The Portland Timbers ended their 2013 season by falling just short of making it to the MLS Cup finals at Sporting Park. Since the season has come to a close, the Timbers have already been hard at work trying to put together the best possible team for next season.
With the signing of Steve Zakuani and Jorge Villafana, the number of weapons for the Timbers just skyrocketed. Portland got an absolute steal by picking these two versatile outside midfielders during the Re-Entry Draft phase of the league’s offseason.
Head Coach Caleb Porter has already done a terrific job of building up a Portland team that finished eighth in the Western Conference standings in 2012. During the 2013 season, the Timbers did a complete 180 as they jumped all the way up the first place in their conference standings. Porter was awarded for his efforts with the 2013 Coach of the Year award, an award that no one would was more deserving of.
Portland is doing a lot better than what most people had expected after being the no. 1 seed during the playoffs and not making the finals. In very impressive fashion, Portland looked to see what they needed to do in order to get better, so they went out and signed two young and dynamic players.
Zakuani is a name familiar to most MLS fans, especially if you are from the west coast or from Akron, Ohio. During his playing days for the University of Akron, Zakuani was teammates with current Timbers player Darlington Nagbe. Once the signing of Zakuani was finalized, Nagbe came out with a statement that he and Steve had always dreamed of playing professionally together. That dream is now a reality.
Portland will be the team to beat in the Western Conference next season, especially with these two new weapons added to their already dangerous team. Watch for the Timbers to make an even bigger impact not only in their conference, but in their quest to bring home a MLS Cup to Portland fans.