The LA Galaxy head back out on the road on Saturday, when they’ll face the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. To gear up for the game, I spoke to Kyle Garcia of SB Nation’s Portland soccer site Stumptown Footy. Many thanks to Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions!
LAG Confidential asks Stumptown Footy:
1. Let’s start with the broad view: How has the season started for the Timbers? Was Concacaf Champions League a good thing or bad thing to get the season kickstarted for Portland?
It’s been an up and down start for the Timbers. Having the chance to play in the CCL was very cool and produced some fun moments (the at-the-death penalty kick from Felipe Mora stands out to me), but it definitely fatigued the Timbers. When you have to play five soccer games over the span of just a couple weeks essentially to get the season started, it’s hard to consistently get solid play out of your guys. There have definitely been bright spots, Eryk Williamson being chief among them. He’s been excellent in the midfield and was crucial to getting Portland three points against San Jose this past weekend. But in the end, it’s been a mixed bag to start the season, and the rash of injuries certainly isn’t helping.
2. It seems like the Timbers are dealing with a lot of injuries. Is there a root cause or just a fluke? And any players you expect could be back for Saturday’s game?
The injuries have gotten bad enough that it’s gotten easier to note who isn’t injured. The Timbers are down three goalkeepers, left with the freshly-loaned Logan Ketterer and 19-year-old homegrown Hunter Sulte. Along with that, Cristhian Paredes is out for a few weeks, Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda are still recovering from ACL tears, Larrys Mabiala is hurt, and Diego Chara is dealing with a hamstring issue. When The Godfather has to deal with injury stuff, you know it’s been a gruesome start to the year. As for the root cause, my best guess would just be the wear and tear of having to play so many games to start the year. Juggling CCL matches with MLS play getting started put the Timbers in a bit of a bind. They had to figure out when to rotate and who to play for how long and how long is too long…it’s just a lot. There hasn’t been any media availability yet this week, but once Giovanni Savarese and company talk to the press, I’m sure we’ll have more information about how the injured players are faring.
3. Speaking of injuries, Portland brought in Logan Ketterer last week to be the goalkeeper on loan. How did he do in his debut with the club?
He did really well! A shutout with a penalty-kick save in your MLS debut is nothing to scoff at. I thought he looked solid between the sticks, especially for a guy who had only been with the team for a few days. Anytime you can stop Chris Wondolowski from scoring on you, you’re not doing too bad. At least that’s what MLSsoccer.com thought, considering they put him as the starting keeper for their Week 5 Team of the Week. Ketterer is off to an auspicious start in Portland.
You can find my answers to Kyle’s questions at Stumptown Footy.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.