MATCH RECAP | Portland Timbers 2: 4, Newcastle United FC: 3

PORTLAND, Ore. – Receiving goals from midfielders Fatawu Safiu, Nick Besler and defenders Anthony Manning and Taylor Peay, T2 registered a 4-3 victory over English Premier League side Newcastle United in an international friendly on Tuesday night before 15,069 fans at Providence Park. 

After conceding an early goal to Newcastle United, T2 battled back and scored three goals in a 17-minute span to take a 3-1 lead into the halftime break. T2 added another goal in the second half which proved to be the game winner as Newcastle would rally and pull two goals back late in the second half of the match.

“I think it was just a great measuring stick for our guys, playing a quality team like that,” said Jay Vidovich, head coach of T2. “I think there were times when our guys flat-out played, almost abandoned at times. But they were free to play and they had the confidence to do that against quality players and a quality team; that’s tremendous for believing in your skills and your play.”

Fatawu opened the scoring for T2 and continued his impressive run of form, tallying a goal in his fourth consecutive match across all competitions. Forward Kharlton Belmar intercepted an errant pass which led to a breakaway, but Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow saved Belmar’s initial effort. The rebound fell to Fatawu, who calmly slotted the ball into the open net in the 13th minute to level the score at 1-1. Manning put T2 ahead 2-1 in the 23rd minute as he rose up in the box and headed in a curling free kick from midfielder Michael Nanchoff. Peay added to T2’s lead in the first half, finishing with a half-volley from close range after a Nanchoff corner kick was headed down to Peay by defender Rennico Clarke in the 30th minute. 

T2 continued pressing in the second half and were rewarded with their fourth goal in the 70th minute as defender Jeanderson crossed a ball from the right flank that found Besler at the far post, who headed it in to put Portland ahead 4-1.

Newcastle opened the scoring in the sixth minute as midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum finished a cross from Rolando Aarons with his first touch. Aarons added two goals of his own in the second half to cut the T2 lead to just one goal. In the 75th minute, Aarons received a ball from Gael Bigirimana, popped it up to himself and finished with an overhead kick past T2 substitute goalkeeper Justin Luthy to make the score 4-2. Less than one minute later in the 76th minute, Aarons notched a brace after receiving a pass through the penalty box from midfielder Gabriel Obertan and firing a left-footed shot that Luthy got a hand to, but could not keep out of the net.

Portland was the last stop for Newcastle United on their preseason tour of the United States as the Premier League side now heads back to England to continue its preseason preparations. The Magpies open their 2015-16 Premier League campaign at home on Aug. 9 against Southampton at St. James’ Park.

Following Tuesday’s match, T2 take to the road to face Cascadia-rival Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Wash., on Friday, July 24; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be available via a live, high-definition web stream at www.timbers2.com. On a quick turnaround, T2 return to Portland to face LA Galaxy II at Merlo Field on Sunday, July 26; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Tickets for Sunday’s T2 match are available online by clicking here.

T2 vs. Newcastle United (International Exhibition) 
July 21, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
T2                                 3          1          4
Newcastle United           1          2          3

Scoring Summary
NEW: Wijnaldum (Aarons), 6
POR: Fatawu, 13
POR: Manning (Nanchoff), 23
POR: Peay (Clarke, Nanchoff), 30
POR: Besler (Jeanderson), 70
NEW: Aarons (Bigirimana), 75
NEW: Aarons (Obertan), 76 

Misconduct Summary
NEW: Abeid (Caution), 62
POR: Fochive (Caution), 77

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Gleeson (Luthy, 49), D Peay, D Clarke, D Manning, D Thoma, M Besler, M Fochive, M Jeanderson, M Nanchoff, M Fatawu (Gavin, 64), F Belmar (Winchester, 64) 

Substitutes Not Used: D Delbridge, D Evans, D Rose, M Biglieri, M Casiple, M Payne

TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 5

NEW: GK Darlow (Woodman, 46), D Ferguson, D Bigirimana, D Abeid (Anita, 65), D Satka, M Sissoko © (Obertan, 46), M Aarons, M Wijnaldum (Janmaat, 46), F Cisse (Armstrong, 46), F Gouffran (de Jong, 75), F Perez

Substitutes Not Used: None

TOTAL SHOTS: 12; SHOTS ON GOAL: 8; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 3

Referee: Levi Rippy
Assistant Referees: Andrew Deuker, Ben Warren
4th Official: Chipalo Street
Attendance: 15,069
Weather: Sunny, 73 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

Post-game quote sheet

T2 head coach Jay Vidovich

On if he’s happy with the back-to-back great performances…
“For sure, very happy with the group, their response. I think it was just a great measuring stick for our guys, playing a quality team like that. On offense we got some goals but two of those came off restarts, so the defenders jumping on that scene as well. The work rate of the front runners to get the first goal with Kharlton [Belmar] winning the ball and then pushing through. To see how that happened and then in the final goal to see Nick Besler get that off a great play starting off the back with Rennico [Clarke] and with Rundell [Winchester] making a good play to push Jeanderson for a great header by Besler. So, very happy.”

