Spencer hails Timbers' character, professionalism

Successful Summit sees Portland remain unbeaten in preseason

John Spencer leading team - preseason 2011

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

PORTLAND, Ore. – Timbers coach John Spencer used the words “delighted” and “proud” to describe a memorable weekend at the Cascadia Summit in which his team beat the Seattle Sounders and tied the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Perhaps more than anything, Spencer has enjoyed watching this essentially new MLS team buy in to his consistent message about maintaining high standards of conduct and attention to detail as a Portland Timbers player.

“The mentality has not changed from Week 1 to Week 10 and it won’t change in the regular season,” Spencer said Monday. “You have to have professional mentality from the moment you step into the training facility in the morning until the moment you go to sleep at night.”

The Timbers’ approach has more than a little to do with the team’s unbeaten streak during the first seven preseason games, he said.

“Even when we haven’t played as well as we’d have liked to have played, teams still haven’t run over the top of us,” Spencer said. “I think it shows great character and a great willingness and desire to work and fight over every inch of the field for 90 minutes.”

The team was still in a mood to reflect upon the Summit – including a 2-0 victory over Seattle – even as it was turning attention to Saturday’s preseason game against San Jose.

Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

“It was great; we were all excited about it,” defender Jeremy Hall said. “It wasn’t pretty at times, but our work rate defensively off the ball has been tremendous all preseason. If we can do that for 34 games this season then we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Right-side combo Steve Purdy and Sal Zizzo were roundly praised after their performance against Seattle. Spencer said that his new expectation is that the two players continue to meet that standard.

“They’re basically doing what we brought them here to do,” Spencer said. “I keep telling them, ‘We believe in you. We’re trying to give you a platform to showcase your skills.' They’ve set themselves a standard now and I’m not going to let them drop below. I’m sure that they’ve got it.”

Spencer said the weekend’s outcome left him “delighted.”

“If you’d have said to me beforehand, ‘You’ll beat Seattle and tie Vancouver,’ I’d have been, like, ‘Really?’” the coach said, nodding his approval.