2014 Preseason Schedule Set for Timbers

Portland to host Rose City Invitational, play 4 times in Tucson
by Ray Marcham   |   Friday, December 13, 2013

Green Logs – column on Portland Timbers (PTFC) & the Portland, Oregon area soccer scene.

While the Major League Soccer season has just ended, it’s already time to think about the preseason.

That’s because it starts in just more than 7 weeks for the Portland Timbers.

The club announced their preseason schedule on Wednesday, and it continues 2 preseason traditions for the Timbers. There’s the 2 weeks in Tucson for the Desert Friendly series, which sees Portland play 4 matches in Arizona. Then, it’s back to Portland for their own preseason tourney, which has a new name and 2 new sides taking part.

The Timbers will be in Tucson from Jan. 30 to Feb. 13, marking the second straight year the club has gone to southern Arizona for preseason training. It will also be the third time in Portland’s 4 years in MLS that part of their preseason schedule will take place in Arizona, as they spent part of the 2011 preseason in Casa Grande.

Up first for Portland in the preseason will be the MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City. They will play on Feb. 1 in the Kino Sports Complex’s North Stadium. The Timbers will also play the Houston Dynamo, Seattle Sounders and the Indy Eleven, an Indianapolis-based expansion team for the NASL, while in Tucson.

For the 2013 tourney, live streams of the Tucson matches were on the MLS website, but it’s yet unknown if that will happen in 2014.

The preseason tournament at JELD-WEN Field is also returning, and it has a bit of a new look. First, there’s an actual name, as it is now the Rose City Invitational. There’s one returning side, as the San Jose Earthquakes will be back for the event. Making their first appearance will be the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Cascadia Cup champions and a club that will be training under a new coach by then (still no replacement for the fired Martin Rennie as of when this was written).

Also coming to Portland will be Jamaica’s Portmore United, original club of Timbers’ defender Alvas Powell. Champions of the National Premier League 3 times in the past decade (and 5 times overall) and the 2005 Caribbean club champions, Portmore United will be taking a break from their regular season schedule to be a part of the tournament. However, the club is struggling so far in the 2013-14 season, as they are last in their league with just 7 points in 11 matches.

The format for the Rose City Invitational will consist of 3 doubleheaders, starting Feb. 23 with Vancouver and Portmore United playing the early match and the Timbers playing the Earthquakes in the nightcap. Matches will also take place on Feb. 26 and March 1, finishing a week before Portland’s regular season opener against Philadelphia at JWF on March 8.

Does the preseason mean anything, as far as foreseeing what may happen to start the season? The results from the 2013 preseason were mixed, as Timbers manager Caleb Porter was installing his system and a revamped Timbers side was still figuring each other out. In Tucson, Portland won 3 of 4 matches, beating Colorado, Seattle and FC Tucson while losing to SKC. In the Timbers’ own tourney, draws with San Jose and Sweden’s AIK bookended a loss to FC Dallas.

This means the only parts of the Timbers 2014 schedule that are yet unknown are the US Open Cup dates and any possible CONCACAF Champions League matches (the Timbers will know by next week if CONCACAF approves the US qualification changes that could have them in the tourney). Compared with some past years, when the bulk of the MLS and preseason schedules were still being put together in January, this is a nice change.

It also makes getting those calendars and travel plans together much easier.

NEXT UP: February 1 – Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, North Stadium, Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Az. 8 p.m. EST, TV TBD.


Washington State
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Cascadia native and a fan for as long as he can remember, Ray was brought up on the old NASL. Learned to love MLS. Wanted to play like Clive Charles. Then like Tony Adams. Only dreams, of course.