PORTLAND -- It was an absolutely beautiful day for the Timbers to start preseason training at Jeld-Wen Field. It’s been almost exactly two months since the 2013 season ended and what a season it was.
“I told the guys after the last game it was one of the best years of my life. I hope this year is just as good or better,” said Coach Caleb Porter
The Timbers finished first in the West with 57 points. In fact, they lost only five times during the regular season all year before losing to Real Salt lake in the Western Conference final series.
Close to 30 players worked out in the first of five days of training at Jeld-Wen. They have added a few new players including a pair from Argentina. One of them is 30-year-old forward Gaston Fernandez.
“With the guys we’ve added, first and foremost, we felt like they fit what we wanted. We felt like they were good professionals -- good guys. We felt they would fit into the team, which is always important,” Porter said.
Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe likes the newcomers.
“Caleb, what makes him really good,” said Nagbe, “is he finds the right players that come and that meshes with the group real well. He brought in Gaston. I played with him today, so he did a good job and I’m excited to keep playing with him.”
Team captain Will Johnson is excited for the challenge facing this year’s team.
“As a professional,” Johnson said, “consistency is the number one thing that’s the hardest to accomplish. You see guys have good years and bad years and kind of up and down, but the best pros all around the world, consistency year in and year out. They play at the highest level and that’s our challenge this year as a team is to stay as consistent and be as good or better than we were last year.”
The Timbers leave on Thursday to continue training in Tucson, Ariz. They play their first preseason match on Feb 1 against Sporting Kansas City. The weather should be nice in Tucson, but it was fantastic during day one of training at Jeld-Wen field and dry.
“I heard there was going to be a lot of rain when I first came,” said Timbers Defender Pa Madou Kah, who is from Gambia in West Africa, “but, I’m loving it. So, I can’t complain, it’s almost like being back in Africa, just 40 or 50 degrees less, but I’m’ enjoying it.”
Things will be heating up during the regular season. The Timbers MLS season opener is March 8 against Philadelphia at Jeld-Wen Field.