Timbers' urgent need
It has been 5 1/2 weeks since the Timbers won at Providence Park — or anywhere, for that matter.
Portland has played only two home games (both draws) since a June 10 win over FC Dallas.
But that doesn't lessen the urgency when the Timbers return from a two-week hiatus with a 7:30 p.m. Wednesday home match against Real Salt Lake.
Larrys Mabiala seems likely to debut at central defender for the Timbers. The club hopes Mabiala provides a lift at a position that has been unsettled most of the season.
In midfield, on the other hand, coach Caleb Porter must do some shuffling because Darlington Nagbe is with the U.S. for Wednesday's Gold Cup quarterfinal. David Guzman (Costa Rica), Alvas Powell (Jamaica) and Darren Mattocks (Jamaica) also are in the Gold Cup quarterfinals. And, the injury list includes Liam Ridgewell, Diego Chara, Amobi Okugo and Jack Barmby.
Not that there will be any sympathy from the visitors. RSL has a MLS-worst 12 losses and has conceded 40 goals in 20 matches.
Thomas gets a title
Darron Thomas, former Arena Football League quarterback for the defunct Portland Thunder/Steel, is a champion in the Indoor Football League.
Thomas, 27, spent most of the year as Arizona's backup QB to Cody Sokol from Louisiana Tech. The Rattlers, who bailed from the incredibly shrinking AFL (still playing, but with only five teams), captured the IFL crown on July 8, winning 50-41 at Sioux Falls to end the Storm's six-year run.
A defensive back with the 2015 Thunder, Allen Chapman, also played for Arizona this season.
Micah Williams, the Benson High track star who finished third at state in the 100 meters this year as a freshman, is coming off a big weekend at the Junior Olympics regional in Spokane, Washington.
Williams is preparing for the July 28-30 national championships in Lawrence, Kansas, after breaking the 37-year-old Benson record in the 200 and winning both sprint finals for ages 15-16. Williams ran 21.42 in the 200 to set a state and regional record, as well. His 100 time was 10.88.
He's also raising money to help him get to the nationals (gofundme.com/micahs-track-journey).
Robby Andrews, the U.S. 1,500-meter champion who dropped out of the event at the TrackTown Summer Series meet at Mt. Hood Community College on July 2, saved his best time for last. He ran 3 minutes, 35.25 in the TrackTown finals at New York on July 6, finishing second and more importantly meeting the 3:36.00 standard, which secured his spot in next month's world championships at London.
Andrews had the benefit of pacemakers in New York. They included former Cleveland High and University of Oregon distance runner Daniel Winn, who stepped off the track while leading the field to the bell lap.
The New York meet drew 3,800 fans. And, for the record, the New York Empire won the team title with 200 1/2 points. The Portland Pulse were second with 196 1/2, followed by the Philadelphia Force at 189 and San Francisco Surge at 180.
This is a challenging week for the Portland Pickles. Portland has five games to go in a homestand against two of the top teams in the Great West League, the Lincoln Potters and Chico Heat. Start times are 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at Walker Stadium.
The Hillsboro Hops are battling Eugene and Boise for the first-half title in the Class A Northwest League South Division. Hillsboro has a big home series this week against the Spokane Indians. It starts with a 7 p.m. Thursday game at Ron Tonkin Field. The first half ends on Sunday, when Spokane and Hillsboro meet at 4 p.m. The series finale, 7 p.m. Monday, is the start of the second half.