Spencer, Timbers eager to let games begin
The Portland Timbers will play their first preseason game as an MLS franchise on Friday against the Ventura County Fusion at 10 p.m. ET.
The game concludes the second full week of training for the Timbers, who have been in Ventura, Calif., since Monday.
“I am looking, first and foremost, to go out and win the game,” Timbers coach John Spencer said. “I want to see where we are fitness-wise and see a little bit of quality as well.”
Spencer said he would split the team in two. Half the team will play the first half of the match, the rest will play the second half.
The Timbers held an 11-on-11 intrasquad game, with three 20-minute periods, on Thursday.
Ryan Pore, a veteran of MLS who played with the second-division Timbers last year, said Friday’s game doesn’t feel particularly special.
“For me, personally, I’m putting on the jersey— it’s a different logo, but it’s another game for the Portland Timbers Soccer Club,” Pore said. “It’s a new chapter within the history of the club.”
Even though the first game comes just 12 days after the team’s first meeting – and players continue to show up and join the training camp – Pore said he and his teammates are ready to play.
“Any time we can get quality games, it’s good,” he said. “I think all the guys would say playing a game is better than doing fitness all day.”
The team has been conducting two-a-day workouts, with the afternoon session generally a little bit lighter.
Spencer and the coaching staff welcomed Colombian forward Jorge Perlaza to camp on Thursday.
The coach said every player in camp would likely see action against the Fusion, and every player is being evaluated.
“Whether you’re signed or unsigned, every one of the players needs to impress,” Spencer said. “You might be playing for a spot in the starting lineup at Colorado (in the season opener). Everyone’s always on trial.”