With the Portland Timbers out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the focus going into September was fully on making the MLS playoffs for the very first time.
The schedule eased up somewhat with only four games to play – three of which were at home in JELD-WEN Field – but it was all about Caleb Porter’s team getting back in their groove.
GOAL: Urruti scores his first for Portland
- INFOGRAPHIC: The Portland Timbers 2013 season
Here’s how the seventh month of the season unfolded:
Porter and the team were keen to turn on the style at home to Toronto FC in a 4-0 thrashing. From there, they earned a point on the road against Chivas USA before recording 1-0 wins over both Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy. Suddenly, they were back looking every bit the MLS Cup contender as they were earlier in the season.
9/7 – Portland Timbers 4-0 Toronto FC
9/14 – Chivas USA 1-1 Portland Timbers
9/20 – Portland Timbers 1-0 Colorado Rapids
9/29 – Portland Timbers 1-0 LA Galaxy
SAVE: Alhassan heads one off the line
The cheeky goal from Maximiliano Urruti against LA Galaxy could have snatched this award, but Kalif Alhassan got the nod – not for his goal in the 4-0 trouncing of Toronto FC but his goal-line clearance in the same game. Quite often, it can be the smallest thing that lifts one team and deflates another, and that header from the long-serving Timbers player not only boosted his own team but it rocked the visitors during a period when they were looking to come back.
In order for Will Johnson to cover as much ground as he does in games and for Diego Valeri to have free reign to roam up front, there needs to be someone doing the dirty work and that someone is Chara. The Colombian is one of the toughest midfielders in MLS, his passing is exceptional, and he shone through the month of September.
Where it left the Timbers?
After ending the month unbeaten with three wins from four games, the talk was not just about the Timbers making the playoffs, but also of potentially winning the Supporters’ Shield. If they could beat the reigning MLS Cup champions, then anything was possible for this team and their confidence was well and truly restored following this solid month of positive results and encouraging performances.
They Said It
Caleb Porter after the team’s 1-0 win over LA on Sept. 29:
“What I like about this group is that they believed they could beat this team and win this game and that’s why when I talked to them after the game, they’re not doing cartwheels. If you look at our body of work over the course of the season, there is no reason why we shouldn’t win this game.