The Portland Timbers' annual preseason tournament, presented by Old Trapper Beef Jerky, returns this Sunday with Portland hosting Minnesota United FC, Real Salt Lake and Norway's Viking FK in the Rose City for a week-long, round-robin format of friendlies for teams to tune up ahead of their respective MLS and Eliteserien regular seasons.
The preseason tournament will consist of three doubleheaders. Portland will face Minnesota on Feb. 13 (12pm PT, TICKETS), while RSL and Viking will face each other later that day at 2:30pm PT. On Wednesday, Feb. 16, Real Salt Lake and Minnesota will square off at 5pm PT and the Timbers will play host to Viking at 7:30pm PT (TICKETS). On the final day of the tournament, Saturday, Feb. 19, Viking and Minnesota will face each other at 2:30pm PT, with Portland and RSL set to close out the tournament at 5pm PT (TICKETS).
All of Portland’s matches will be streamed at www.timbers.com. Tickets for the Timbers preseason tournament are included as part of 2022 Timbers Annual Memberships. Individual tickets, which allow entry to both matches each day, start at $15 and are available online. Group tickets and hospitality packages are available. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The tournament has been a staple of the Timbers preseason prep since first starting in 2012. It has always involved three teams coming to visit, often with one international team among the mix. Minnesota United first participated in 2016 when they were still playing in the NASL before returning to Portland in 2017 ahead of their MLS debut and again in 2020. Real Salt Lake took part in the 2017 edition as well.
This is also not the first time a team from Scandinavia has been a part of the tournament with Norway’s Stabæk—then coached by Bob Bradley who now leads Toronto FC—visiting in 2015 and Sweden’s AIK participating in 2012 and 2013.
Put on hiatus in 2018 and 2019 due to the Providence Park east side expansion construction and again in 2021 due to Covid, this is the first edition since Portland hosted Minnesota, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the New England Revolution in 2020.
Below is a quick look into the teams Portland will face.
Minnesota United FC
2021 MLS Record: 13-11-10, Fifth in Western Conference
Head Coach: Adrian Heath
Feb. 13: vs. Portland (12pm PT)
Feb. 16: vs. RSL (5pm PT)
Feb. 19: vs. Viking (2:30pm PT)
Minnesota United arrives in Portland with the Timbers having most recently knocked the Loons out in Round One of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win at Providence Park back in November.
Gone from Minnesota are midfielders Ozzie Alonso, Ethan Finlay – both to free agency – and Jan Gregus did not have his option picked up before getting selected by San Jose in the Re-Entry Draft. But the Loons are bringing back their former No. 1 overall pick in forward Abu Danladi and, potentially, Paraguayan striker Luis Amarilla.
No. 10 playmaker Emanuel Reynoso is in preseason camp, having put up a 2021 season that included five goals and 10 assists.
Real Salt Lake
2021 MLS Record: 14-14-6, Seventh in Western Conference
Head Coach: Pablo Mastroeni
Feb. 13: vs. Viking (2:30pm PT)
Feb. 16: vs. Minnesota (5pm PT)
Feb. 19: vs. Portland (5pm PT)
Real Salt Lake raced through a Cinderella run into and through the 2021 playoffs until Portland defeated them 2-0 at Providence Park, earning the Timbers their third MLS Western Conference title.
RSL’s talismanic playmaker, Albert Rusnák, signed as a free agent with Seattle but MLS All-Star Damir Kreilach remains. Kreilach led the Claret-and-Cobalt with 16 goals in in 2021 as well as contributing nine assists. Beaverton native Rubio Rubín also had a strong season last year with eight goals and five helpers.
Among the new faces for Salt Lake include veteran midfielder Scott Caldwell who came over via free agency from New England as well as Venezuelan forward Sergio Cordova on loan from FC Augsburg.
2021 Eliteserien Record: 17-6-7, Third in Eliteserien
Head Coaches: Bjarte Lunde Aarsheim, Morten Jensen
Feb. 13: vs. RSL (2:30pm PT)
Feb. 16: vs. Portland (7:30pm PT)
Feb. 19: vs. Minnesota (2:30pm PT)
For many fans of the Timbers and Major League Soccer, Viking FK is probably an unfamiliar side.
Hailing from Stavenger—Norway’s fourth largest city situated on the southwestern coast of Norway in a bay next to the North Sea—De mørkeblå, or “Dark Blues” were founded in 1899, and are one of the oldest and most successful clubs in Norway having won eight Norwegian top division titles and six Norwegian Cups.
Viking currently plays in the Eliteserien—Norway’s top flight—and in 2021, Viking finished third in the 16-team league with a record of 17-6-7 which earned them an Eliteserien bronze medal. Their 2021 season was led on the field by Norwegian striker and captain Veton Berisha who had 22 goals—best on the team and third in the league.
The Eliteserien season typically runs from March until November so Viking arrive in Portland in the thick of their preseason, much the same as the Timbers, Minnesota and Real Salt Lake.
Interestingly, Viking is lead by joint head coaches: Bjarte Lunde Aarsheim and Morten Jensen. Lunde Aarsheim played 13 seasons with the team beginning in the mid 1990s before becoming an assistant in 2017 and co-head coach with Jensen in 2021. Jensen had also been an assistant with Viking going back to 2018.