TUCSON, Ariz. – Playing their second-to-last match in Tucson, Ariz., as the team progresses closer to the start of the 2018 MLS regular season, the Portland Timbers defeated the New York Red Bulls 4-1 at the Kino Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon. Four different players scored for the Timbers, as the team recorded its first win of the 2018 preseason campaign.
Facing the Red Bulls, the Timbers second group saw more minutes in Wednesday’s match, as head coach Giovanni Savarese rested a number of first-group players, who saw an increase in minutes against FC Dallas on Saturday, Feb. 17. In the win against the Red Bulls, a number of players logged the full 90 minutes, including defenders Julio Cascante and Zarek Valentin and midfielders Andrés Flores and Victor Arboleda. Forward Samuel Armenteros also played his longest stretch of minutes with the Timbers since joining the team earlier this month, logging 60 minutes, while midfielder Andy Polo also returned to the lineup.
Spreading the wealth
Scoring a pair of goals in the first half, four different players scored for the Timbers in the win against the Red Bulls. Polo and Cascante recorded their debut goals for the Timbers, while Armenteros scored his second goal of the 2018 preseason. Additionally, Arboleda recorded his first goal with the first team, recording a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win on Wednesday.
Diego Chara returns to the squad
After suffering an injury against the Houston Dynamo in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Oct. 31, 2017, midfielder Diego Chara made his first appearance with the Timbers in the 2018 preseason. Chara, who has played 205 regular-season games in seven seasons with the Timbers, entered Wednesday’s match in the 73rd minute, replacing midfielder Jack Barmby.
The Timbers opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game when Arboleda broke free down the right-hand side, skipping past the New York defense, before playing a low cross through the box for Armenteros. Reacting quickly, Armenteros redirected a pass to Polo for a comfortable tap-in finish just outside the six-yard box.
Two minutes later, the Timbers doubled their lead through Arboleda’s speed down the right wing, with the midfielder outpacing his marker before crossing the ball to Armenteros, who converted from close range after having his initial effort blocked by a sliding challenge in the 12th minute.
Continuing to attack in the 56th minute, the Timbers came close to adding a third goal when midfielder Dairon Asprilla slipped by two defenders, before driving a cross into the box for Armenteros. Running to meet Asprilla’s pass, Armenteros played a first-time ball for Barmby, whose effort went just high of the target.
Portland eventually broke through in the second half when Arboleda added a goal in the 60th minute of play, picking up the ball on the left wing and driving past two defenders, before calmly clipping the ball into the far right corner of the goal to record his first preseason goal with the Timbers.
Up 3-1 with two minutes remaining in the game, the Timbers nearly extended their lead in the 88th minute when Chara played a well-weighted bass in behind for Arboleda, who pulled it back for Asprilla for a shot that was deflected off the crossbar.
One minute after Asprilla’s effort, the Timbers scored their fourth goal of the game when forward Jeremy Ebobisse’s strong shot forced a strong save, allowing midfielder Flores to collect the rebound and play it back across the six-yard box for Cascante, who converted a close-range tap in.
Next up, the Timbers will play their final match in the 2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup when the team faces a to-be-determined opponent on Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Kino Sports Complex. Saturday’s match will be streamed live on www.timbers.com
Portland Timbers vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS Preseason)
Feb. 21, 2018 – Kino Sports Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 2 2 4
New York Red Bulls 0 1 1
POR: Polo (Armenteros, Arboleda), 10
POR: Armenteros, 12
POR: Arboleda, 69
NY: Own goal, 69
POR: Cascante (Flores), 89
NY: Murphy (Caution), 56
POR: GK Gleeson (McIntosh, 60), D Valentin, D Cascante, D Tuiloma (Jadama, 51), D Farfan (Vytas, 45), M Flores, M Paredes (Williamson, 70), M Arboleda, M Barmby (Chara, 73), M Polo (Asprilla, 45), F Armenteros (Ebobisse, 60)
NY: GK Louro (Leverne, 45), D De Vera (Bailon, 69), D Redding (Ackwei, 89), D Ndam, D Duncan, M Tinari (Cordeiro, 30), M Murphy (Echevarria, 45), M Stroud (Aguinaga, 69), M Mine (Kutler, 45), F Bonomo (White, 63), F Jones (Terci, 45)