The Portland Timbers drew the Seattle Sounders 0-0 in its final MLS preseason game in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday night. The scoreless draw came over three 30-minute periods in front of 1172 at the Kino Sports Complex. Reversing Wednesday's line-up, the Timbers sent out its 'starting group' for the first two thirty-minute periods but could not score. Gaston Fernandez had Portland's best looks in the first hour but in the end neither side found the back of the net over ninety minutes.
Obafemi Martins had the best early look after DeAndre Yedlin beat left back Michael Harrington but the Nigerian forward's header was just wide left in the 11th minute. Afterward, and for the remainder of the first period, the Timbers controlled possession and chances with Darlington Nagbe and Fernandez providing the best opportunities. Jack Jewsbury, who spent the first half hour at right back, before moving to left back for the second stanza, had a particularly good hour, calmly defending and adding precision passing when necessary.
Though they possessed the ball well with attacking players, Norberto Paparatto and the defense tended toward longer balls out of the back. Those were less less likely to connect, though when the defenders did pass the ball through the middle of the park, Will Johnson and Diego Chara did a nice job of building attack and finding Nagbe and Kalif Alhassan, especially in the first half hour.
Alhassan and Harrington came off after thirty minutes as Schillo Tshuma and Alvas Powell entered the game wide right in attacking and defensive roles, respectively. Powell provided a great cross in the 43rd minute but Fernandez could only head directly to Marcus Hahnemann. Late in the second period, Nagbe moved to the middle and Fernandez to the left as Caleb Porter gave his best attackers a chance to feel out slightly different areas of the field. Maximiliano Urruti, who was so effective in the first two preseason games, was not ineffective but had far less of an impact on the game against Seattle.
Powell again provided good service into the box just before the end of the second period, but Fernadez's flick and Nagbe's shot could only provide a corner for the Timbers. Shortly thereafter, the two teams trudged off for a second intermission, leading to the introduction of nine new Portland players.
The third stanza saw Powell and Tshuma remain on the field with a whole cast of new players around them. Powell was again useful going forward but struggled to keep his defensive responsibilities late in the game. Meanwhile, Taylor Peay had the best chance of the third period when he headed a Michael Nanchoff free kick on frame in the 71st minute, though Hahnemann was again on the scene to keep the game scoreless.
Ben Zemanski was forced off the field early after taking a knock mid-way through the third period, giving Aaron Long another chance to prove his value to Porter and the coaching staff. Portland's third stanza highlight was Frederic Piquionnne nearly scoring in the 90th minute after Hahnemann misread a ball over the top, but Jalil Anibaba cleared off the line and the Timbers were held scoreless for the first time this preseason.
Obviously, without scoring a goal, the performance was the least noteworthy of the preseason, but the Timbers did put together nice strings of passes and created a few good looks, especially in the first hour. Next up for Portland is one more game in Tucson, this time against NASL debutants Indy Eleven on Wednesday February 12. The Timbers will return to the Rose City shortly thereafter and begin preparations for the Rose City Invitational, which begins on February 23 at Jeld-Wen Field.