Cascadia in the Desert
Portland Timbers 1 : 0 Seattle Sounders – Match Report
Defender Mikael Silvestre was the unlikely goalscorer in this pre-season Cascadia derby in the Arizona desert. The former Man United star netted in the second half after both Sounders goalkeeper Josh Ford and Deandre Yedlin had made goalline clearances.
Sounders FC were kicking off their preparations for the 2013 season with a friendly against the Portland Timbers, whereas this was Portland’s third friendly against outside opponents.
Portland played a strong starting line up in the first half. Sounders started ex Liverpool defender Djimi Traore at centre half and South African Lebogang Moloto in midfield. Silvestre, another defender with an EPL pedigree, started for Portland also at centre half.
Sounders initially began the better with plenty of early possession and a promising turn of pace by Steve Zakuani that won a corner. That was to be a false dawn for them.
That early dominance switched thereafter as Portland began to monopolise possession though little was created to force involvement from Marcus Hahnemann in the Seattle goal, until the ex-Wolves and Reading keeper was forced to leave his line to clear in the 12th minute.
Valeri showed he was in the Sounder’s minds when Servando Carrasco clobbered him in the 7th minute, earning the game’s first yellow card. Hahnemann was involved again in the 14th minute when he comfortably saved a long range Valeri effort.
Moloto was next to be booked by referee Jair Marrufo after a nasty challenge on Diego Chara. He was fortunate to remain on the park after a second poor challenge shortly after on Valeri in the 23rd minute. Hahnemann saved another Valeri effort from the subsequent free kick easily.
Timbers forward Bright Dike just missed the left hand post with a drive.
Portland were playing much of their offense down their right where it did lamentably not look that threatening with Ryan Miller looking very poor with his crossing. Meanwhile, Michael Harrington on the left seemed to be a more potent option due to the absence of a direct opponent preventing him gliding forward unopposed.
Deprived of possession for 25 minutes, Zakuani drifted right just before the half hour.
This spawned a better period for Seattle with Estrada looking to get involved and unsettling an otherwise unchallenged Portland rearguard.
Carrasco left for Dylan Remick, another draft pick, on the half hour.
Harrington seemed to be looking for a foul when he ran into Zach Scott on 31. Valeri’s free kick was well cleared by Sammy Ochoa.
Valeri’s next cross was just as poor, floating over the entirety of the penalty box. Consistency will have to be upgraded to match the obvious flair if Caleb Porter is to make the most of his new acquisition.
Zakuani drew Portland’s first yellow in the 38th with Will Johnson being cautioned and Rosales’ subsequent free kick forced Kocic into a punch under pressure from Zach Scott. Dike then picked up Timbers’ second yellow just after for a foul on Rosales whose free kick also forced Kocic into a punch.
Hahnemann made one more key save, perhaps his best, from Valeri just before the half time whistle before both sides made wholesale changes.
Sounders rang wholesale changes for the second half introducing a very inexperienced line up of Ford, Yedlin, Thomas, Lelis, Remick, Rex, Essame, Moloto, Burch, Bowen, Sodade.
Former Jamaica captain Shavar Thomas partnered Leo Lelis from Fluminense’s youth program at centre half for the Sounders. Only Moloto remained of the Seattle starters.
Portland kept many of their starters although Jake Gleeson replaced Kocic in the Portland goal.
Josh Ford made a good leg save from Dike in the 49th minute as the new look Sounders side struggled to settle early.
A collision three minutes after forced treatment for Dike who scrambled with Sounders keeper Ford and Thomas with a Valeri cross. The Nigerian striker regained his feet after two minutes but left the game for Danny Mwanga.
Ford made another save, this time diving and using the gloves as Alhassan did well to let off a shot despite being off balanced before Rex fired wide with Sounders first shot of the game.
The decisive goal followed on the hour mark when Silvestre opened the scoring for Portland after Ford saved one and Deandre Yedlin cleared a Mwanga rebound off the line.
With the third effort in the bagatelle series, Silvestre scrambled in Portland’s 61sr minute winner. Soon after Mwanga hit the bar with a header but the scoring remained at 1-0.
The Timbers swapped out most of their starters. Thereafter, the game became fragmented as one would expect with unfamiliar players trying to combine on both sides of the ball.
With a more experienced line up, Portland continued to be the better side though few goalmouth incidents appeared until close to the end.
Lelis deprived Valencia of a shot on goal with one timely interception while Marc Burch did break clear for Seattle but found Chris Taylor rather than Jennings Rex with the pass.
Burch also replaced Yedlin as the corner taker after some woeful efforts by the latter and threatened with an 88th minute corner, his first, before the whistle ended some pinball in the Portland six yard box.
Rex hit a last minute header straight at Gleeson. It was both Sounders’ first chance of the match and the last kick.
Sounders return home to Seattle today after a week in Casa Grande, but they will return to Tucson next week to participate in the Desert Diamond Cup.
The preseason tournament will feature games against New England (February 13), Real Salt Lake (February 16), and New York (February 20).
The Timbers will play their fourth and final preseason match during their 12-day camp in Tucson on Friday against FC Tucson, the host club of the Desert Friendlies, at 10 a.m. (Pacific) at the Kino Sports Complex.
The Timbers will return to Portland following Friday’s match.
Timbers: Kocic; Miller, Jean-Baptiste, Silvestre, Harrington; Chara, Valeri, Will Johnson; Alhassan, Dike, Nagbe.
From 66 minutes:
Timbers: Gleeson; Tucker-Gangnes, Danso, Mosquera, Taylor; Fehr, Nanchoff, Alexander; Zizzo, Mwanga, Valencia
Sounders FC: Hahnemann; Scott, Hurtado, Traore, Gonzalez; Rosales, Carrasco, Moloto, Zakuani; Estrada, Ochoa.
(2nd half) - Ford, Yedlin, Thomas, Lelis, Remick, Rex, Essame, Moloto, Burch, Bowen, Sodade.
Line ups (alternate version)
POR: GK Milos Kocic (Jake Gleeson 46), D Ryan Miller (Dylan Tucker-Gangnes^, 62), D Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Futty Danso, 62), D Mikael Silvestre* (Hanyer Mosquera, 62), D Michael Harrington (Chris Taylor, 62), M Diego Chara (Mobi Fehr, 62), M Diego Valeri (Michael Nanchoff*, 62), M Will Johnson (Eric Alexander, 62), F Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo, 62), F Bright Dike (Danny Mwanga, 55), F Darlington Nagbe (Jose Valencia, 62)
SEA: GK Marcus Hahnemann (Josh Ford, 46), D Zach Scott (DeAndre Yedlin, 46), D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Shavar Thomas, 46), D Djimi Traore* (Leo Lelis*, 46), D Leonardo Gonzalez (Dylan Remick^, 30), M Mauro Rosales (Rex Jennings**, 46), M Servando Carrasco (Guy Essame*, 46), M Lebogang Moloto** (David Estrada, 68), M Steve Zakuani (Marc Burch, 46), F David Estrada (Travis Bowen*, 46), F Sammy Ochoa (Babayele Sodade, 46)