2011 Reserve League to kick off for the Timbers on Sunday against LA
The Portland Timbers reserve team will kick off their MLS schedule against the LA Galaxy Reserves this Sunday in Los Angeles.
After a two-year hiatus, the MLS Reserve League is back in action and the Timbers plan on taking full advantage of the opportunity to develop the abundance of young talent on the roster--the youngest in MLS.
The Reserve League provides the perfect opportunity for the younger squad members to get the necessary experience under their belt to become contributors on the first team. The Timbers Reserves roster on Sunday could feature some intriguing names, such as defender and 2011 second-round SuperDraft pick Chris Taylor (above), 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft pick Spencer Thompson at forward, and former University of Louisville and Portland Timbers U-23s standout Freddie Braun who is a midfielder by trade but been experimented with on defense.
“Young players get better in training, but they also have to get better in competitive games that matter,” Magee said. “You can have players like Chris Taylor or Freddie Braun who can be good players in this league playing well in training, but they have to get competitive games under their belt.”
The Reserve League also provides a chance for other players who are coming back from injury or working to crack the starting XI a chance to get in a full ninety minutes. Sal Zizzo and Darlington Nagbe have both made their presence felt on the field in training as well as regular season MLS matches.
“We have a group that’s playing pretty well,” Timbers Reserves head coach Amos Magee said. “Sal Zizzo and Darlington Nagbe are two players who have unlimited potential and we feel could be all-stars in [MLS].”
It may not be first-team action, but the Timbers have made it apparent that the expectations for a reserve league match are no different than the expectations for the MLS Game of the Week.
“We want to win every time we set foot on the field,” Magee said. “My expectations filter down from (Timbers head coach) John (Spencer)’s expectations, which filter down from (general manager) Gavin (Wilkinson)’s and (president) Merritt (Paulson)’s expectations. We want to represent well for our colors and our badge in every game we play in, no matter what level.”
Success in the reserve league has proven meaningful in the past. Timbers head coach John Spencer won back-to-back MLS Cups as an assistant coach for the Houston Dynamo, as well as the MLS Reserve League championship as head coach of the Dynamo Reserves.
Sunday’s match against the Galaxy Reserves won’t be the most talked about match of the weekend, but everyone in the Timbers organization knows how important it is for the Timbers in their inaugural season.
“John won a reserve championship in Houston,” Magee said, “and I hope to do the same here.”