- Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers
- Gee, they sure look like nice boys, don't they?
Call it the "Backhanded Compliment Award." Or perhaps the "Next Year, Maybe Be A Bit More Physical Down The Stretch Award."
Either way, the Timbers were "honored" by MLS as its Fair Play Award winners on Tuesday, a distinction given to the team with the least fouls and most sportsmanship throughout the season. Portland easily won after the Timbers committed a league-low 347 fouls—27 fewer than the next closest team, the Colorado Rapids. No word on whether MLS has secured its own Lady Byng to present the honor.
For an expansion club that was pushed around a bit down the stretch—particularly in a crucial final home match against Houston—being the league's nicest guys is a reputation the Timbers will surely look to shed next season. In any case, Portland will have fiery coach John Spencer back to help harden PTFC's on-field demeanor ... but more on that later.