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Game 1: A Look Ahead to the Portland Timbers

The home opener is finally here!

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

At long (not that long) last, the 2019 season is upon us. The Colorado Rapids have had a huge turnover in the roster and expectations are running high. How do things look as we start this new chapter in Rapids history?

In my opinion, Portland has always been a quietly impressive team. They have had many years of success and gotten repeat appearances in the playoffs since they joined the league back in 2011. The Caleb Porter era brought them an MLS Cup in 2015, but he surprisingly left the club prior to the 2018 season. Incoming head coach Giovanni Savarese helped to build off that success and take the Timbers not only to the playoffs last year, but to the MLS Cup Final. Sure, they were up against Atlanta United and lost, but that’s not to say that they haven’t been a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Over this offseason, we haven’t seen a lot of movement in the Timbers’ roster. They traded Alvas Powell to FC Cincinnati, who will be joining his former teammate Fanendo Adi. Long-time Timbers star Liam Ridgewell and the club had agreed to “mutually part ways”. Aside from that? Not much has come out of the Rose City in the offseason. They had a fairly interesting press conference post-Cup, saying that they wanted to add “three to four starting-caliber players that provide competition for places,” a terrifying thought since their team made it all the way to second place.

But to fill those spots, they have really only signed two new players. First is Claude Dielna from New England, a French central defender. He made 28 appearances over two seasons with the Revs, so he isn’t going to be a major player. The other new player is Jorge Moreira, a right back out on loan from Club Atlético River Plate in Argentina. He may be an improvement, but overall, not much change.

The big challenge currently facing the Timbers is their attempts to sign a new DP striker. Rumor has tied them to several South American forwards, none of whom got a deal finalized in time for the first game. They were first tied to Julian Quiñones, a Columbian player with Tigres UANL in Liga MX. That apparently fell through, so they made an offer for a different Tigres player, Edu Vargas. He’s a 29-year-old from Chile, who is a bit of a journeyman. That offer was supposedly for $10 million (as reported by Jeff Carlisle on Twitter). To date, they haven’t signed anybody, meaning they probably won’t be able to secure a player to fit that position until the summer transfer window.

Yes, Portland’s is probably going to be a really good team, but I’m feeling confident in this game. Historically, the Rapids have won the previous five games that have doubled as home games and season openers. We’ve seen success in the preseason. Why can’t we pull out a W to start this season? It would be a great way to put us into a good mentality to play through 2019. Let’s all head to the stadium and make sure its packed for the game. Just be sure to bring a coat!