2013 Portland Timbers Season in Review: April

April saw big wins over Houston and Kansas City as the Timbers high-pressure style crystallized

Will Johnson #4, Timbers vs. Quakes, 4.14.13

Photo Credit: 
(USA Today Sports)

After a positive first month to the season, the Portland Timbers shifted up a gear in April as their attacking style of play came to the fore and the results followed.

Since the loss at home to Montreal Impact, they were unbeaten in two games and this excellent month allowed them to stretch that run to six as they won three of their four clashes.

Here’s how the second month of the season unfolded:

GOAL: W. Johnson FK stunner vs. SJ

April Review
Two second-half goals from Ryan Johnson helped the Timbers overcome Houston Dynamo and collect their first win. From there, they edged past San Jose Earthquakes thanks to Will Johnson’s free kick, but shared the points with the same team in their next outing. But the final game of the month was a thriller as they escaped from Sporting Park with a 3-2 win and a statement that they would be considered a real threat this year.

Results
4/6 – Portland Timbers 2-0 Houston Dynamo
4/14 – Portland Timbers 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes
4/21 – San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Portland Timbers
4/27 – Sporting Kansas City 2-3 Portland Timbers

GOAL: Nagbe's pass & move leads to R. Johnson tally

Key Moment
Celebrating that first win of the season in the 2-0 triumph at home to Houston Dynamo was quite special. From when Timber Joey cranked up the chainsaw for Ryan Johnson’s first goal through to the diving save from Donovan Ricketts to deny Brad Davis, this game was an early celebration of just how much skill and ability Caleb Porter had on his hands.

Star Player
Ryan Johnson
Three goals in four games was an excellent return from the Oregon State graduate as he began to settle into life with the Timbers. Johnson did an incredible amount of work off the ball in hold-up play and linking with teammates. But it is his finishing ability that he is known for and he showed that with goals against Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City.

Where it left the Timbers?
Unbeaten on the road had a nice ring to it as the Timbers completed the month without losing a single game. Suddenly, they were being talked about in terms of being able to make the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference. While Porter knew that there was still work to be done, the mentality within the team of expecting to win games was exactly what he was looking for and it made the Timbers a meaner force to deal with.

They Said It:
Caleb Porter on the April 27 3-2 win at Kansas City:
“I think it tells us that we can go into any game against any team, home or away, and play our identity and not hope to win but expect to win. It doesn’t mean we will win every game. Soccer is a funny sport, if we perform like we did, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”