Portland's Master Plan - Where's Ours!?

This is a copy/pasted email that I sent to a few friends on Tuesday, following our loss to Colorado. Now that we repeated our horrible performance against Vancouver last night, my friend suggested I make the email a FanPost.

Ugh. Original email below the line....


Prepare to feel sick. The Portland Timbers, mark my words, will be a very good team over the coming years—and unless something changes (Sigi out / retires?) in Seattle, we may not have the same level of success as our Southern rivals.

As much as I hate to say it, this is a great article about Portland’s success this year: Click to Read.

A few key excerpts of what Sigi does wrong, that Caleb Porter, who is in his first year as a pro coach, does right…….though I should caveat that I have no idea what Sigi actually does, and this is all informed by my uninformed observations as a fan and the quotes I’ve heard from Sigi along the lines of "I believe in putting the best players out there and letting them figure it out." (I’m paraphrasing) :)

Our best hope in staying ahead of the Timbers is continuing to significantly outspend them…

Key Excerpts

"Caleb came in and tipped us over the edge," Wilkinson said. "We developed a road map. We had a clearer idea of who we wanted to be and how we wanted to play."

With Porter in place, the Timbers began methodically transforming their roster. Porter laid out a lengthy performance plan for the team that included detailed positional profiles for each spot on the field — from the tactical and technical to the physical and psychological characteristics the team wanted players at each position to possess.

"We are more stringent in what we do now in bringing a player into this team," Wilkinson said. "Maybe in the past it wasn’t given as much importance, and I’ll take the blame for that."

Porter’s influence on the transformation is undeniable. But he credits his relationship and open lines of communication with Wilkinson for the Timbers’ ability to bring in the right mix of players who fit into the team’s new well-defined vision and master plan.

The Timbers also decided to cut ties with their disappointing, highly paid designated player, Kris Boyd, and didn’t make an effort to replace him with another superstar. Instead, they carefully followed the positional profiles that they had laid out, going after individuals who could play specific roles in the collective squad.

"We have to be a little more analytical, cerebral, and we have to just look for pieces that fit the overall picture," Porter said. "We can’t just go and find the best players and then throw them in and figure out how we’re going to play."

"Everyone has a very specific job to do," Timbers captain Will Johnson said. "We work on that throughout the week in training and then it carries over to the games … that’s the recipe for success."

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