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Preseason Postgame: Portland Timbers 2014 First Impressions

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

After going down 1-0 thanks to a free kick headed home by ex-Timber Sal Zizzo, the Timbers were able to pull back a goal in a tenacious performance against 2013 league champions Sporting Kansas City, eventually getting the tying goal from rookie striker Schillo Tshuma.

So, what were our first impressions of the team? Who impressed and who fell short of our expectations? Check out our picks below:

Who Impressed

Gaston Fernandez

Will: "Fernandez looked like every bit the agile, wily player that we all hoped that the Timbers had acquired. Although he was not able to put away any of his chances on the day, he still managed to change the game for the Timbers when he blew by Aurelien Collin and was pulled down by the SKC defender, drawing Collin's second yellow and putting the Timbers a man up for the next 60 minutes."

Taylor Peay

Ryan: "For a team that doesn't have any depth at left back Peay came in and showed promise. He seemed to have positional awareness and the ability to play in a possession oriented attack. He combined well with Tshuma on the left and in general looked comfortable out there. Of course this was against other rookies and second string MLS players. We all remember going undefeated in 2011 and most of 2012's preseason."

Schillo Tshuma

Stacey: "It sounds like the Timbers are already pretty excited about their first-round draft pick and if last night is any indication, they're right to be. In addition to the goal, which would have made for an impressive debut all on its own, Tshuma made some smart runs and played at least one pretty good through-ball that unfortunately got too far ahead of Piquionne, but might have been perfect for a teammate with younger legs."

Maximiliano Urruti

Michael: "I expect others will say Gaston Fernandez here but for me Urruti looked good. He's been impressive in the early training sessions and that confidence/momentum clearly showed on Saturday night. I don't know how often the Timbers will be aligned as they were against Kansas City but if Urruti continues to show well, he'll at least make Porter consider using two forwards more often."

Who Needs Improvement

Kalif Alhassan

Ryan: "The Timbers have added a lot of left sided players this offseason and that is exactly where Kalif played when he started. He has two other positions, CAM and RM, at which he will not see any playing time unless injuries have devastated the roster. Kalif looked like he was trying too hard out there and forced a lot of passes of instead of keeping possession. This may be the year when we stop saying Kalif has potential."

Michael Nanchoff

Stacey: "Sharing the field with a bunch of draft picks, I sort of expected Nanchoff to look the the veteran in the midfield. Overall, he wasn't bad, but he often drifted out of position into Tshuma's side of the field instead of staying in the middle and was less impactful than some of the players with a lot less experience. Not unlike the rookies he was playing with, Nanchoff still has plenty to prove."

Norberto Paparatto

Michael: "Likely more rust than anything else but I didn't love Paparatto's debut. His passing, which many think is a strength, was not amazing against Sporting. But by no means is one half of the first preseason game an indictment."

Who were your top performers against SKC? Who do you want to see more from? Let us know in the comments.