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The Best of Both Worlds - 2014 FBM Beer-view: Portland Timbers FC

With Major League Soccer and the rest of American soccer kicking off in just over a week we've curated an impressive list of players, personalities, broadcasters, front office folk, and fans to have them tell us (and you) about their upcoming 2014 season.

And, of course, pair their hopes and dreams for this season with a tasty local brew.

That's not just a preview... it's a "beer-view".

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By Michael Orr / Stump Town Footy

Team: Portland Timbers

Coach: Caleb Porter

Is he the right man for the job?

Absolutely. Porter did a remarkable job turning the terrible Timbers of 2012 into the Western Conference’s top team in 2013. Having spent last season implementing his system in Portland, Porter now gets to refine his team with an eye toward an elusive trophy in 2014.

Player(s) to watch?

Gaston Fernandez – The 30-year-old Argentine forward was one of two big South American moves for Portland in the offseason. If his preseason exploits have any bearing on his performance in the season ahead, La Gata should fit right into Porter’s offensive plans and might even enhance the already potent attack.

Maximiliano Urruti – Urruti moved to Portland in a trade from Toronto FC late last season. Though he only played in five games, starting four under Porter, Urruti is expected to jump into a starting role as the team’s striker. Only 23 (his birthday is February 22), the Argentine is a pacey, relentless attacker who will benefit the chance to combine with the likes of Fernandez, Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe for a full season.

Photo Credit: Brewtographer

Predictions for 2014?

The Timbers will not lose as few as they did last season (5!) but could end up with a better point total. That will in part be down to whether or not Portland can turn the league’s highest number of draws (15) into several more wins. The line-up enhancements, including Fernandez and Norberto Paparatto, to another year in Porter’s system should produce an even more complete product on the field.

With Champions League, Open Cup and regular season games giving the Timbers around forty games in 2014, Porter will need depth even more than he did in his first MLS season. Adding experienced professionals like Jorge Villafana and Steve Zakuani should give the Timbers plenty of firepower and resilience all season long.

Local Beer Pairing:

Last season we went with Amnesia Brewing’s Copacetic IPA, representing hopes for forgetting 2012 and a new order in 2013. This year we’re going with Base Camp Brewing’s In-Tents India Pale Lager. Base Camp is a fairly new Portland brewery and its In-Tents IPL has a nice play on words and a nice, fresh take on a lager.

As the Timbers can no longer sneak up on anyone and with the added challenge of a first ever trip to the CONCACAF Champions League, Portlanders can expect an intense season across multiple competitions.

Meanwhile, Caleb Porter is by far the most intense coach in the league.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

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