we’ve had for these last few games,” Jewsbury said. “We want to continue playing well and finish this L.A. trip on a positive note.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.