Timbers star Sebastián Blanco has opened up about his struggles with injuries in the 2022 MLS campaign, and looked forward to more successful 2023 for the team.
Blanco has cemented himself as one of the Timbers' key attackers in recent years, racking up 14 goals and 13 assists in the last two seasons. However, those stretches have been marred by persistent injury for the Argentine. In 2021 Blanco underwent ACL surgery, but never seemed to fully recover.
“Last year, I suffered a lot with my knee,” Blanco told the Oregonian. “Sometimes, during the season, I couldn’t go down or up the stairs alone. I needed support and help. That was terrible for me. The people don’t see or don’t know about the situation or how hard I had to train to be part of the team.
"I almost could not play with my daughters after the games, and this is because I want to be part of this team. The numbers show how hard I worked and how much I want to be part of the success of this team.”
Blanco says his goal for the upcoming MLS campaign is to regain fitness and to have a much happier season. But after a dissapointing 2022 both on and off the pitch, Blanco did not shy away from pointing out what went wrong for the Timbers.
“We are almost the same team as last year, but the team is hungry for revenge for the last year,. This is my seventh year here, and only one time I was outside the playoffs. It’s important to try to get back to the same team we had the first years.
"We didn’t have the same intensity. We have the talent, and now we have time to prepare the team for everything, not only playoffs. We have to be competitive from the beginning of the season to fight for the (Leagues Cup) tournament, to fight for MLS Cup, everything.”
Blanco and his teammates will get their season underway on February 25th, as they welcome Sporting KC to Providence Park.