The Coaches Weigh In

Improving the overall attitude, and strengthening each position with more depth in the squad were two priorities for Aron Winter heading into the summer transfer window.  The coach feels he is getting closer to addressing both.

“Character, let me say, is more than 50% importance for a player,” Winter said on Friday evening in Portland. “You need guys that want to be part of the team, help each other (and) work for each other.”

In terms of squad improvements, Winter said his players will still take time but likes what he has seen thus far.

“(We are going) the right way. You can see we are getting better, creating chances to score.”

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[inline_node:5304]Winter was pleased with Jurgen Klinsmann’s hiring as United States national team coach. The German icon had close ties to Toronto through his consultancy group, Soccer Solutions. The group helped to hire the management team headed by Winter that was appointed in January to rebuild TFC in a different direction from the club’s first four seasons.
“First of all, I like that (Klinsmann) became coach of the U.S.A., he is a good coach. I wish him good luck. He is a good friend of mine, of course, we are still going to keep in contact.”

Soccer Solutions' formal ccontract with Toronto is "effectively over," according to the club, but "they continue to be available to (TFC) should the need arise."

Toronto was relentless in its last game with 73% possession and 19 attempts on goal in the Champions League preliminary round opening leg against Real Esteli. In Portland, Winter knows the team will need to make better use of its chances because the opponent on Saturday night is clearly eager to make a charge.

“I think it’s possibly bigger than the opening game of the season,” Timbers’ head coach John Spencer said on “We need to get three points … it’s time to start putting in real 90-minute performances.”

Portland lost its last outing 1-0 in Columbus, sandwiched between a pair of friendly matches at Jeld-Wen Field against England’s West Brom and Independiente of Argentina.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game, but the reality is that we did lose.”

An own-goal was Portland’s undoing in Columbus after a dominating first half. Spencer will ask his team to recapture that performance without the costly mistakes against Toronto on Saturday.

Toronto beat Portland 2-0 in the first meeting of the teams at BMO Field on March 26.