MLS Regular Season

03 July 10:18 am

All this week, MLSsoccer.com is taking a look at "food and its relationship to the beautiful game." Some of it delves into how nutrition is making an impact on players' on-field performance, like this article, and others take a look at some of the unique aspects of food culture and soccer.

Considered among the best press box food in league, MLSsoccer.com interviewed JELD-WEN Field Executive Chef Bob Bumbraugh on how he prepared the food for the big match against Seattle Sounders and a little insight into the delicious "Timbers Bacon."

03 July 9:42 am

These boots could be yours. Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer

At today's match against the San Jose Earthquakes (7:30 pm PT; KPTV Fox 12Timbers Television Network750 AM The GameLa Pantera 940), the Portland Timbers will be conducting a very special Lose the Boot auction with all the proceeds going to support Mercy Corps, an international nonprofit based in Portland, to help raise awareness of, and money for, their Sport for Change programs around the world.

Fans can visit the Timbers Stand Together table, located near gate Gate 4 and the Sunset Porsche Audi Suite Elevator, any time during pregame and before the end of halftime to bid on a pair of a player’s game-worn boots. The winning bidder will go down to the field following the match to meet the player, receive the autographed boots and have a photo taken to commemorate the event.

Fans will be able to bid on any of the following players’ boots:
 

Eric Alexander Jack Jewsbury
Joe Bendik Troy Perkins
Freddie Braun Steve Purdy
Eric Brunner Sebastian Rincon
Mike Chabala Franck Songo’o
Diego Chara Chris Taylor
David Horst Sal Zizzo


Stand Together with the Timbers
in making a positive, charitable impact on communities around the world by making a bid at the Lose the Boot auction this evening All in all, it's a great chance to get a unique piece of memorabelia and meet one fo the Timbers players. Get bidding!

29 June 9:37 am

You like soccer. You like going to pubs. You like playing pool. But how do you combine them into the best time AND potentially win a trip to the 2012 MLS Cup?

The Budweiser PoolBall Tournament has the answers.

What’s PoolBall?  This:
 

So now that you’re intrigued, you want to play. While the PoolBall field will be set up at numerous upcoming pub partner viewing parties and home matches for all to play, we have four slots available in a special tournament bracket culminating in a Timbers Army championship match at the Timbers Army Barbeque.

 Photo: Budweiser

Just to up the stakes a bit more, the winner of the Timbers Army tournament will then go on to battle the champion of the Seattle Sounders’ Emerald City Supporters group. The winner of that showdown then goes to MLS Cup and will have $2,500 donated to the supporters group of their choice—in this case, the Timbers Army.

Numerous smaller prizes and goodies are available along the way with great swag, scarves, autographed items and more. All you have to do is be 21 and over as of June 30, grab a friend (teams are made up of two players each) and register here. A random drawing of entries will then determine the four slots we have available. The Timbers Army also has a selection of slots available to play here.

Dates of early round bracket play are as follows:

6/30: @ On Deck - Timbers @ Colorado Rapids
7/3: vs. San Jose - @ JELD-WEN Field
7/7: @ Thirsty Lion - Timbers @ Real Salt Lake
7/14: vs. LA - @ JELD-WEN Field
7/21: @ Maher’s Irish Pub - Timbers @ FC Dallas
7/24: vs. Aston Villa - @ JELD-WEN Field

All are welcome to play on the above dates but to be part of the tournament, you must register for the drawing.

Channel your inner Minnesota Fats-Pele love child and sign up!
 

28 June 1:10 pm

With the Timbers looking ahead to Saturday's match with Colorado Rapids (6pm PT, KPDX TV, Timbers Television Network; 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940), many corners of the media are still talking about the incredible environment on display last Sunday in Portland's 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.

The Portland Business Journal took a look at how MLS worked to promote the game on a national scale and how they're looking to further expand rivalries across the league.

 Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer

Today, The Guardian in England published a great examination of the constant game of tifo one-upsmanship between the Timbers Army and Seattle's Emerald City Supporters. With the Timbers Army's massive banner fresh in Portland fan's minds, Graham Parker writes,

[As] the latest banner was raised, and the latest visual gauntlet laid down, it was hard not to respect the sheer dedication and commitment the Timbers Army had put in to honoring one of their club legends [Clive Charles] this Sunday, whatever the origins of the art form in the US. Multiple hundreds of hours of labor go into producing an image that may appear only momentarily, but that has the potential to leave an indelible memory. 

Speaking of the hundreds of hours of work put into creating the tifo, be sure to watch this Friday's June 29 Timbers in 30 (6:30pm PT, Fox 12 Oregon) as they'll have a special behind-the-scenes look into how the latest banner was constructed.

The Sporting News sent ace soccer writer Brian Straus here on Sunday to cover the Cascadia Cup battle. Calling the rivalry "among the most intense in American sport," Straus goes in-depth to try to figure out why our corner of the country has bred such an undying competition between the two communities. Comparing the Portland-Seattle clash to other rivalries from around the world doesn't quite work as its roots lie in a different area.

The Glasgow neighbors are divided by religion -- the Protestants support Rangers and the Catholics back Celtic. Elsewhere around the world, great (and occasionally violent) soccer rivalries revolve around politics, economics or geography. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s about civic identity.

Want to know more about how that civic identity operates within the larger ideal of what the very term "Cascadia" means? Portland Monthly's Martin Patail goes behind the deeper concept of the term and how "The Doug"--the green-white-blue flag with the massive Doug Fir emblazoned in the center that can be seen flying at all matches between Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver--is really part of a bigger discussion about a region's "independent state of mind."

