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2013 MLS Beer-view: Portland Timbers

By Michael Orr / Host, “Soccer Made in Portland”

New coach, new players, new outlook: Everything is new this year in Portland after the Timbers hired Caleb Porter to replace John Spencer. Significant roster turnover has brought familiar faces from around MLS as well as two older gentlemen from Europe’s top divisions to implement Porter’s pressing, possession style.

While the additions of Ryan Johnson, Will Johnson and Michael Harrington are expected to help carry the Timbers from two poor seasons to a playoff contender, new Designated Player Diego Valeri is the key. The Argentine playmaker is the hub around which Porter’s gambit will hinge. The responsibility of orchestrating the attack falls on Valeri, which serves a dual role of defining that role for the first time in Portland, while freeing Darlington Nagbe to meander through opposing defenses from the left side.

As Porter’s style requires up field pressing, the defense behind is often left exposed. This will be the Timbers’ greatest weakness in 2013, despite the additions of Harrington, Mikael Silvestre and Ryan Miller. The defense is improved from last year, but the set up puts more of the onus on the backline to perform at a high level. Only if Porter can use his diamond 4-4-2 with either Ben Zemanski or the injured Jack Jewsbury will Portland have adequate cover in front of the center backs. The Timbers might outscore more opponents than not, but it seems unlikely that clean sheets will be a regular occurrence.

All of that said, the paradigm has been redefined under Porter. Expect entertaining soccer, high scoring games and a wholly new attitude from players and fans.

Beer Selection: Amnesia “Copacetic” IPA (Portland, OR)

This small, North Portland microbrewery rarely sells pints off site and never bottles. The Copacetic IPA is an admittedly light and fruity IPA, especially by northwest standards. The hoppy finish is bitter but refreshing, especially when enjoyed in the sun on the brewery’s porch. Perhaps most importantly for Timbers fans though, the beer’s name presents two ideals: Amnesia regarding the past two seasons with expectations of a Copacetic 2013.

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

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