2013 Portland Timbers Season in Review: March

March began to show some of the building blocks for the Timbers' breakthrough 2013 campaign

Diego Valeri, Timbers vs. NY, 3.3.13

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

As 2013 comes to a close, we take a look back at a memorable and record-breaking Portland Timbers MLS season. With month-by-month capsules, we’ll review what happened, key moments, notable plays and more. First up, we start way back in March of 2013.

After a productive preseason, the Portland Timbers went into their third season in MLS full of hope and promise with new head coach Caleb Porter leading the way.

It would turn out to be quite a long season, but starting at home  was the perfect venue as the Timbers’ supporters got to see a different team and a welcome change of play.

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

GOAL: Valeri opens his MLS account vs. NY

March Review
Opening up at home to the New York Red Bulls, the Timbers found themselves 3-1 behind going in at half-time. It took a stirring comeback to record a point but it was fully deserved. In their next outing, another spirited performance by Portland, the Montreal Impact claimed victory and that left Porter tasting defeat in only his second league game. It would be a rare flavor given the team ended with only five losses for all of 2013—the fewest in MLS. But Porter & his team began to show as early as March one of their season hallmarks with gritty fight backs to earn draws on the road against Seattle Sounders and Colorado Rapids to cap off a good first month.

Results
3/3 – Portland Timbers 3-3 New York Red Bulls
3/9 – Portland Timbers 1-2 Montreal Impact
3/16 – Seattle Sounders 1-1 Portland Timbers
3/30 – Colorado Rapids 2-2 Portland Timbers

GOAL: Wallace's late equalizer vs. SEA

Key Moment
It really couldn’t have been anything other than Rodney Wallace’s 90th-minute header away to Seattle. With the clock ticking down and the first Cascadia clash of the season slipping away, the Costa Rica international flashed across the opposition’s penalty area to meet a cross from defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste and thump a header past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. It was a special moment for the travelling Timbers fans, but also for the team as it gave them belief that they could lift themselves when the going gets tough.

GOAL: Johnson converts PK vs. COL

 

 

Star Player
Will Johnson
Every team needs a captain who leads by example and the addition of Johnson from Real Salt Lake proved to be an incredibly shrewd move. From the very start, the fiery Canadian set the bar high in terms of what was expected from every Timbers player and he was consistently the one found to be making that last-ditch tackle, that through pass, and that darting run forward. On top of all that, he scored twice in the tie away to Colorado to cap off a fine comeback.

Where it left the Timbers?
On paper, four games without a win didn’t make for good reading, but the first month was all about putting in place the blocks from which the Timbers could build a successful team. Sitting on three points, they were not being talked about as potential MLS Cup contenders, yet there were signs of resilience (sticking to their principles), character (fighting back in three games) and quality (Diego Valeri’s debut stood out).

They said it:
Caleb Porter on fighting back for a 1-1 draw vs. Seattle, March 16, 2013:
“Not only did we get a point, but they lost two points. It gives us a lot of belief moving forward. This team has a lot of mettle. I’m most proud of our effort defensively. We dug deep.”