- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

PORTLAND TIMBERS

LAST YEAR: 14-15-5 (Third overall, first in Western Conference).

WHO’S BACK: MF Jack Jewsbury, MF Darlington Nagbe, MF Will Johnson, MF Diego Valeri, MF Diego Chara, GK Donovan Ricketts, D Rodney Wallace, D Pa Modou Kah, D Michael Harrington, F Maximiliano Urruti.

WHO’S GONE: D David Horst, D Andre Jean-Baptiste, D Ryan Miller, D Mikael Silvestre, MF Sal Zizzo, F Jose Valencia.

WHO’S NEW: F Gaston Fernandez, D Norberto Paparatto, MF Steve Zakuani, D Jorge Villafana.

WHAT’S AHEAD: The Portland Timbers lost just five games last season, a dramatic 22-game turnaround from the previous season, and finished atop the Western Conference for the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance. The Timbers went to the conference finals where they fell to rival Real Salt Lake. Portland expects to build on that success under coach Caleb Porter, who was named the MLS Coach of the Year his first season in the league. The nucleus of that team remains largely intact, including Goalkeeper of the Year Donavan Ricketts, top scorer Diego Valeri and All-Star Will Johnson. Forward Rodney Wallace had surgery in December to repair a torn right ACL and is expected to miss five to seven months. The Timbers will also play in the U.S. Open Cup, and will make their first appearance in the CONCACAF Championship League. If that wasn’t enough attention on the team, Portland will also host the MLS All-Star game on Aug. 6, with the All-Stars facing Bayern Munich.

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