As they headed into the final month of the MLS regular season, the Portland Timbers still had plenty to accomplish with a postseason playoff spot not yet secured.
Caleb Porter always maintained that he had faith in his squad and they repaid that by starting up a new unbeaten run in September which was extended throughout the month of October.
SAVE: Ricketts dives to stop Manneh
- INFOGRAPHIC: The Portland Timbers 2013 season
Here’s how the eighth month of the season unfolded:
Securing another unbeaten month was the perfect tonic for the Timbers as the regular season finish line came into view. They got a credible draw away to the Vancouver Whitecaps and they then took the three points from a heated derby at JELD-WEN Field with the Seattle Sounders. And after holding Real Salt Lake to a scoreless draw, Porter’s men destroyed Chivas USA to cap it all off in style.
10/6 – Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 Portland Timbers
10/13 – Portland Timbers 1-0 Seattle Sounders
10/19 – Portland Timbers 0-0 Real Salt Lake
10/26 – Chivas USA 0-5 Portland Timbers
SAVE: Ricketts with quick double save
Donovan Ricketts produced so many top-class saves throughout the season that he deserves to have his own DVD out for the holidays, but his double stop in the 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps was quite special. Firstly, the hulking goalkeeper denied a snap shot from Kekuta Manneh and then got down to block the follow-up from Camilo Sanvezzo and the ball was hooked clear.
Since the moment he was drafted by the Timbers in 2011, it was clear that the club had picked up a unique talent in Nagbe. He showed flashes of his individual quality in his first two seasons, but really matured into a game-winner this year. All aspects of his game improved in 2013 and popped up with a goal and an assist in October.
Where it left the Timbers?
Back on top of the Western Conference, the Timbers finished the final month of the regular season in the best possible way. They may have just missed out on the Supporters’ Shield to New York Red Bulls, but marching into the playoffs as leaders of the West gave them an extra bounce in their step. Clearly, though, they deserved to be in that position considering their form all-year long.
They Said It:
Caleb Porter following the team’s 5-0 win over Chivas USA on Oct. 26
“I think we all realize that it has been a good year. It’s been a fun season, but I think we are all going to continue to remain grounded, humble, and hungry and keep business as usual because that’s the process we have been following all season long.”