Every year preseason brings about a new beginning for our teams, with it comes eternal hope and anticipation for the upcoming season and the expectation that our team will blow away all opposition and compete for the silverware at the business end. More so if the season before was a bit of a disappointment, as was the case last year for the Portland Timbers.
The buzz of transfer speculation before the primary window opens on February 14th this year only heightens to our excitement of what lies ahead. The buzz is everywhere, on the major sports networks, local media and in this day and age, on social media. Most notably on Twitter. Twitter is the perfect tool for sportswriters, fans, and players alike. Twitter in players hands, I hear you moan, oh god no!
As an avid fan of all things competitive, I quickly realised the value potential of Twitter when I first joined the social network way back in 2007. It has now become the largest source for breaking news and none more so than in the fast-paced world of sport and sports betting. Canny sports bettors lose money if they don’t have a twitter account.
Online betting and sportsbook are highly competitive platforms for operators, affiliates and leading online casinos. All are aware that Twitter is the number one search engine for sports fans. Search results are in real-time and by creating unique content via match previews, transfer speculation, catchy hashtags, shareable images, infographics and real-time statistics they can significantly increase brand exposure and drive traffic to their website.
Porter looking forward to a great season
Yesterday in a press conference, head coach Caleb Porter was quick to consign last year’s disappointing season to the annuals and look ahead for the upcoming season with fresh optimism.
“I am looking forward to a great season. I’m ready to turn the page on last year.” reflected Porter.
Porter and his coaching staff together with general manager Gary Wilkinson have had a busy offseason identifying key areas that needed bolstering.
David Guzman was signed in December to help shore up things at the back. Guzman is a defensive midfielder, the experienced Costa Rican international will bring steel to the Timbers midfield allowing Diego Chara more time to get forward as well as allowing Darlington to focus on being out on the wing.
Gbenga Arokoyo gets his chance to partner Captain Liam Ridgewell at the back after missing the second half of last season through injury. Chance Myers, a veteran MLS defender having played for Sporting Kansas City the last nine years has been brought in to add further depth defensively. Winger, Dairon Asprilla is back in the squad after the end of his loan spell at Colombian club Millonarios F.C. Four young players have been promoted from their T2 team in time to gain experience from the preseason games.
Porter is still on the look-out for a versatile winger to fill their third designated slot, one that can score goals and who can help out frontman Diego Valeri. Porter feels he is not far off finishing bringing the right blend of players to hit the ground running and vanquish last year’s disappointing season. I will be glued to my twitter feed to see what unfolds.
Portland preseason friendlies
Portland players reported for preseason camp this Monday before traveling to Tucson for three friendlies to be played at the Kino Sports Arena against New York Red Bulls this Friday 27th January, NK Istra 1961 (Croatian 1st Division) on 31st January and Seattle Sounders (MLS Cup winners 2016) on the 4th February.
Following that, Portland will face Real Salt Lake (9th Feb), Minnesota United FC (12th Feb), and Vancouver Whitecaps (15th Feb). This will be the sixth annual preseason tournament held at Providence Park.
Portland Timbers also arranged a trip to play LA Galaxy on the 25th February This recent addition means Portland will not have to wait two weeks without a competitive game, which should relieve player boredom and retain match sharpness before the MLS season kicks off proper on the 3rd March.
Timbers kick off MLS season
In the first game of the season Portland host Minnesota United FC on Friday 3rd March at 9.30 pm (ET). Minnesota along with Atlanta United FC are the two expansion sides to join the fray in 2017 meaning the league now has 22 teams in total. Each team will play a record 34 games this season, they will face their 10 conference rivals twice and the 11 clubs in the opposite conference once. The remaining three matches will come against conference foes. For the Timbers, this means they will face Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders 3 times this season as well as the San Jose Earthquakes.
The wait to put last season firmly behind them is upon the Timbers and you feel if they can starting winning on the road again after not winning one away game last year then they might, just might return to the form that won them the 2015 MLS Cup!