The Portland Timbers 2 begin their inaugural USL campaign at home Sunday evening vs Real Monarchs SLC. This will be the second match for the Monarchs and the first ever match for the newly created T2 side.
Portland Timbers 2
T2 emerge from their preseason undefeated with a perfect 5-0-0 record in the scrimmages they played. Their first scrimmage was against the Vancouver Whitecaps (the first team, not Whitecaps 2) and secured a win in their very first match as a team. They followed that up with three shutout wins against Gonzaga University, Oregon State University, and University of Washington. T2 finished their preseason schedule with a 4-1 win against University of Portland last Sunday evening.
The player to watch from all of this is Fatawu Safiu. Recently signed on Thursday, Fatawu comes into this match having scored or assisted in each of the 5 preseason matches. Along with Fatawu Safiu, previous first team homegrown players Brent Richards and Steven Evans are on the team. Richards is currently injured but Evans should make the starting XI on the field of his alma mater.
With 3 shutouts, the main keeper over those matches was new T2 signing Justin Luthy. If Gleeson is healthy, expect him to start, but when Gleeson isn't ready to go Luthy should be the go to keeper.
On Thursday, T2 announced 8 additional signings bringing the team to their desired roster size of 14 T2 players. With a minimum of 4 players being loaned down from the first team at any time, there should always be a gameday 18 ready to go. We should expect to see at least Andy Thoma and Anthony Manning to be in the T2 team this weekend and both most likely in the starting XI.
Real Monarchs SLC
The Monarchs (0-0-1, 1pt) enter Sunday's match following a season-opening, scoreless draw against LA Galaxy II at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif. The draw with LA Galaxy II saw the Monarchs first point in club history. On loan from parent club Real Salt Lake, goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez provided the Monarchs with their first clean sheet, saving four shots from LA Galaxy II.
The lineup from their match on the 22nd in Carson:
Real Monarchs SLC (4-3-3): Lalo Fernandez; Boyd Okwuonu, Aaron Maund, Phanuel Kavita, Riley McGovern; John Stertzer, Fito Ovalle (Lennon Celestino - 81'), Lucas Baldin; Eti Tavares (Coco Navarro - 82'), Sebastian Saucedo (Jose Hernandez - 87'), Ricardo Velazco.
Watch it on: Streamed live on Timbers.com/T2
Kickoff: 6:00 pm Pacific at Merlo Field in Portland, Oregon
Portland Timbers 2: 0-0-0, 0pts
Real Monarchs SLC: 0-0-1, 1pt
Tickets for this match are still available and can be purchased here or at the gate. Following Sunday evening's inaugural match, T2 will play host to defending USL champions Sacramento Republic FC on Thursday, April 2nd, at Merlo Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm Pacific.