Portland clearly wasn’t content to look back fondly on its Western Conference championship of 2013. The Timbers have continued to add pieces, and they enter 2014 on everyone’s list of MLS Cup contenders. They signed Norberto Paparatto to improve their central defense — especially against set pieces — and added Gaston Fernandez and original Sounder Steve Zakuani to help the potent offense.
To the north, Vancouver had a difficult offseason with yet another coaching change — Carl Robinson takes over the top job, stepping up from first assistant — and the loss of MLS Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo and his 22 goals and six assists. The additions of right back Steven Beitashour and this week’s designated player signing, Chilean attacking midfielder Pedro Morales, should help. But the defending Cascadia Cup champion Whitecaps open the season seeming extremely unlikely to repeat.