Timbers Struggling On Road Amid Providence Park Renovation Delays
The Timbers' run to the MLS Cup last year has "inevitably extended the timeline" for the team's renovations to Providence Park, according to Jamie Goldberg of the Portland OREGONIAN. The club had "initially expected to play just six or seven games on the road" to start the '19 season before reopening Providence Park in May. Instead, the Timbers have "faced a massive challenge with an MLS-record 12 consecutive games on the road to open this season." Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson said the team's deep playoff run pushed them back at "least a couple weeks" in completing the renovations. The Timbers have had a "challenging schedule" and are currently 0-5-1, but "never expected to have a start this poor." The Timbers have "historically been one of the best home teams in MLS." The team could have "opted to schedule several home games at different venues earlier this year to avoid the lengthy road stretch." Last season, DC United's Audi Field "didn't open until July," but the club "played two home games earlier in the season at the nearby Maryland SoccerPlex." However, Paulson said that he "felt it made more sense for the Timbers to simply wait until June 1 to play at home" (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/16).