Timbers Beat: Solid start to 2007

I wouldn't call it a surprise, but it's always hard to know what to expect when a new head coach inherits a club that finished at the bottom of the table the season prior to his arrival. So I don't think it's a stretch to say that the Timbers are off to a very impressive start under rookie gaffer Gavin Wilkinson.

You had to know that Gavin's players would be blue collar workers who play stifling defense and don't shy away from contact. But the most impressive development thus far may be the squad's ability to create quality scoring chances from all over the attacking third. Another key item appears to be the team's depth, which is incredibly important in USL-1, where scheduling is often far from logical in football terms.

The first real test lies ahead, as the Timbers leave the Pacific Northwest for the first time in 2007. Off to league powers Montreal and Rochester, no less. Mix in the U.S. Open Cup, friendlies against AC Milan Primavera and Preston North End and you have the busiest summer schedule of any team in the league. That can go one of two ways: Grind out some key points and survive in tact for the stretch run, or break down beyond repair before having to end the season with five of six matches away from home. My money is on the first scenario.

The Ax to the Road blog is steadily coming back to life for another season of road trips, so be sure to give it a look at http://timbersblog.blogspot.com/.

Cheers!

- Posted by: Andy Mac