MLS News

07 August 9:09 am

As you know, Portland Timbers team captain Will Johnson took part in last week's 2013 MLS All-Star Game activities in Kansas City. Over the course of the week, Johnson trained with fellow All-Stars, helped out at an MLS WORKS event and was part of the Starting XI in the All-Stars 3-1 loss to Serie A's AS Roma.

Late night host Jimmy Fallon took notice. Rather than go the traditional route of naming an MVP award, Fallon took a different tack:

15 July 10:11 am

"Combine the Galaxy's stature and the teams' place in the standings (Portland now second in the West; LA fourth), Saturday may have been one of the best shows in Major League Soccer history."

The always excellent London-based newspaper, The Guardian, wrote about the Portland-LA match in their weekly "5 Things We Learned About MLS" feature. While there is no doubt the ending was the stuff of Portland legend, Guardian writer Richard Farley writes that the game also had an impact beyond just where the teams are in the standings, "On Saturday, when Portland claimed one of their most important wins in franchise history, the Timbers and Galaxy forced us to pause and consider how far the league's come."

Read the whole post here and while you're at it, subscribe to their always excellent Guardian Football Weekly Podcast.

18 June 10:16 am

Taylor Twellman. The very name evokes images of MLS Legend and flair as a 5-time MLS All-Star and 2005 MLS MVP who scored a whopping 101 goals in 174 matches for the New England Revolution.

Since retired, Twellman has become one of the top analysts for ESPN soccer broadcasts alongside Adrian Healeyyou heard him this past weekend on the Timbers-FC Dallas match—as well as the equally opinionated Big Head to Alexi Lalas’ Red Head on the aptly named ESPN Big Head Red Head Podcast.

But Twellman has also become a leading spokesperson around increased awareness of and improved care around traumatic brain injuries through his foundation Think Taylor. During the course his time as a player, Twellman suffered a series of concussions that curtailed his soccer career. Think Taylor looks to help tell his story and provide a support system for athletes across all sports and ages who suffer concussions and their after effects.

I sat down with Twellman this past weekend to talk about his thoughts on the recent run of U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifiers that he has been covering for ESPN, how he thinks Jurgen Klinsmann will utilize this summer’s Gold Cup tournament in furthering development around the U.S. team and how the Think Taylor Foundation is changing people’s perceptions around concussions. We also discuss the three biggest stories in MLS so far (Spoiler: The Timbers are one of them) and renew the age old debate: Big Head vs. Red Head.

Be sure to tune in to tonight’s U.S. – Honduras match at 6pm on ESPN and don’t forget to get tickets for the USMNT when they come to JELD-WEN Field for the Gold Cup on July 9.

The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.

07 June 2:53 pm

It has been demonstrated time and again that soccer has the power to make a positive impact in the community. The Portland Timbers firmly believe in that potential and constantly seek new opportunities to become involved through their community outreach platform Stand Together.

MLS WORKS is recognizing individuals from every MLS city, who have taken this idea to heart and promote goodwill, demonstrate leadership qualities and help to improve lives within their community.

Through June 20th, fans can nominate themselves or somebody in their community who sets an example as a leader in the community and uses soccer as a tool to help make a positive impact in one of the following areas:

  • Social issues focusing on acceptance and equality
  • Health issues affecting men, women or children
  • Community service for a local, national or international charity or community organization

One community MVP will be selected for each team and will receive VIP tickets, recognition during a 2013 home game, team merchandise, and an autographed item. 

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $10,000 donation to their charity of choice and a trip to the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, including airfare, accommodations, and tickets. The Nominator of the Grand Prize winner and one guest will also receive a trip to the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.

To nominate your MLS WORKS Community MVP, click here.

Read full contest rules here.

25 April 2:01 pm

Special thanks to www.theoriginalwinger.com for image

In a summer packed with Portland Timbers matches, Portland Thorns FC matches and the CONCACAF Gold Cup coming to town, there’s no shortage of the beautiful game to be found in Soccer City, USA.

Grant Wahl knows this as well as anybody, which is why he came to town to see the Portland's 2-1 home opener win against Seattle Reign FC as part of a larger story for Sports Illustrated on the Thorns' Alex Morgan.

