The Portland Timbers reserves faced off against the San Jose Earthquakes reserves today at the Earthquakes training facility. Despite creating a number of chances and outshooting the Earthquakes 19-12, the Timbers were unable to beat San Jose keeper David Bingham. San Jose were similarly thwarted by some excellent saves from Joe Bendik until the 53rd minute, when San Jose midfielder Jean-Marc Alexandre fired in a shot from distance that snuck just inside the post.
Robert Jonas, writer for SB Nation's Quake, Rattle, and Goal was at the game and tweeted about the occasion.
Both teams miss golden opportunities: Chabala whiffs from 18 after cutback from Renken. Diaz Pizarro gets stoned by Bendick in 1 v. 1 break.
Stumptown Footy member soupjavelin was at the game and posted his thoughts on the Timbers players in our fanshots (You can find the original here). More thoughts on the game plus soupjavelin's full Timbers breakdown and the Timbers press release after the jump.
The Timbers featured some novel personnel choices at the back, likely brought on by the current dearth of healthy central defenders. Chris Taylor and Steve Purdy, both normally played as outside backs, lined up in the center of defense for the Timbers while Mike Chabala, generally a left back, was played as a defensive midfielder. This left trialist Kasali Casal and Ryan Kawulok playing as the outside backs.
While reserve matches are hardly good indicators of a team's depth, the Timbers really suffered thanks to the injuries to David Horst, Futty Danso, and Hanyer Mosquera. If any two of those players were fit, we would likely have seen a back line of Chabala, Jean-Baptiste, Danso/Horst, and Purdy which certainly looks better than the makeshift defense the Timbers fielded today.
Chabala played more as a holding midfielder, but had little effect on the game. Timbers better playing from the wings.
With Chabala and Freddie Braun in the center of the pitch, the Timbers lacked for any sort of cohesive attack through the center and instead saw most of their offense coming from the wings, manned by Brent Richards, Charles Renken, and later Sal Zizzo. Zizzo's involvement in the game is encouraging as it could mean the return of a potential weapon off the bench for the Timbers first team.
Up top, Sebastian Rincon and Bright Dike seem to have been praised, but were unable to find the back of the net. Rincon in particular was praised by soupjavelin, but is still unsigned by the team and was forced to leave the pitch in the 67th minute due to an injury.
soupjavelin's player by player breakdown:
I was able to catch the reserve match in San Jose this morning, and I decided to do a short write up.
Timbers: Bendik; Casal, Taylor, Purdy, Kawulok, Richards, Braun, Chabala - C, Renken, Rincon (Zizzo), Dike
Bendik - Extremely vocal and active. He played well, and had great control of the pitch
Casal - Seemed to be forcing it a little bit, but showed good strength and speed at times. He wasn't really able to get involved in the offense, except for one sliding shot he put on goal for an easy save.
Taylor - Workman like. Not much to report. He played well.
Purdy - I'm pretty sure I was standing next to his family. He did a good job winning balls in the air, and played aggressive in the second half once the Timbers were down a goal. He started moving into the attack in stoppage time, and he sent a few decent crosses in.
Kawulok - He was able to get into the attack at times, and he did a decent job tracking back. He spent a lot of his time yelling at Renken trying to get him into position. He probably would have had a better game if Renken was switched on.
Richards - He did a great job getting involved in the attack. He was making great runs, and beating San Jose's back line. He had a few shots, but San Jose was really crowding the box. He moved to forward midway through the second half when Zizzo came on for Rincon.
Braun - He looked off today. He missed a few passes, and constantly found himself under pressure. I'm not sure if San Jose way keying on him, or if he was just putting himself in bad positions.
Chabala - Not the best day. He did not appear comfortable playing as a central midfielder. I don't remember him making any real threatening passes, and he didn't do a great job on set pieces. He also missed an easy goal. He was visibly frustrated, and ended up getting a yellow late in the game. It appeared he was trying to light a fire under his teammates.
Renken - He looks the part, but he was not switched on today. He was drifting inside, missing his defensive markings, and really trying to push it. When other players were giving him direction (yelling at him) he seemed to disengage. He worked hard on the ball, but he needs to learn how to be a teammate.
