Jamaica int’l Mattocks energizes Portland Timbers

Darren Mattocks (pictured) has scored one goal in 16 games for the Portland Timbers during the 2016 MLS season. (Photo: Mexsport)


PORTLAND, Oregon -- A healthy and productive Darren Mattocks can only mean good things for the Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer and the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.

In his first 90-minute performance of the season, the Jamaica international midfielder put those qualities together in a 2-1 win over the visiting Philadelphia Union last weekend.

Mattocks, who recently returned from a hamstring injury that sidelined him since the beginning of July, created both goals -- the first time he recorded multiple assists in 109 all-time Major League Soccer games.

"He was exceptional," praised Portland head coach Caleb Porter.

Mattocks also was tired.

"I think it’s my first 90 minutes in a while, dating back to Vancouver," he said of the 2015 season. "We’ve just got to keep grinding." 

The defending MLS champion acquired Mattocks in a trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps in March. He helped the University of Akron and Porter win an NCAA Division I championship in 2010. 

“I’ve always been a big fan of Darren," Porter remarked. "I just believe in the kid. I think he has a lot of talent. I watched him in Vancouver and he was in and out of that lineup and I just thought if we could get him here I knew what he was capable of. I knew he could play up top or on the wing. He’s got pace. You see how hard he works. Three or four times he was able to press the backline."

The Timbers are still alive in two competitions.

Portland (11-11-8, 41 points) is in fifth place in the MLS Western Conference, with the top six teams qualifying for the postseason. 

In SCCL Group B play, second-place Portland (1-0-1, 4 points) faces must-win games at Dragon (0-1-2, 1) on September 27 and at home against first-place Saprissa (1-0-1, 4) on October 19.

 "We’ve just got to keep grinding," finished Mattocks. "We’re in a really good spot right now and if we continue with this group then things will continue to go up.”