This season the Portland Timbers missed the playoffs by one point this year. What is next for them? They also just found out that their star player, Diego Valeri, has a torn ACL and will be out at least the next five months for recovery. Now it is time for owner Merritt Paulson and general manager Gavin Wilkinson to find the right players to fill the void.
The Timbers will begin the 2015 MLS season without two of their mid-field players in Valeri and Captain Will Johnson. Johnson broke his leg at the end of September and is expected to miss six months to recover from the injury.
Most people would start to worry when you miss your captain for that much time, but oddly enough the Timbers seemed to have played better without him in the lineup. Valeri is the key for this team. When he is clicking on all cylinders, watch out as the entire team does well.
We all know the Chivas USA is being dissolved and the players, minus Erick Torres, will be put through a dispersal draft.
I believe Dan Kennedy would be a good addition for the Timbers. He is a good solid goalkeeper who has just been playing on a really bad team for as long as I can remember. I know the Portland Timbers have Jake Gleeson listed as the possible future keeper for the Timbers, but if they don’t feel that he isn’t ready to fill that role, then Kennedy would be a perfect immediate fit.
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The Timbers also need to shore up their back-line as well. It got better over the course of the season and at one point Head Coach Caleb Porter was able to use the same four in the back for four or five games in row. I’m sure they will look for a veteran center back to play alongside Liam Ridgewell for next season.
The Portland Timbers have a lot of work ahead of them if they want get back to the team they were in 2013 and take the league by storm. If Wilkinson is unable to bring in the correct players to fill the holes, he may be looking for a new job at the end of next season.
Author’s note: Red, White and Green is Playing for 90′s column aimed at focusing on the Cascadian (Pacific Northwest) teams. In MLS, three teams – Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver – battle for the Cascadia Cup each year. Red, White, and Green will give a critical eye to Cascadia teams. The column is named Red, White, and Green based on the team colors. Red for the Portland Timbers as they are known as “Rose City”, white for the Vancouver Whitecaps as it is their primary color when they play, and lastly green for the Seattle Sounders as they wear “Rave Green” for most matches, home or away.