Rincon - He was the one of the most exciting players on the field. He made great runs, and worked hard off the ball. He was very hungry, and played hard. He got shaken up before half time, and tried to gut it out in the second half. He ended up going down, and was unable to continue. Zizzo came in, and Richards moved to forward. I don't think it is anything too serious.
Dike - A quiet day from Dike. He worked hard, but was unable to get anything going. San Jose was playing him very physical, and he had a hard time winning balls in the air.
Zizzo - Highlight of the match. Zizzo came in wearing a brace on his left knee, but it didn't slow him down at all. He had no problem going into contact, and he was as fast as ever. A few times he was able to knock the ball forward around a defender, and still be the first one to the ball. I was really happy to see him play so aggressive. He also had great touch on the ball, and a good feel for the field. Excited to see how he can impact the first team later in the season.
The Timbers' press release:
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Earthquakes Reserves received a long-range strike from midfielder Jean-Marc Alexandre early in the second half to defeat the Portland Timbers Reserves 1-0 in the MLS Reserve League season-opener for both teams Tuesday at the Earthquakes Training Facility.
The Earthquakes Reserves broke through with the game’s only goal in the 53rd minute. Midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong cut through the penalty box before feeding forward Alan Gordon, who laid the ball back toward Alexandre outside the left edge of the area. Alexandre took a touch before powering a left-footed shot from 25 yards out, low and inside the far post.
The Timbers Reserves outshot the Earthquakes Reserves, 19-12, and forced San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham to make four saves to earn the shutout. Portland produced an early scoring chance when forward Sebastián Rincón’s shot was saved by Bingham and forward Bright Dike’s effort on the rebound was blocked away by a defender.
Inside the final 10 minutes of the match, Timbers defender Ryan Kawulok and midfielder Sal Zizzo, making his first appearance in 2012, each had chances to find the equalizer. Kawulok’s effort was turned away by Bingham, and Zizzo’s dangerous free kick in stoppage time was cleared by a San Jose defender.
Timbers goalkeeper Joe Bendik made four saves in the loss, including an early stop on a shot by Sercan Guvenisik in the eighth minute. Just before halftime, Bendik came up with a kick save in a one-on-one situation with Earthquakes rookie Cesar Diaz Pizarro.
The Timbers Reserves return to action Tuesday, April 10, against the Seattle Sounders FC Reserves at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (Pacific).
Portland Timbers Reserves (0-1-0, 0pts) at San Jose Earthquakes Reserves (1-0-0, 3pts) – MLS Reserve League
March 27, 2012 – Earthquakes Training Facility
SJ – Jean-Marc Alexandre (Alan Gordon, Anthony Ampaipitakwong) 53
SJ – Brad Ring (caution) 35
SJ – Kyle Kavey (caution) 64
SJ – Jean-Marc Alexandre (caution) 77
POR – Mike Chabala (caution) 85
SJ – GK David Bingham, Brad Ring (Jacob Hustedt 90), Jason Hernandez ©, ^Kyle Kaveny, Josh Suggs (*Christian De Luna 81), Sam Garza, Jean-Marc Alexandre, Anthony Ampaipitakwong (*Julio Cervantes 74), Simon Dawkins, Alan Gordon (Ellis McLoughlin 61), Sercan Guvenisik (Cesar Diaz Pizarro 24).
Sub not used: Evan Newton
Statistics: Shots: 12; Shots on Goal: 5; Saves: 4; Fouls: 17; Corner Kicks: 7; Offside: 3
POR – GK Joe Bendik, Ryan Kawulok, Steve Purdy, Chris Taylor, ^Kasali Casal, Charles Renken, Mike Chabala ©, Freddie Braun, Brent Richards, Bright Dike, ^Sebastián Rincón (Sal Zizzo 67).
Subs not used: ^Doug Herrick, ^Dylan Leslie
Statistics: Shots: 19; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 4; Fouls: 7; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 5
* - San Jose Earthquakes Academy player
^ - guest player/trialist