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Western Conference Preview

By Jonathan Szekeres




PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 23: Michael Harrington #5 of the Portland Timbers holds up a Timber slab after scoring a goal in the game against AIK at Jeld-Wen Field on February 23, 2013 in Portland, Oregon
PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 23: Michael Harrington #5 of the Portland Timbers holds up a Timber slab after scoring a goal in the game against AIK at Jeld-Wen Field on February 23, 2013 in Portland, Oregon

2012 record: 8-16-10 (8th in Western Conference, missed playoffs)

Additions: Michael Nanchoff (Trade w/ Whitecaps), M Diego Valeri (loan from Lanus), M Will Johnson (Trade W/ Real Salt Lake), M Ben Zamanski (Trade W/ Chivas USA)

Losses: F Kris Boyd, M Eric Alexander, D Eric  Brunner

Overview: Did any squad in MLS have a more disappointing season than the Portland Timbers? Gone is Kris Boyd, the much heralded striker that produced a paltry seven goals for the club that relied on him so heavily. The Timbers couldn't score (2rd worst GF in MLS), they couldn't defend (3rd worst GA in MLS) and a new Coach in Caleb Porter means a new philosophy, which always means growing pains. Will the Timbers be as bad as 2012? It's hard to say. Can Darlington Nagbe step up his game and become the player the Timbers need him to be? That would mean a double digit goal total, can the 22 year old get there this season? That backline needs to be much better this year, and that is far from a sure thing.

Player to watch: Nagbe. If he can reach the next level of his game, the Timbers have an entirely new element to their offensive attack. If he treads water, that's bad news for a loyal fanbase that had to experience a whole lot of frustration last year.