The Portland Timbers beat the Chicago Fire 2-0 over the course of 120 minutes of play today in the Timbers' final preseason game before returning to Portland. Franck Songo'o continued his impressive preseason form, assisting on goals by Eric Alexander and Jorge Perlaza.
In the first half, the Timbers fielded what looked like a reserve side backstopped by Troy Perkins. The Timbers intially faced a strong starting line up from the Fire full of their starters from last season. The first half of the game was a lively affair that saw both sides find chances but come up short. Troy Perkins was heroic in goal, stopping several Fire shots and break aways. The Timbers did not have the same quality of chances during the run of play, but did have a could of close shots from distance and off of corners.
The second half saw both teams make sweeping changes with the Timbers bringing on their, presumed, starting field players and giving trialist Joe Bendick a look in goal while the Fire brought on a number of reserves and trialists. Immediately the Timbers showed their quality as Franck Songo'o squared the ball to Eric Alexander inside the box who then fired home from eight yards out. The Timbers continued to press the Fire and, late in the game, found a second goal. Songo'o again dribbled into the box and squared to Jorge Perlaza this time who finished from close range. The Fire were able to find several close chances in this half as well, finding the woodwork twice, but were unable to score.
The Timbers spent the entirety of the game in John Spencer's (and Kris Boyd's) preferred 4-4-2 formation. Of note, in the second half of the match, Darlington Nagbe lined up as a second striker behind Perlaza. From the audio it did not seem that he was very involved up top, although he was called off sides several times. Charles Renken also saw his first time on the pitch today as he was subbed on for Miguel Ibarra during the first sixty minutes of play before being removed for the second full line-up.
Line-up (1st Half): Perkins, Kawulok, Mosquera, Jean-Baptiste, Chabala, Ibarra (Renken), Marcelin, Braun, Alhassan, Richards, Dike
Line-up (2nd Half): Bendik, Purdy, Brunner, Danso, Wallace, Songo'o, Jewsbury, Chara, Alexander, Nagbe, Perlaza (Rincon)
Update (Andrew Wheeler): It should be noted that Chicago rolled out what looked quite like a starting lineup for the first 60 minutes to do battle with a Portland side made up mostly of trialists and last year's reserves. In the second half, the team that looks like the Timbers' first team then worked against Chicago's reserves. While the Timbers deserve credit for keeping the ball out of the net (much credit goes to Perkins, as William noted), the first half was predictably dominated by Chicago. Portland then dominated the second half.
I added this note mostly as yet another reminder why preseason matches should not be taken too seriously.