There has been a small contingent of soccer analysts that have been very vocal about the strength of the Portland Timbers attack coming into this season. Expectations were high going into opening day, and a 5-1 victory over Minnesota United showed that indeed, this team was ready to score goals. After three games now, they are showing no signs of stopping.
As it stands, the Timbers sit in first place and remain one of only five unbeaten teams in the league. They are also the only team to win their first three matches. FC Dallas has two wins and a draw and Orlando City has two wins, but have only played two matches (their March 11 match against the New England Revolution was postponed due to winter weather concerns in southern New England). Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC have each started the season with one win and two draws.
The Timbers added another convincing win on Sunday against Houston. Going into the half, the Timbers were trailing 2-1 after conceding a goal late in stoppage time, but answered with three second half goals to come away with the 4-2 victory. Valeri turned in another impressive performance, scoring two goals, while Adi sealed the game with a lovely, patient goal in the 88th minute.
Valeri and Adi were on from the start, combining on a give and go that set up a Valeri shot within the first 20 seconds of the game. The two would go on to have four shots each. The Timbers attack created a lot of chances in the first half, but only came away with a single goal, while the defense let two slip through. After the half, though, it was all Timbers. Three second half goals lead to a convincing win against the strongest opponent the Timbers have faced so far.
In addition to three victories, the Timbers also see two of their stars sitting in the number two and three spots in the race for the 2017 Golden Boot, awarded to the league’s top scorer each year. Diego Valeri is second in the league in scoring with four goals, and Fanendo Adi is tied for third with four other players who have also notched three goals so far this season. It should be noted that one of those players, Cyle Larin, has done so in only two games so far for Orlando City. Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez has five goals in three games, including in a hat trick in a 6-1 thrashing of Minnesota United in a snowstorm last week. Minnesota also played a major role in the Timbers’ scoring efforts, with Valeri and Adi each scoring two goals in a 5-1 victory on opening day at Providence Park.
Their current form is not only clearly showing that they have two of the most dynamic and prolific scorers thus far in 2017, but is also making the case that the Timbers have the most dangerous attack in MLS.