TUCSON, Ariz. – Newly acquired Designated Player Diego Valeri scored a goal in his Portland Timbers debut, forward Jose Valencia added a goal and an assist and midfielder Kalif Alhassan recorded a well-placed second-half goal as the Timbers defeated the Colorado Rapids 3-1 at Kino Sports Complex on Tuesday in their first preseason match of 2013.
In the first of four preseason matches during a 12-day camp in Tucson, Ariz., Timbers head coach Caleb Porter fielded a separate lineup in each half against the Rapids (0-1-0 preseason). Valeri’s goal in the first half lifted the Timbers (1-0-0 preseason) to a 1-0 lead at halftime. Valencia and Alhassan both played the entire second half and helped Portland build a 3-0 lead before forward Deshorn Brown pulled one back late for the Rapids.
“For me, there were some positive periods of play on both sides of the ball. There were also a lot of things that we can clean up,” Porter said following the match. “What’s great about it is, we can use this now as a measuring stick and we can look at trends, we can look at things we need to continue to do well and can continue to reinforce. We can also look at things we need to correct, and that will be the basis of training moving forward. So every time we play a game that allows us to measure ourselves based on what we are doing in training.
“What I was looking for, mostly, was progress. We had eight days to train and we have focused on certain things – every day is a building block. And this was another building block. We wanted to see that there was a positive performance based on our good preparation leading into the game, and I thought, overall, we saw that.”
Valeri, seeing his first action with the club, opened the scoring in the 28th minute, scoring on a free kick. From deep down the left side, outside the penalty area, Valeri curled a shot on frame, just beyond the reach of Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens, and inside the far post. New Portland forward Ryan Johnson, who had a rolling shot deflected just wide of the goal late in the first half, drew the foul that set up the free kick goal.
Valencia and Alhassan teamed up to double Portland’s lead in the 64th minute. The two combined for passes down the left side before Valencia, under pressure, was able to lay the ball off for Alhassan just inside the box. Alhassan then curled a sharply hit shot past Rapids second-half goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and inside the top far corner of the goal, giving the Timbers a 2-0 lead.
The Timbers extended their lead to 3-0 in the 80th minute on Valencia’s goal. He worked the ball up field and through the Rapids defense before setting up for a shot from the top of the box. Valencia slipped as he attempted his shot, but had enough behind the ball to power it past Maurer.
Colorado scored in the 88th minute, trimming the deficit to 3-1, as Brown finished a cross from the left side by defender Kory Kindle. The two teamed up for a scoring chance earlier in the second half, but Brown’s header from the top of the six-yard box was saved by Timbers goalkeeper Milos Kocic, who played the entire second half.
The Rapids nearly stole the lead in the 22nd minute, but forward Kamani Hill’s volley from the top of the area hit off the crossbar and the Timbers were able to clear the deflection.
The Timbers play Sporting Kansas City in their next preseason match Friday at Kino Sports Complex at 5 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be streamed live at www.portlandtimbers.com.
POR: Valeri, 28
POR: Alhassan (Valencia), 64
POR: Valencia, 80
COL: Brown (Kindle), 88
POR: GK Donovan Ricketts, D Ryan Miller, D Andrew Jean-Baptiste, D David Horst, D Michael Harrington, M Diego Chara, M Jack Jewsbury (Eric Alexander, 7), M Diego Valeri, M Will Johnson, F Darlington Nagbe, F Ryan Johnson
COL: GK Matt Pickens, D Brian Mullan, D Drew Moor, D Diego Calderón, D Anthony Wallace, M Hendry Thomas, M Pablo Mastroeni, M Martín Rivero (Cesar Romero*, 45), F Kamani Hill, F Atiba Harris, F Tony Cascio
POR: GK Milos Kocic, D Ryan Kawulok, D Futty Danso, D Mikael Silvestre*, D Chris Taylor; M Michael Nanchoff*, M Kalif Alhassan, M Danny Mwanga, F Sal Zizzo, F Bright Dike, F Jose Valencia
COL: GK Jimmy Maurer*, D Chris Klute, D Nathan Sturgis, D Shane O'Neill, D Kory Kindle, M Dillon Powers, M Nick LaBrocca, M Dillon Serna, F Walter Martinez*, F Andre Akpan, F Deshorn Brown
* Trialist/guest player
COL: Thomas (Caution), 19
COL: Akpan (Caution), 75
- Utilizing different lineups for each half, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter had 23 players see the field Tuesday against the Rapids.
- Forward Jose Valencia became the first Timbers MLS player to record a goal and an assist in a preseason match.
- Valencia saw his first preseason action as a member of the Timbers on Tuesday. He missed the 2012 campaign, including the preseason, due to a knee injury, appearing in one late-season Reserve League match for the Timbers.
- The three goals scored by Portland against Colorado marked the second-most goals scored by the club in a single preseason match since joining MLS in 2011. The Timbers tallied four goals in a 4-1 preseason victory Feb. 7, 2012, against the LA Galaxy.
- The four total goals scored between the two clubs Tuesday was also the second-most combined goals scored in a preseason match involving the MLS Timbers.
- Midfielder Kalif Alhassan recorded the second preseason goal of his MLS career on Tuesday. His first came against the San Jose Earthquakes on Feb. 27, 2012, during a preseason tournament held at JELD-WEN Field.
- The goal by midfielder Diego Valeri in the first half marked the Timbers’ first MLS preseason goal scored directly off a free kick.
- Midfielder Jack Jewsbury exited the match in the fifth minute due to a hamstring injury. He was replaced in the seventh minute by Eric Alexander, who played the remainder of the first half.
- Several players saw their first action as a member of the Timbers on Tuesday, including goalkeeper Milos Kocic, defenders Ryan Miller and Michael Harrington, midfielders Diego Valeri and Will Johnson and forward Ryan Johnson.
- Defender Chris Taylor, who missed most of the 2012 season due to a hip injury, played the second half, seeing his first game action since last June.
- Tuesday’s match, on Jan. 29, 2013, was the earliest preseason match played by the Timbers since joining MLS in 2011.
- Both Portland and Colorado opened their respective preseason slates on Tuesday, and it was the first time the two clubs have met in preseason play.