PORTLAND, Ore. – While the Timbers face off against FC Dallas on Saturday, a select few are out on loan including three players set to help USL PRO co-affiliate Sacramento Republic FC open its inaugural season.
Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, defender Bryan Gallego and midfielder Aaron Long have been in preseason with Republic FC for weeks and open the season Saturday on the road against LA Galaxy II in Carson, Calif. (7:30pm PT, Live webstream at LAGalaxy.com). For them, it is all about gaining a wealth of experience.
“Coming down here and getting minutes and get minutes consistently is what I’ve really been enjoying,” Gleeson said. “This [loan] gives me the opportunity to play the 90 minutes, get 30, 30-plus games under my belt and gain a lot of experience that will push me to that next level in MLS.”
Gleeson has embraced his opportunity to get game time, but is also enjoying the opportunity of helping launch a new club.
“It’s a new team, so there’s a lot of excitement down here within the city about us starting up,” Gleeson explained. “It’s very exciting times in Sacramento and, obviously, it’s fun to be a part of.”
Gleeson is taking confidence from Republic FC’s preseason preparations. In a recent preseason match against the San Jose Earthquakes, Sacramento held the MLS side scoreless for 80-plus minutes.
“If we can take that kind of attitude into our first game on Saturday, I’m sure we can get a result and continue to get results,” Gleeson said.
Also in USL PRO, Portland defender Taylor Peay and midfielder Schillo Tshuma are currently on loan with Orange County Blues FC and both were recently added to the team’s roster. The Blues have this weekend off ahead of their opening home match April 5 against OKC Energy FC.
On a season-long loan in Argentina, forward Jose Valencia has opened his spell in the Primera Division with Olimpo de Bahía Blanca on a bright note. In nine appearances, he has scored two goals, including a 73rd-minute winner in a 2-1 home victory over Atlético Rafaela on March 21.