Wahl, a longtime college basketball and soccer writer for SI, really made his mark in 2009 with his excellent book, The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America. Written in near real-time during the MLS season, it was an in-depth look not only into Beckham’s arrival with the LA Galaxy but also an inside look into Major League Soccer as a whole entity.

Since the book, Wahl has covered World Cups and international soccer along with a bid for for the FIFA presidency on a platform of more transparency. Through it all, he has continued to tell insightful stories across the soccer universe.

I sat down with him to talk about his impressions of the Thorns home opener, where MLS is at now near four years past his book and the importance of this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup to the U.S. Men’s National Team.

The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.

07 March 2:53 pm

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, fresh from his revealing MLS player polls, recently put together a grand list of the 50 most important people in U.S. Soccer. It has many of the names you'd expect. The top 5 are, in order: U.S. Sports TV executives, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, MLS commissioner Don Garber, Nike and adidas.

Of local note though are two rather big names. Coming in at No. 9 is Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan of which Wahl writes:

Let's be honest: the 23-year-old Morgan has everything it takes (on the field and off) to become the next Mia Hamm. Just one example of her appeal: Morgan has in excess of a million Twitter followers, more than any U.S. soccer player, male or female.

In a tie for No. 23 is Timbers and Thorns FC owner Merritt Paulson paired alongside Sporting KC's owner Robb Heineman:

Young owners who live and die with their MLS teams, Heineman and Paulson are the faces of MLS 2.0 and the league's answers to Mark Cuban. If only every league owner cared as much.

Head over to SI.com to read the full list. Any names missing you think should be on there? Any names on there you disagree with?

06 March 11:08 am

Montreal Impact midfielder and Québec native Patrice Bernier is quite familiar with Timbers midfielder Will Johnson. The two have played side by side on the Canadian national team for years with Bernier having 49 caps The Canucks to Johnson's 31. Now set to face off this Saturday in Portland at JELD-WEN Field (7:30pm, KPTV, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940), Bernier spoke to impactmontreal.com about his national teammate:

“He’s a guy that gives 100% all the time and you see that on the pitch,” added Bernier. “They brought him in because they know that he sets the tone. Training, games… I think that’s why their coach named him captain. He always brings that competitive edge.”

Check out the article over on the Impact site and be sure to watch the two go head-to-head on Saturday. 

05 March 11:43 am

Portland Timbers Academy co-director Mike Smith continues his time in France through an elite level training course as part of a special partnership between MLS and the French Football Federation. Here's his latest update.

Today was more sport psychology, and they introduced game analysis and charting, which we put into practice as we got to watch their first year students play in a game. They are born in 1999 and they played a friendly against another youth pro team. The 99’s won 6-0 and were impressive!  A number of top European Scouts were there too. 

We also watched the Parisian Center of Excellence players (1998’s) training. They did well and have certainly looked to play an attractive attacking style of football ever since we arrived here. This was the third time we have seem them train on different themes.

The photos are the statue they have of the world cup they won in 1998, the 1999’s (in red) in their game this afternoon and the French Sports Scientist showing us the data they were tracking by heart monitors and GPS of their young players…

The final one is the designated first team (National Team) pitch where finally the snow is melting.  It is reserved only for the National Team and is in pristine condition. The Chateau where we are staying overlooks it. The field is so well kept, that it has electric wire about it to keep out the wild boars!

 

26 February 5:50 pm

Timbers Academy co-director Mike Smith's unique MLS-led research trip to the French Football Federation continues.

After a long first, interactive day of class, on Monday night I was lucky enough to participate in a quite incredible Commencement Dinner with Gerard Houllier and Commissioner Don Garber. I can tell you that the French Chefs are brilliant!!! There were only 7 courses. :)

The course is definitely challenging from a theoretical point of view and they are looking for things a little differently from the way we do in Licenses for US Soccer.  It is always good to see a different point of view and today (Tuesday) was more specifically looking at their teaching method, an introduction to their sports psychology module and some instruction on how to cut up videotape. 

We got to see some of the U14/15 boys here training at Clairefontaine, the Parisian Regional Training Center. The U17 French National Team arrived today for 3 days of training and we hope to see them tomorrow.

Read Part One here.