The reserve leg of this weekend's Cascadia derby started with a torrent of Timbers goals in the first fifteen minutes as Mike Fucito, Kris Boyd, and Brent Richards all got on the board. From then on out it was a much more even game as Seattle managed to get their feet underneath them and pull two back before the final whistle. Of course, despite all the goals and all the action on the pitch, all eight thousand people in attendance were waiting with bated breath for the debut of Jose Adolfo Valencia.
The little train is right. In his twenty four minutes on the pitch (if you count stoppage time) Valencia showed off his ability to run through his opponents, bowling over more than his fair share of Sounders. In one notable instance, Cam Vickers was dribbling down the wing when Trencito shouldered him off the ball, took several touches and ripped a low, hard shot that almost got through Seattle keeper Josh Ford.
More notes from today's reserve game after the jump.
In the early going the Timbers controlled the midfield battle thanks to the superior skill of Kalif Alhassan and Eric Alexander who handily outmatched their northern counterparts. Unfortunately, as the Sounders got ahold of the game they were able to exploit the space in front of the Timbers defense without the team's usual dedicated defensive midfielder.
The Timbers' defensive issues in the midfield were resolved when Renken was brought on late in the game. Renken reminds me of Ricardo Clark in a number of ways and, while he has not seen any time with the first team, may quietly have been one of the Timbers' best pick ups this season in the long term. Like Clark, Renken is slight of build but uses his excellent balance and an intensely competitive spirit to make up for his lack of size. Also like Clark, I would not be surprised to see Renken do something like this. In addition to helping solidify the midfield, Renken also had the Timbers best shot of the second half, almost sneaking a low, hard shot into the near corner (when the ball got caught up in the side netting, the stadium erupted as it looked like he had scored).
Granted, it may have been against less than MLS starting caliber players, but Cam Vickers absolutely destroyed the Seattle back line time and again with his quick runs down the right wing. None of his crosses met with much success but they were well placed and several were only a foot away from being assists, particularly one low cross that was inches away from a sliding Brent Richards. Vickers certainly has the speed, agility, and offensive chops to contribute to an MLS side in much the same vein as the dreaded Nyassi brothers.
The Old Guys
The other thing about Cam Vickers? At 23 he was the 3rd oldest Timber on the pitch at the end of the game. Futty Danso and Eric Brunner, 29 and 26, were the oldest while at the young end of things academy U18 players Mitch North and Christian Desir each saw playing time. The Timbers starting line up averaged just under 24 years old, while by the end of the match the Timbers line up averaged just over 21 years old. For comparison, the starting line up against the Sounders, which already included the younger Rodney Wallace for Steven Smith, averaged 26.5.
Did you go to the game against the Sounders? Share your thoughts in the comments below.