We're almost there. But first, the marquee match of the preseason is set for 5(ish) tonight, when your Portland Timbers host Swedish side AIK to close out an offseason of change in Soccer City. New coach Caleb Porter said he'd put his best foot forward in tonight's finale, with a group similar to what we'll see when Portland officially kicks off its third Major League Soccer campaign on March 3. But before you scarf yourself—let's go to press!
Remember Sunday's starters against San Jose? Expect a similar crew, says Stacy Neve of Stumptown Footy, with the possible addition of former USSF Timber Futty Danso filling in for the banged up Hanyer Mosquera.
As former Jeff High star Danny Mwanga struggles to fit in as a "'tweener" in Porter's sytem, The Trib's Stephen Alexander reports the former No. 1 overall pick is taking a politically correct line on his difficulty earning playing time.
The Timbers leading scorer in 2012—Kris Boyd—is on the verge of returning to former club Kilmarnock in a move The Scottish Sun is calling "sensational." But not all Killie fans are thrilled by reuniting with a 29-year-old striker coming off a "hugely disappointing" stint in Stumptown, says The Scottish Express.
It's been quite an overhaul for the Timbers roster this offseason, as the club's depth chart has morphed around Porter's vision. Timbers Army's Chris Rifer says Porter's midfield makeover could create a "defensive nightmare" for opponents, but the team's own D is still hardly the stuff of dreams.
Portland bolstered its backline this week with the addition of veteran defender (and rum aficionado) Mikael Silvestre, a French World Cupper and Manchester United stalwart who trialed with PTFC in Arizona. They also nabbed another one of 68 (that's a rough estimation) players with Akron ties former Zips coach Porter tapped in the offseason, midfielder and dangerous free kicker Michael Nanchoff.
The Army will honor legendary mascot Timber Jim during a pregame presentation on the main capo stand.
Check back Sunday for a full recap and uncut video of Porter's postgame presser. Until then, a bit more from our Swedish visitors: