The Portland Timbers couldn't find a way past the Seattle Sounders yesterday as the two teams, both expected to be contenders in the Western Conference, fought to a 0-0 draw. Neither team was really able to impose their will on the game, with chances on goal being few and far between, but the Timbers, for their part, did have several moments of extended possession, despite struggling to find room for a good shot.
So, who impressed and who fell short of our expectations? Check out our picks below:
Ryan: "Frenandez has been impressive in the first three preseason games and the Seattle game was no different than the last one. At one point his silky smooth ball skills easily put him past one of the best DMs in the league and again his touch took down a long switch easily past a closing Deandre Yedlin. His vision and combinations with the other attacking players are excellent for a player who has only been playing with them for less than a month. The real question is what will Porter do once Valeri is back and where will all the attacking options play?"
Will: "McKenzie made several key blocks and generally played solid defense against the Sounders, but that is a usual feature of his game. What really stood out yesterday was his passing, usual a weak point for him, which was dialed in and accurate, allowing the Timbers to get out of a hairy situation or two that might otherwise have gone poorly."
Will: "After two games where he just did not seem to be able to affect the proceedings, Piquionne was looking sharper against the Sounders than he did earlier in the week. There was still not much Piquionne could do with the service coming his way, other than putting a little more power into his late open goal chance, but his defensive work rate and headed passes were both much improved yesterday and lead to several of the second team's better chances."
Michael: "Alvas Powell was the most interesting player on the field, for me. At times he was super impressive with darting runs up field and really well placed crosses into the box. Other times he was too slow getting back defensively and was easily beaten several times. To be fair, he made a nice, saving clearance in the 85th minute and generally used his athleticism to make up for positional mistakes. Overall, while the season is still a month away, it looks ever more likely that Jack Jewsbury will be the undisputed starter at right back while Powell continues to evolve both as a player and in Caleb Porter's system."
Who Needs Improvement
Will: "Given a stint on the right flank, Kalif just did not look comfortable linking up with anyone else on the pitch. With Sounders applying immediate and intense pressure each time he got the ball, it was rare that Kalif was able to hold onto the ball, let alone do something constructive with it. There were, of course, the occasional moments of brilliance, but this time around they could not outweigh his inability to hold possession."
Stacey: "Johnson is lucky he's not one of the new guys, because this preseason would not be a good first impression. Although he scored against Houston, he's showing some rust. Last night he passed the ball straight to Seattle a few times, and missed a lot of the sort of midfield challenges that typically make him such a nuisance to the other team. He's going to snap out of it, but he'll want to do that sooner rather than later. "
Who were your top performers against Seattle? Who do you want to see more from? Let us know in the comments.