Timbers Reserves travel north to take on Sounders FC Reserves in Cascadia clash
On Tuesday night, the Portland Timbers Reserves travel north to play the Seattle Sounders FC Reserves at 7 p.m. at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. Both squads are playing in their second reserves match of the 2012 season, and both are looking to earn their first win of the young MLS Reserve League season. The match is the first of two Cascadia games this month for the Timbers Reserves team, as it will travel to Vancouver to play the Whitecaps FC Reserves on April 22. SoundersFC.com will stream live audio of the match from Starfire and the Timbers will provide updates throughout on Twitter.
For the Timbers Reserves, the team lost their first match of the season 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes Reserves on March 27 at the Earthquakes Training Center in San Jose, Calif. Despite outshooting the Earthquakes Reserves 19-12, the Timbers couldn’t get past San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham, who made four saves and earned a shutout in the win.
The Seattle Sounders FC Reserves drew 1-1 against the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 26 in Vancouver, B.C. Sounders FC midfielder Alex Caskey scored in the 72nd-minute to give Seattle a 1-0 lead, but a stoppage-time goal by Vancouver’s Carlyle Mitchell proved to be the equalizer. On April 1, the Sounders FC Reserves beat Gonzaga 4-0 in an exhibition match. Four different Seattle players scored for the Sounders FC Reserves.
With the MLS Reserve League a showcase for some of the league’s best emerging talent as well as an environment to gain fitness and minutes to players coming back from injury, here are a few players that could feature in Tuesday’s match:
Ryan Kawulok – Kawulok, the rookie defender who spent two years with the Timbers U-23s, played well against San Jose a few weeks ago, gaining a chance to equalize the match late in the game. His ability on set pieces near the box is crucial for the Timbers Reserves, as his 6-2 frame is a difficult one to contain close to the goal. Kawulok has showed he can score, even for a defender, netting the equalizer in a 1-1 preseason draw against Chivas USA in early March. His defensive abilities will be needed to shut down a dangerous Sounders FC Reserves team - a squad that scored 21 goals in 10 games in 2011.
Brent Richards – The rookie forward and Timbers Homegrown product is no stranger to the Seattle area, having starred collegiately at the University of Washington. Richards (above) played 72 games for the Huskies, scoring 31 goals and tallying 15 assists in his career. He led the team in goals and assists in each of his four seasons at UW. Richards was also a Timbers U-23s teammate of Kawulok and is the Timbers U-23s career-leading scorer with 26 goals.
Servando Carrasco – A second-year midfielder from the University of California - Berkley, Carrasco has played in three of Seattle’s four MLS matches this year, starting for the Sounders FC against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 31. Last year against the Timbers Reserves, Carrasco scored his first Reserves League goal on May 30 in a 2-0 win at JELD-WEN Field. The midfielder started and played the full 90 minutes against the Whitecaps FC Reserves this season on March 26. Carrasco’s added experience will be crucial for the Sounders FC Reserves, as he now has 12 starts across all competitions in his MLS career.
Steve Zakuani – The forward and former number one overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Akron, played in only six matches in 2011 due to a fractured right tibia and fibula suffered against Colorado last April. Zakuani saw his first game-action in almost a year in the Reserves exhibition match on April 1 against Gonzaga, when he started and played the full first half for the Sounders FC Reserves. If Zakuani does indeed play against the Timbers Reserves Tuesday night, his ability to create for himself and for others will play a vital part in the match.
- Last year, the Sounders FC Reserves took both matches against the Timbers Reserves. A 3-2 win at the Starfire Sports Complex on May 15, 2011 was followed by a 2-0 win at JELD-WEN Field almost two weeks later.
- The Sounders FC Reserves won the MLS Reserves League Western Division in 2011 with an 8-1-1 (25 pts) record. The Timbers Reserves finished second in the Western Division last season, just behind Seattle, with a 6-2-2 (20 pts) record.
- In addition to Reserve League Action, the two full roster teams squared off at Starfire Sports Complex in the 2011 preseason, playing in the Cascadia Summit, a three-day, three-match tournament with fellow Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
- The Timbers announced today that MLS pool goalkeeper Brian Rowe has joined the team due to injuries to Jake Gleeson and Joe Bendik. Rowe is a native of Eugene, OR and played collegiately at UCLA.