Timbers U-23s Notebook: McFarlin's breakout season leading the way for LMU
Portland Timbers U-23s midfielder John McFarlin is having a breakout junior season at Loyola Marymount University in California. Putting up career numbers in the Lions’ first 13 games of the season, McFarlin ranks among the nation’s assist leaders and his success has the program at the top of the West Coast Conference standings.
McFarlin, who has played each of the last two Premier Development League seasons with the Timbers U-23s, has recorded three goals and eight assists for LMU, and his assists total is tied for second-best in NCAA Division I. He had a career-best, three-assist performance on Sept. 20, contributing to a 4-0 win over Sacramento State. In fact, the Lions are unbeaten at 6-0-1 when McFarlin chips in with a goal or an assist.
When asked about his offensive output for the Lions this year, McFarlin points to the experience with Timbers U-23s. “It’s definitely the top level of summer soccer in the country, I think. Preparation-wise, you can’t beat it.”
He also added that he is able to see the game more slowly this season, which accurately reflects his improved statistics. McFarlin totaled two goals and seven assists through his first two collegiate seasons.
McFarlin is the team’s leading scorer and has helped lead LMU to a 8-2-3 record through the first 13 matches of the 2013 campaign. The Lions are off to a solid 4-1-1 start in conference play, and his game-winning goal with just 50 seconds left in a double-overtime win on Oct. 18 against St. Mary's lifted the program into sole possession of first place in the WCC.
“We’ve been playing with this group for a while so we’re starting to connect a little better,” said McFarlin. “We’re a more experienced team this year than we were last year, so for me, it’s been easier to connect with the group.”
The 2013 Timbers U-23s squad also featured three other players on the current LMU roster, including goalkeeper Paul Blanchette and defenders Jack McCracken and Craig Nitti. McFarlin, one of the team captains, has his sights set high for this Lions group.
“Our goal is pretty clear cut, we want to win the WCC and be in the NCAA tournament,” said McFarlin. “That’s where we want to be at the end of the year.”
Timbers U-23s Clark Phillips named WCC Player of the Week
Timbers U-23s forward Clark Phillips, a forward at Gonzaga, was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week on Oct. 14 following a two-goal performance in a recent 3-3 draw at home with the University of San Diego.
Phillips’ multiple-goal performance was the first by a Gonzaga player since 2011, when he scored twice in a double-overtime win over San Diego. He now leads the team with five goals and his 14 career goals moves him into a tie for 10th on Gonzaga’s all-time goal-scoring list, which includes longtime MLS veteran and former U.S. National Team forward Brian Ching.