Our last friendly game in Arizona was yet another draw yesterday against Sporting Kansas City. Again, as I've hinted at earlier, while drawing is nice is still worries me that players will get into a comfortable rut of "not losing." Regardless, yesterday seemed like one of our best games yet.
The Portland Timbers started in the first half with a 4-3-3 position: GK Perkins, D Purdy (Zizzo, 46), D Brunner, D Danso, D Wallace, M Hall, M Lowry (Moffat, 46), M Marcelin (McManus, 69), M Nagbe, F Cooper (Johnson, 69), F Umony (Perlaza, 69).
Sporting Kansas City came out hard and fast having a number of opportunities early in the game.
"[Sporting Kansas City] came out very powerful with a lot of pace – very aggressive – and I don’t think we were ready for that in the first half," Timbers head coach John Spencer said. "We made a couple adjustments in the second half, and I felt we started to match them on the physical side of the game.
The second half seemed a bit more evenly matched as Spencer adapted the team to hold back SKC's streaking wingers. Brian Umony, who impresses me more each time I read about him, almost scored a goal in the 60th minute but hit the woodwork instead. Jorge Perlaza had a chance as well in the 84th minute.
Now, care of Andy Edwards over at The Daily Wiz (SB Nation's Sporting Kansas City blog), I've been given a transcript of Peter Vermes post-game comments on the Timbers and how he feels like they fared against us:
Portland, obviously, is in the stages of building their team.They're a pretty interesting group; they've got quite a few MLS players already on [the team].
I'd have to say they were pretty organized and compact. Even the scoreline doesn't show it, I think that it was probably one of the better games we've played so far in preseason, from a number of perspectives. I thought the way we built out of the back to attack them on different flanks, guys were pretty dangerous.
As the game progressed, though, probably around the 70-minute mark, we started to die a little bit, and that was kind of expected. We're trying to push the majority of guys to 90 minutes. Some are between 75 and 90 minutes, knowing full well that we're trying to strive to get to 90 minutes. The intensity level that we want to be at, we're just not there yet, and we're pushing some guys beyond their limits.
I would say throughout the game, we had the better of the play and controlled the tempo pretty well.
Interesting stuff. Sporting Kansas City will be a team people are expecting to make a huge impact in 2011 so anything their coach says about us should be noted.
From here Portland heads back home to train. They will then head up to Seattle to partake in the Cascadia Summit March 4th-6th against the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps.