The I-5 FC: Things are heating up for the Portland Timbers
In the debut of our weekly soccer coverage, The I-5 Corridor went to Beaverton to find out how the beginning stages of a Timbers turnaround are coming along.
The I-5 FC is a new weekly feature on The I-5 Corridor that highlights the people and stories of the Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns and soccer throughout the state of Oregon.1
BEAVERTON — Initially it feels like Phil Neville is a long ways away from his resume.
Nothing against the Portland Timbers, who practiced Tuesday out at their perfectly adequate training facility in Beaverton — I’m just a soccer newbie who sees 262 appearances with Manchester United and six Premier League titles on the first-year manager’s resume and assumes the facilities across the pond might be a bit gaudier than the one Portland’s got behind a storage facility in the suburbs.
At the very least, Oregon is quite the difference from Neville’s last job in Miami. He was hired as the fourth manager in the team’s MLS era back in November, moved to Portland in January and was promptly welcomed by that nice ice storm we had a few weeks back.
“Because I’ve come from Miami people keep apologizing for the weather,” Neville said. “But actually, I’m from Manchester. In Manchester this is like a summer day. I’d be having my vest on here sunbathing.”
It was overcast and 51 degrees. The feeling out in soccer country is that things are only about to start heating up — and not just because the Timbers left practice on Tuesday and flew south to Coachella for their final weeks of preparation before Feb. 24’s regular season opener against Colorado at Providence Park.
See, there’s a bit of a sense of urgency around the organization after missing the playoffs in consecutive years.