PORTLAND, Ore. – John Spencer has gone out of his way repeatedly to stress the importance of each and every game.
The Timbers coach wanted to go undefeated in the preseason – and the team did.
He also wants the Timbers Reserve team to win, and that particular point of emphasis comes from personal experience. While he was an assistant with the Houston, Spencer led the Dynamo’s second line players to the Reserve championship.
“John believes strongly in the reserve league,” Portland assistant Amos Magee said. “It’s important to the growth of the club and the development of the young players.”
Spencer hand-picked Magee to lead the Timbers Reserves, who will play their home opening reserve league game against the Seattle Sounders FC Reserves this afternoon at 2 pm at JELD-WEN Field ($10 General Admission available at box office, 750 AM The Game).
“We believe in everybody on the roster,” Magee said. “The reserve league keeps guys on the edge of the first team fit, healthy and sharp. And the other guys get 10 to 13 games a year. It’s incredibly important for development.”
Magee believes the Timbers Reserves are in a unique situation where they could a see a jump in fan support.
“This city is so soccer mad and so supportive of the Timbers I’m sure we’ll play in front of some nice crowds,” said Magee. “That’s nice. You want that pressure to perform.”
The reserve games could feature some familiar faces who have started for the Timbers this season and are awaiting their next chance to contribute. Other young players such as Chris Taylor, Rodrigo Lopez, Spencer Thompson, and Freddie Braun are clawing for their next opportunity to play in the starting lineup.
The Timbers will also field a U-23s PDL team and a few of the players involved with that roster will be able to play with the reserves if their college eligibility has been exhausted.
The coaching staff is looking forward to reserve games that are as competitive as possible.
“We’re looking at it and trying to win every game,” Magee said. “It’s part of the overall health of the club.”
The reserve league format splits the 18 MLS franchises into three groups of six. Portland will play the other five teams along the West Coast – LA Galaxy, Chivas USA, San Jose, Seattle and Vancouver – home and away.