Pitched off: Strong egnites Timbers opener
March 12, 2012, 11:18 am
For a team that missed the playoffs last year, the Timbers say there is no reason they should be excluded from the championship conversation. The voice of the Timbers, John Strong, weighs in on the expectations for the Timbers.
The Timbers added some good players, particularly forward Kris Boyd and midfielder Franck Songo'o, plus they got rid of Kenny Cooper to New York as part of a financial move. But, how does the roster shake-up affect the team? Now, who’s the standout guy and which player will be the rock of the team?
Strong weighs in on the trade of Kenny Cooper, while adding his pillars of strength for the Timbers this season.The Timbers have high hopes for Songo'o, the midfielder from Cameroon. Songo' o emerged as the team's best player - he posted a team-leading four assists - during the preseason. BOYD WILL BE OUT FOR TONIGHT AFTER HURTING HIS RIGHT KNEE, but he is one reason for the Timbers' increased optimism. The Timbers are shelling out $1.2 million for the Scottish striker in 2012 and they hope he can regain the form that made him the most prolific goal scorer in Scottish Premier League history.
The Timbers opened the 2011 season with five consecutive home wins, but were winless in their first seven road games. The Timbers won just two of 17 road games in 2011 and a few more wins away from home would help the Timbers move closer to a playoff berth in 2012. How can they change those road woes this season? Strong discusses the changes to road trips. There is also a change in how teams make the playoffs, the point system. The Timbers endured a seven-game winless streak in the middle of the season and then strung together five straight games without as loss as they made an ultimately unsuccessful run at the playoffs. So, how can they ford the river this year if the same thing happens?
The Timbers will begin their second MLS regular season with a game against former Jefferson High and Oregon State star Danny Mwanga and the Philadelphia Union tonight at Jeld-Wen Field. Strong talks about that match-up, the strengths of the team, its youth; plus, what it’s like having the return of a local guy like Mwanga.
What are the expectations for the season? How do the Timbers match-up against the Union?
Check out Chad’s conversation with John Strong, previewing tonight’s season opener.