THE TIMBERSNEW ROSTER combines hot rookie prospects, MLS veterans, and foreign imports in a potentially potent—but completely untested—squad. Here are some players to watch for, and a look at challenges they’ll face as the team’s demanding nine-month debut season unfolds.

Goal
The 2006 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Troy Perkins hopes to prove he’s still got it after a less-than-stellar year with woeful DC United.

Defense
Arguably the most experienced part of the roster. Jeremy Hall joins Kerrea Gilbert, formerly of London’s famed Arsenal; other MLS vets; and promising college players.

Midfield
Creativity and toughness here will be critical to success. Highly touted Darlington Nagbe can play here, but it’s unclear who the go-to man in the middle will be.

Forward
Kenny Cooper, the Timbers’ most-heralded off-season signing, scored 40 MLS goals earlier in his career, but suffered an injury-riddled stint in Germany. The club’s chasing more strikers. Nagbe and other midfielders pose attacking threats.

This article appeared in the March 2011 issue of Portland Monthly.
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