The Portland Timbers’ squad will look a bit different in 2020. So, here are five key players to watch in the upcoming MLS season.
As the MLS continues to grow and clubs have increasingly broken transfer fee records, spending more money on attackers from Latin America, some teams have to do their best to catch up while others are just looking to find a unique mix of players on their roster for the 2020 MLS season and keep pace. This latter group is where the Portland Timbers find themselves.
There was an influx of players brought in across the board this offseason to Portland. An attempt to create depth and increase the squad’s scoring prowess is very apparent. They signed two new offensive Designated Players, opened up another DP slot with some clever contract movement, and now look to have built a team capable of making a deep run in the playoffs.
But for that happen, they need certain players to step up to the mark. So, here are five key players in the Portland Timbers’ squad to watch in the 2020 MLS season.
5. Steve Clark
Steve Clark stepped in and had an amazing season in his 24 matches played in 2019. In the starting role, he finished with 84 saves and six clean sheets after taking over the job in Jeff Attinella’s absence following a season-ending shoulder injury just ten games into the season.
Clark’s career season with the Timbers came at exactly the right moment, and one of the bigger storylines going into the 2020 season is figuring out who gets the starting job. Clark has started every preseason match this season for the Timbers and will likely retain the starting job going into the regular season on Sunday. The rest of the playing time was split with Slovenian keeper Aljaz Ivacic, who featured for the Timbers 2 squad last year.
Attinella, meanwhile, didn’t see any preseason action and instead looks to be taking his time to return back to starting form after his shoulder injury. He isn’t completely out of the picture by any means either, as he had his own career season back in 2018 and will make the race for the starting job that much more interesting, but for now, Clark is the number one.