PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers opened play in their sixth-annual preseason tournament against Real Salt Lake at Providence Park on Thursday night, marking their fourth overall preseason fixture in 2017.
Utilizing at least 21 different players again in Thursday’s match, Portland’s first group included midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who made his first appearance with the Timbers in the 2017 preseason after joining the club following January training camp with the U.S. Men’s National Team, and recently acquired Designated Player Sebastián Blanco. The Timbers first-half group saw 56 minutes of action collectively for the first time this preseason, with the exception of Blanco, who played 45 minutes in his first appearance with the Timbers.
Outshooting Real Salt Lake 10-2 in the first half, the Timbers opening group outscored the visitors 2-1 in the opening 45, including a brace from midfielder Diego Valeri as he tallied his first preseason goals of the 2017 campaign. Portland was reduced to 10 men after midfielder Diego Chara was sent off in the 41st minute of play, resulting in a free-kick finish from Real Salt Lake midfielder Joao Plata from the edge of the 18-yard box four minutes before halftime.
Six minutes into the second half, the 10-man Timbers side was able to extend its lead when forward Darren Mattocks tucked his chance into the bottom corner to give Portland a 3-1 advantage in the 51st minute. Following an additional finish from Real Salt Lake two minutes later, Portland’s opening group exited the field with a 3-2 advantage in the 56th minute, as nine new players were introduced. The remainder of the second half featured a third finish from Real Salt Lake in the 66th minute, equaling a 3-3 final score in Portland’s opening preseason game at Providence Park.
After creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities in the first half, Portland’s opening goal occurred in the 36th minute when Valeri scored his first preseason goal of the 2017 campaign after an effective play in the final third, beginning with a dangerous cross into the box from defender Alvas Powell. The defender’s precise cross found Nagbe, who quickly played a square pass to Mattocks on the edge of the six-yard box for a quick shot that was saved by goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Quickly reacting to collect the rebound, Valeri carefully slotted his effort past Rimando.
Following Plata’s equalizer in the 41st minute, Portland regained the lead when Valeri recorded his second goal of the match, burying a penalty kick after forward Jordan Allen was called for a handball on defender Vytas’ service into the box.
At Mattocks’ finish six minutes into the second half – his first of the preseason – stemmed from another dangerous cross into the box from Powell toward Jack Barmby, who headed the ball down into Mattocks’ path, creating the goal-scoring chance.
Prior to scoring, Portland created several chances throughout the match, including its first chance of the game in the fourth minute when Valeri and Blanco quickly combined on the edge of the box, leading to a chance for Valeri from deep inside the area, with the midfielder hitting his effort just wide of the target.
Ten minutes later, Valeri’s corner found defender Lawrence Olum at the near post for a header that skipped wide of the target, while Mattocks’ header from Blanco’s cross narrowly missed the target shortly afterward.
Portland continues play in the preseason tournament on Sunday, Feb. 12, against Minnesota United FC at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific). The match will be streamed live on www.timbers.com. Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will square in Sunday’s first match; kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (Pacific).
· Midfielder Diego Valeri scored his first two goals of the preseason, marking the second consecutive year that Valeri has scored in the Timbers preseason tournament, having scored against Minnesota United in a 4-0 victory on Feb. 21, 2016.
· Valeri is tied with Fanendo Adi for most preseason goals by a Timbers player with four.
· Darren Mattocks scored his first goal of the 2017 preseason.
· Sebastián Blanco made his preseason debut for the Timbers, while Darlington Nagbe made his 2017 preseason debut for the club.
· The three goals scored by Portland is the most scored by the club in a preseason match against an MLS opponent since a 3-3 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Feb. 17, 2013.
· The six combined goals ranks tied for the most goals scored in a Timbers preseason match.
Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS Preseason)
Feb. 9, 2017 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 2 3
Portland Timbers 2 1 3
POR: Valeri, 35
RSL: Plata, 43
POR: Valeri (Penalty kick), 45
POR: Mattocks (Barmby), 51
RSL: Mulholland, 53
RSL: Holness, 66
POR: Allen (Caution), 13
POR: Powell (Caution). 24
RSL: Movsisyan (Caution), 24
RSL: Mulholland (Caution), 24
POR: Chara (Ejection), 42
POR: McInerney (Caution), 85
Lineups & Stats:
POR: GK Gleeson, D Powell, D Olum, D Ridgewell, D Vytas, M Guzmán, M Chara, M Blanco (Barmby, 45), M Valeri, M Nagbe, F Mattocks
POR: GK Attinella, D Myers, D Ordain*, D Clarke, D Valentin, M Zemanski, M Okugo, M Barmby (Arboleda, 87), M Asprilla, F McInerney
TOTAL SHOTS: 12; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 13; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES:1
RSL: GK Rimando (Fernandez, 45), D Dunk (Beltran, 61), D Maund (Horst, 61), D Schmidt (Orozco, 61), D Phillips (Lachowecki, 61), M Stephen (Holness, 61), M Mulholland (Besler, 61), M Rusnak (Hernandez, 61), F Allen (Haber, 61 (Brody, 74), F Plata (Velazco, 61), F Movsisyan © (Barrett, 61)
TOTAL SHOTS: 11; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 13; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 1
* Indicates guest player/trialist; ^ indicates SuperDraft pick, + indicates T2
Weather: Cloudy, 49 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial