Game Flow: The Portland Timbers With a Dominating Win

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers dominated an outmatched Orlando City SC U23 side in their opening USOC game and earned the 3-0 win.

Opening Whistle - Portland Goal: Portland looked to establish possession early in the game and put Orlando City SC on their back foot. Orlando wasn't intimidated as they came out with some early energy and a little pep in their step. Once the game settled down, the Timbers looked to utilize their speed on the wings and total football, as they looked to have a lot of moving parts around Maximiliano Urruti. Orlando, on the other hand, tried to defend with numbers and then counter, and when there was no opportunity to break they too tried to possess the ball.

Portland was able to get on the scoresheet first with a great individual effort and a "Why the hell not" shot. His 30 yard bomb hit the crossbar and ricocheted down and into the goal.

Opening Goal - PK: After the goal, the energy in the crowd picked up a little and so did the Portland Timbers' energy. It felt a little like sharks smelling blood in the water. Orlando City didn't roll over though as they earned a couple of free kicks in dangerous spots, but were unable to force anything out of Andrew Weber. After the free kicks, Portland once again started possessing the ball for long periods of time and forced some dangerous turnovers with their high pressure.

Unfortunately, the Timbers were not able to find the second goal but they were fortunate that Orlando was not able to punish a couple of defensive mistakes or turnovers. The game flow did slow down, but it also had its moments of speed when either team tried to counter after a spell of possession. One such occasion led to a ball played behind the defense to Urruti, but the ball was too heavy and wide of the goal. The keeper for Orlando raced out to challenge the ball, and instead of getting the ball he got a little of Urruti, and the Portland Timbers earned their third PK of the year. With no one out there to argue with La Gata, he was able step up and take the PK. His cheeky chip was almost too cheeky but he scored.

PK- Half: Portland didn't let up, and in the final 5 minutes of the half they created more chances on goal then they did in the first 40 minutes. The Orlando City GK, Tomas Gomez, had a terrific save on a header and the other shots were wide of the goal.

Restart -60': Portland kept up their relentless attack in the second half, and in the first 5 minutes they forced a save and some last ditch defending from Orlando. The field did feel like it was titled down to the north and that Orlando was playing uphill at times. However, Portland was not able to find the third and probably back-breaking goal of the game.

Orlando's adjustments at halftime felt like it was to limit the damage and abandon the possession game they looked for in the first half. With the defense not being challenged as much in the first half, this allowed for Taylor Peay, subbed on for Alvas Powell at right back, and Michael Harrington to get forward and join the attack.

60' - 3rd Goal: Portland continued their dominating half, but the passing in the final third still lacked the quality needed to score the third goal of the game. Portland finally hit a quality final ball after Urruti played Taylor Peay behind the defense and his shot beat the keeper.

3rd Goal - Final Whistle: After the third goal, Portland just kept on attacking and Orlando just kept praying the game clock would speed up. Even the substitutes kept the energy and attacking going as they wanted to prove to Caleb Porter that they deserve a look and some playing time during league play. Orlando's best chances of the night all came on free kicks and a couple of bad giveaways from the backline. Other than those few chances, Portland dominated the match and when the game ended, they unofficially had had 25 shots and 14 corners.

Observations:

  • For those who watched the game streaming live, you were treated to some great play by play which included the word "Sexius", which as it turns out is a Orlando player's name, who knew?

  • Great to see Rodney Wallace out there and on the ball again. I love how he tracks back defensively but still can join the attack.

  • Powell looked decent and looked like he has improved. Peay looked good at RB too but the level of competition probably had a lot to do with both.

  • Loved Peay's celebration after his goal. He just stood in front of the TA and clapped his hands above his head in tribute and thanks.

  • The biggest cheer of the night (apart from the goals) was given to Rodney Wallace when he was subbed off in the 80th minute.
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