Opponent watch - New faces, same goals
You might as well call the Portland Timbers an expansion team as the club made a number of wholesale changes for 2013, starting with the head coach. But the team wants to win now.
Gone is former Scottish international John Spencer behind the bench and in comes Caleb Porter, former head coach of the United States U-23 team and previously head coach of the men's soccer team at the University of Akron.
“There are so many new guys there, that it’s like a total different team,” said Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who spent two seasons in the Rose City before joining the Impact via trade last summer. “I’m going back to where I played, but I don’t know many of the guys left.”
Porter had an idea of what direction he wanted to take his team, and immediately set things in motion. Gone were the likes of Scottish internationals Steve Smith (option declined) and Designated Player Kris Boyd (contract terminated), along with trades sending defenders Kosuke Kimura and Eric Brunner and forward Robbie Findley out of town in trades, while releasing or declining options on Lovel Palmer and defender Steve Purdy.
In order to fill those roster spots, defender Michael Harrington (Sporting KC), midfielder Will Johnson (Real Salt Lake), forward Ryan Johnson, goalkeeper Milos Kocic (Toronto) and midfielder Ben Zemanski (Chivas USA) all joined the team.
Then the club brought in Argentinean midfielder Diego Valeri on loan from Lanús as a DP, along with the signatures of defenders Ryan Miller from Halmstads (Sweden) and former Manchester United stalwart Mikael Silvestre.