(AP) The weather has been pretty good, and the Portland Timbers have won five of six games to climb into second place in the Western Conference and remain atop the standings.
Portland’s season has taken a turn for the better after the team announced it was canceling two home games in March to make way for a preseason training camp and the team’s new stadium.
Fans are enjoying the game on their own, too.
Some are watching local teams on TV, and a few are getting to see the Portland Red Cross and the Timbers Army at their home games.
The Timbers are among the league’s biggest draws, drawing about 80,000 fans per game and generating $2.5 million in revenue, according to the league.
But the team is getting a little more attention than usual, and it’s a tough one for the rest of the league to match.
The Portland Timbers, who played in their new home, the Avaya Stadium, last season, are not in the playoffs this season.
This is the first season since the 2015 season that Portland has been in the playoff picture and is now at a record 12-6-2.
There are a lot of good reasons for that, but there are also some negatives.
The team hasn’t won since a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake on May 31, 2016.
That loss came on the heels of the team finishing with a record of 7-10-6.
The club has lost five of the last six games.
In their first six games, the Timbers have lost three and lost two.
The result is that the team has a 6-5-5 record in its last 12 games.
If the team wins games, they can have an 18-7-5 run.
But if they lose, they’re at 4-6 with the same record.
The players are getting a lot more attention.
After losing out on a roster spot with the trade for Kelyn Rowe in March, the team started out with 10 players.
The roster has now grown to 22 and will include 16 forwards and nine midfielders.
That includes a pair of starters from last season’s team.
The addition of the two players, including two rookies, has opened the door for a team that already had some star power on the roster to show up and perform.
And that’s just what the Timbers did, as the Timbers finished with a 6.5-4-3 record, with four wins and four draws in their last six home games, including a 2-1 loss to New England on May 24.
But that’s not all.
The other positives are also starting to show.
The two players who came to the team from MLS Cup winning teams, midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and defender Liam Ridgewell, have made a big impact, as have striker Amobi Okugo and midfielder Diego Valeri.
The former two players have scored six goals each and the latter one has scored three.
“I think that we have a lot to prove,” said defender Matt Polster, who has also started in the past four games.
“We’ve got to be better and be better every day.
We’ve got a lot ahead of us, but we have to continue to get better and show the results we’ve earned.
We have to go out and be great at every game.”
The Timbers have been good at everything, and they’re getting better at it.
The biggest challenge will be getting back to the playoffs.
They’re 8-6 in their past 10 games.