by Iñaki Gonzalo ()| Photo by Jorge O. Martínez
Portland Timber, the 2015 MLS Cup Champions, have had a rough start to the season. But why is that? Let’s take a look at some of the challenges that the Timbers will have to face this season.
MLS. First, there’s the parity of the competition. Then, the fact that what matters during the regular season is just to get into playoffs. No other team knows it better than Timbers: They were far from perfect last regular season. they qualified in the last game of the season, and they got through the knockout round in penalties. But they were clearly the best team in the last month of competition and won the trophy. Coincidentally, or not, Crew SC (the other 2015 MLS finalist) occupy the last position in the East Conference while Timbers (MLS 2015 Champions) are second to last in the West Conference after a month of competition. In any other football latitude of the world this could be an issue, but in MLS that’s not the case.
Mentality. Winning the MLS Cup provided confidence to the Timbers as an organization, and to the roster and technical staff individually and collectively, leading the head coach and key players to sign new contract extensions. Trophies and contracts, as long desired achievements, might have been in conflict with team’s 100% concentration on each and single game. At Providence Park, where Timbers have outshot their opponents, intensity hasn’t been an issue. Blending in with the home crowd, many players have shown that extra-confidence in their game, such as Powell, Asprilla, Chará, Adi and Valeri.