BEAVERTON, Ore. – If you placed bets at season’s onset on who would be Timbers 2’s most-used player, Todd Wharton would have gotten you pretty good odds. The fourth-year professional out of the University of Virginia was brought to the Rose City to play a stabilizing role in midfield, but aside from those who remember his 2015 spell with the team’s U-23s, the 25-year-old was relatively anonymous to fans in Portland.
Twenty-one games into the 2019 season, though, Wharton leads the team in playing time by a long shot. After three years with Rio Grande Valley FC, Wharton’s stepped into head coach Cameron Knowles side to log 1,758 minutes – 338 more than anybody else in the squad. Add in the four goals the Richmond, Virginia-native has scored, and he’s been one of the most valuable players for T2.
Timbers2.com caught up with the midfielder after practice on Thursday for our latest Quick 3:
Timbers2.com: You spent three years at RGV before coming here. I know you spent time with the Timbers U-23s before, but what was it like for you deciding to make a leap back into this part of the world?
Wharton: Playing against this team the last three years, you know how good it is. And the summer I spent here in 2015, you can just walk in and tell how professional this environment is and how well run the organization is, and how much they care about soccer in this city. When I got the opportunity to come here, it was a no brainer.
Timbers2.com: Because of lineup changes, you’ve been the most consistent presence in the team. What kind of role were you anticipating when you first came out here?
Wharton: Any player should come into a team thinking they’re going to start and play every game. That’s what I do. I have a lot of confidence in myself and the players around me, and the coaching staff here gives me confidence that I can play my role and play it well, and be a steady presence for the team.
Timbers2.com: Over the last few weeks, the team hasn’t been able to break back into the win column. What do you think is the key for the team going forward to recapture some momentum?
Wharton: It’s just small details, and maybe a little bit of luck. There are a few plays here and there where we gave up goals that we probably shouldn’t. In soccer, there’s probably going to be a few lucky bounces here and there. So I think, maybe, just a little bit of luck. And then it’s honing in on the small details for the full 90 minutes. We’re going to be fine.