On his expectations going into tonight’s match…
“The expectations were what a tremendous opportunity provided for our development team. We’re the reserves, we’re young guys, we’re young professionals trying to get to the next level, and to play a quality team like this our expectations were we were going to get a bit of a lesson and it happened. Honestly, they’re in preseason but in the first five minutes, maybe the worst thing that happened to them was they scored a quick goal. That happened out of nowhere. Somebody closed their eyes for a half second and the ball is in the back of the net and it happened two other times. I think to see how you can get punished by top players and top teams with the speed of play and athleticism, our expectations were to grow from that, and I think they did well.”

On if this game gives his players confidence…
“I think that it can only help. It’s just another opportunity to get experiences they couldn’t get anywhere else. I think what happened was that one, particularly at the end, they learned to absorb the play and hang in there and manage the game. That’s crucial. That adds a lot to your confidence, to be pinned in and survive. I think there were times when our guys flat-out played, almost abandoned at times. But they were free to play and they had the confidence to do that against quality players and a quality team; that’s tremendous for believing in your skills and your play.”

On if either the match tonight or last Sunday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 was more important leading into Friday’s match against Seattle Sounders FC 2…
“When we’re looking at where we are in the standings obviously to get three points against Vancouver after we lost is tremendous. That’s when it counts, that’s a different thing. Tonight was an exercise for both teams. At the same time, it’ll be hard to take that one away from the guys for some of them; it’s a dream to play against a Premiership team, so that was very important for them as well, just in a different way.”

Timbers/T2 defender Anthony Manning

On scoring a goal…
“It was a good experience. I got a lot of adrenaline going out of it and it was a good opponent that we played, too, so that was a plus for us and for me scoring a goal.”

On what his mindset was like defensively…
“It was something I had to ease into because at first it was kind of nerve racking knowing that you had to go against some of the top forwards in the EPL. But as the game went on you get more comfortable and your confidence goes up as you keep going.”

On the communication in the back after conceding the first goal…
“We just had to tighten up. We have a pretty good back four. A pretty good relationship between us four and it was pretty much said that we had to tighten up and not let them come back at us again.”

On what it says about the T2 team after their performance tonight against an EPL team…
“We are a very dynamic team. We can score different ways, off of corner kicks or off the run of play too. It says a lot.”

On how it feels to get a win…
“Every win feels good, no matter if it’s an exhibition game or a regular-season game. It felt really good.”

 Timbers/T2 defender Taylor Peay

On his expectations coming into the game…
“We just wanted to play a good game, play our game. It was a good game. It was entertaining. It was fun for us and I think it was fun for them, too.”

On his goal…
“We put in a good cross. I was lucky I was there to knock it in. To be honest I was in a good position. It was cool. I was right in front of the goalkeeper and Rennico [Clarke] got up and headed it down and I was right there in front of it and just volleyed it in.”

On defending high-level EPL players…
“It was good experience for everyone, and when you get to play those games and do well like we did. It was a good night. It was good for us.”

On how he grows from a game like this one…
“I think for me it’s one of those things where I like to focus on my individual defending. I like to focus on my collective defending, so I take the good and I look at it and look at what I need to work on and take from that. So I grow. I grow from the game.”

On what he will remember from this game…
“I try to have a short-term memory, so the bad I try to not think about it, correct and get on with it. I mean it’s fun, we played Newcastle from England.”

 Timbers/T2 midfielder Michael Nanchoff

Overall thoughts on the game…
“Tonight was a blast. Tonight was a good opportunity for me and a lot of the T2 guys as well as a few first teamers to come out here and play in a game against one heck of an opponent in Newcastle, who obviously play at a very high level. But it was a no-pressure game for us. It was just for us to go out on the field and have a blast with one another, and the win makes it even more special.”

On his expectations coming into the game…
“First and foremost to win no matter what kind of game it is. When you throw on the Portland Timbers jersey you are expected to win and get the three points, whether it is a competition or just a friendly exhibition match. That was the mentality and the guys bought into it right away and we came out with a 4-3 win.”

On the facing a top team from EPL…
“The difference for me is truly the speed of the play. They play at a lightning pace; for me the one thing I noticed is their ability to close down ground defensively is unbelievable, it’s really impressive. They give you no place, no time or place to play at all, so you have to think quickly. But we were actually firing on all cylinders today, which was a beautiful thing. It’s a lot of different guys in the mix, so it’s a good win.”

Newcastle United FC manager Steve McClaren

On the countdown until the season and the preseason trip…
“I think we have 18 days before it starts. This has been a tough trip. Portland has been excellent. It’s a great city, a lovely stadium and a great game from them.”

On if the team got what they wanted coming to playing in the United States….
“Yep. I think we did. I think when you come on these trips, 10-11 days is very tough. The last two were very, very tough, so it’s proved and I think you saw that in the first half. Good response in the second half. Because we’re only fresh in a few weeks ago we need to get to know the players. There is no better way of getting to know the players than when you come on tour and travel for 10-11 days together but the players have been tremendous. The staff here is absolutely fantastic, really. They make it so easy. We don’t realize and the players don’t realize the work that goes behind the scenes on a tour like this. They’ve been tremendous. So, just to come away with no serious injuries, I’m so pleased with that.”

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