Preparing for a first-ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal occupied the Portland Timbers as they went into a packed August with six games to play.
With their unbeaten run ended, Caleb Porter’s side knew that they had to find a way to rediscover their momentum even though a punishing schedule was throwing up a number of difficult games.
- INFOGRAPHIC: The Portland Timbers 2013 season
Here’s how the sixth month of the season unfolded:
GOAL: Valeri FK finds Wallace
After being held to a draw at home by Vancouver Whitecaps, the Timbers then fell in the U.S. Open Cup via a hard-fought match at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake. But they bounced back to overcome FC Dallas and draw with Real Salt Lake in an epic encounter at JELD-WEN Field before losing narrowly on the road to Seattle Sounders FC. And, finally, Real Salt Lake – for the third time in a month – frustrated the Timbers by beating them in Utah.
8/3 – Portland Timbers 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
8/7 – Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers (U.S. Open Cup)
8/17 – Portland Timbers 2-1 FC Dallas
8/21 – Portland Timbers 3-3 Real Salt Lake
8/25 – Seattle Sounders 1-0 Portland Timbers
8/30 – Real Salt Lake 4-2 Portland Timbers
Prior to the kickoff of a classic Cascadia Cup clash with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Timbers Army revealed a magnificent tifo that read: “Big Hearts, Brass Balls.” It’s a sentiment that debutant Alvas Powell showed in the 1-1 draw with the Timbers Canadian rivals. The Jamaican rookie made the most of his 63 minutes on the pitch as he bashed into bodies, blazed up the right flank, made some big tackles, and even got into the opposition’s penalty area for a headed chance. It was the type of performance that showed great promise.
GOAL: Valeri feeds Nagbe
Plaudits streamed in for the Argentine playmaker following this truly excellent month, where he recorded four assists and one goal. It didn’t take long for Valeri to settle into the style of play that Porter was instilling with the Timbers and he quickly became a leading figure. And his best attribute was delivering when it mattered most, like his two assists in the win over FC Dallas or his star display in the 3-3 tie with Real Salt Lake.
Where it left the Timbers?
Defeat in the U.S. Open semifinal ended their hopes of winning the first piece of silverware on offer in the MLS season. While the Timbers showed fight as they tried to rally late with Valeri pulling a goal back, it wasn’t to be. A spirited win over FC Dallas kept the team in the hunt while they began to see other playoff hopefuls emerge in the Western Conference.
They Said It:
Caleb Porter after the Timbers’ 2-1 win over FC Dallas on Aug. 17:
“We’re in the last stretch here. And we want to hit the last stretch running, sprinting. We don’t want to wait for the last three or four games to now sprint, we’re going to start sprinting now, and I thought we showed how hungry we are to make the playoffs tonight.”