After a tumultuous year, the Timbers now face the 2013 season with a different perspective, a new coach, and an altered lineup. The organization and fan base face much uncertainty after firing the first head coach since the team joined the MLS in 2010, and releasing Kris Boyd, a high-profile striker. While he was the team’s leading scorer, Boyd’s 2012 season proved to be a disappointment, and new head coach Caleb Porter questioned whether he fit with the team dynamic and ended his contract in January.
Porter, in fact, had many more plans for the team. After taking his position as head coach in August, he analyzed the team before concluding that the team needed a change in attitude, which would come with more experience. Porter drastically rearranged the roster, bringing in several veteran players while releasing others.
Porter’s strategies have proven somewhat effective in preseason games. He focuses on getting the players more involved in the game, and developing a stronger bond within the team.
However, the team still faces many imperfections. At 56 goals, the Timbers let in the third-highest number of shots in the MLS during the 2012 season. In this upcoming season, the Timbers still have a weak player in the center back, clearly a concern considering the defensive flaws of last season. With Ryan Miller and Michael Harrington filling strong defensive wing positions, the team’s greatest concern revolves exclusively around the central channel.
With David Horst and Hanyer Mosquera suffering from injuries, the players most likely to start are the inexperienced Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Mikael Silvestre.
With changing the way the team thinks and structures itself, many fans remain uncertain about the upcoming 2013 season. Fortunately, the loyal Timbers Army will soon find out.