It's clear the Cascadia ideal and rivalry therein--be it on the field or off--is stronger than ever.

27 June 9:31 am

David Horst has been picking up the honors this week with his CenturyLink Man of the Match performance in the memorable 2-1 victory over Seattle. MLSsoccer.com also bestowed an honorable mention to him in their Week 16 Team of the Week.

But perhaps most interesting is MLSsoccer.com taking a look at his first ever MLS goal in their great Anatomy of a Goal series. Calling his strike via Franck Songo'o's corner kick "textbook," editor Greg Lalas gives us the X's and O's of how Horst's gamewinner came to be.

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

22 June 8:24 am

 Photo: Ethan Erickson

Jacob Klinger of Soccer 365.com has an excellent profile of the Timbers' Brent Richards as part of their series on MLS Homegrown players. It takes a look at how the Camas, WA native came to be Portland's first-ever Homegrown player and charts his career from youth to college to Timbers U-23s to the professional ranks.

With interviews from coaches and teammates, it's a great examination growth that Homegrown players can have on teams in the MLS.

As Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson says in the piece, 

"When you live in that same neighborhood you feel a little bit more desire. I think you’re willing to run through a brick wall," Wilkinson said. " ... I just feel it’s great for all concerned and all involved to have a local player on the field."

Head over to Soccer 365 and give the whole piece a read.

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

19 June 8:25 am

 Image: ESPN

As some of you may have begun to notice, there's a growing buzz about this upcoming match for the Timbers this weekend. Seattle Sounders FC is coming to town and that means Rivalry. That mean Intensity. That means Cascadia Cup. 

Though the Vancouver Whitecaps FC sit atop the Cascadia standings on two points having drawn both Seattle and Portland earlier in the season, Sunday's game is the first 2012 meeting between the Timbers and Sounders (2:00pm PT, ESPN, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940).

We'll be rolling out all kinds of special Cascadia coverage throughout the week with a look back at memorable moments, stories from supporters, and more. Take a look at Monday's flashback to a classic NASL Portland-Seattle battle to get you started.

ESPN is getting into the act as well. They partnered up with MLS and us to make some unique posters that you may see popping up in many of our local watering holes and pubs. The posters take a particular "angle" on the match (see right).

Moreover, there's a brand new promo that was created to whet your appetite as well:

Are you ready?

06 June 12:32 pm

With today's acquisition of Danny Mwanga from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Jorge Perlaza, much has been made of Mwanga's Rose City roots. Originally born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mwanga and his family fled the Congolese civil war in 2006 to settle in Northeast Portland whereupon he starred for Jefferson High School (53 goals in nine games) and later for Oregon State University (Pac-10 Player and Freshman of the Year in 2009).

 Photo: Oregon State University 

Stephen Alexander of the Portland Tribune did a nice profile of Mwanga and the story of his journey to the United States when the then-Union forward came to take on the Timbers last season:

Mwanga was born into the bloodshed and sorrow of the Second Congo War. The war claimed the life of his father and forced his mother to flee the country, leaving Mwanga and his three older sisters behind. As a boy, Mwanga played soccer in the streets after school to forget some of the pain. A daring escape in June 2006 reunited Mwanga and his sisters with their mother in Northeast Portland.

It's a good read. Check it out here.

Searching through our own PortlandTimbers.com archives, last season Terry Horstman spoke with Mwanga's former Oregon State Beavers coach Steve Simmons as well as John Bain--president of Mwanga's youth team and adidas Timbers Alliance club, Westside Timbers. Bain is also a current Timbers alumni ambassador.

“He’s really humble, he really appreciates everybody, and he’s a really genuine and nice person.” Westside [Timbers] President and Timbers Ring of Honor inductee John Bain said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the surface of how good he’s going to be.”

At that same match in Portland last season, 400 of Mwanga's family and friends from the Westside team were in attendance. It's another great read.

The influence that Westside had on Mwanga is unmistakeable. In an article MLSsoccer.com did on Mwanga's homecoming, they talked about the role youth coach Monty Hawkins had on the young forward:

From teaching him how to drive to helping him find out where to go to school, Hawkins filled a very large void in the teenager’s life. “He helped me a lot and is a big part of my family,” Mwanga said.

Check out the full article here
.

Timbers fans in Oregon, do you remember Mwanga's youth in Portland? Share your stories and memories in the comments below.

30 May 1:12 pm

Throughout the 2012 season, the Vancouver Whitecaps have been examining the supporters and culture in the various cities their team travels away to. This past weekend, our Cascadia rivals were here in Portland and the learned Peter Schaad--voice of the 'Caps--did a great piece on our very own Timbers Army. "If you've always dreamed of experiencing the beautiful game's supporters culture at its finest, you could go to Europe or South America," Schaad intones. "Or, you could travel down the I-5 and catch a game at Portland's JELD-WEN Field."

For Timbers supporters, new and longtime, it's a quick look into what makes the Timbers Army so unique.

Got a story, tip, soccer tidbit to share? Send it in to thebackcut (at) portlandtimbers.com.

28 May 8:45 am

Two second-half goals, first by Timbers forward Kris Boyd and then from Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks, led to a 1-1 draw between the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps on an evening that had it all: intense rain, hail and lightning, not to mention an action-packed final 45 minutes.

The image is made up of 570 individual images taken throughout the first half and stitched together to form one large image. The final high resolution picture is 118,188 X 49,694 pixels or 5.8 gigapixels.

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