#44 Portland Men's Soccer 2012 Preview

Portland Pilots

2012 Overall Rank: #44
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast Conference
Portland Men's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Portland Team Page


Portland had an average season in 2011, but was still in the mix for an appearance in the NCAA Tournament down the stretch. With a bulk of the lineup returning, this is a Pilots team that should be ready to take the next step. Whether or not that leads to a postseason berth or not remains to be seen, but once again the Pilots should be right there. Defending the friendly confines of Merlo Field would be helpful after Portland posted just a 3-4-1 record at home. They were 5-3-1 on the road and 3-0-0 at neutral sites.

2011 Record: 11-7-2, 6-5-1
2011 Postseason: None
Coach: Bill Irwin

Portland has a solid, balanced attack and that can make them extremely difficult to defend. Midfielder Steven Evans is the leader of the group after tallying six goals and five assists in just 15 appearances and 11 starts in 2011. However, goals can come from just about anywhere on Coach Bill Irwin’s team. Ricardo Carrillo scored five last season and Derek Boggs, Thomas Iwasaki, Ben Hemphill and Keith Grubisich are all more than capable of putting a ball or two in the back of the net. Add in assist man Colin Anderson and Portland is loaded with weapons. However, a couple of those weapons are gone. Midfielder Michael Nielsen is gone after netting six goals and striker Connor Barbaree started up front in 16 games last season. That means some of last year’s role players may need to play a slightly larger role this year, but Portland certainly does not lack in options.

The Pilots weakness was in the defensive end of the field during the 2011 campaign. Keeper Justin Baarts in now a senior with a full year of experience under his belt. Baarts played in a couple games during 2009 before redshirting in 2010. Baarts had his ups and downs during his first year as a full-time starter, but he should be better this season. The problem is the 6-2 Canadian has a lot of shots flying his direction. The Pilots allowed nearly 13 shots per game in 2011 and that number needs to come down and do it without the services of four year starter 6-2 Ryan Kawulok. The Pilots will need players like Grubisich and Marc Tonkel to emerge as senior leaders on defense and hope that some of the youngsters are ready to step up.

Final Projection:
Portland will score goals and should be right in the mix among the top teams in the West Coast Conference. Whether or not they can take the next step and reach the NCAA Tournament will depend on the maturity of the defense and Baarts. Even with minor improvement on the defensive side, this is a Portland team that could have enough offensive firepower to make some serious noise in the WCC and the tournament.

Projected Postseason: None

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Steven Evans, Junior, M, 6
Assists: Colin Anderson, Senior, M/F, 5; Steven Evans, Junior, M, 5
Shots: Steven Evans, Junior, M, 37
Saves: Justin Baarts, Junior, GK, 72

Madness 2012 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#94 Dustin Munger
#131 Jaime Velasco