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Portland Timbers Can’t Shake Off Rust in Preseason Opener

Portland opens their preseason with a 2-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls

MLS: Portland Timbers vs  New York Red Bulls Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The first preseason match for the Timbers is in the books. And it was about as rough as you would expect with a lot of rust to shake off for everyone. Offside, sloppy passing, own goals, penalties; it had it all. Caveat to this recap: It is preseason, so all of this is pretty much expected. Can’t expect everything to work out after having trained for just two days.

In the first of three 30 minute periods, New York had Portland on the ropes for the first five plus minutes and were able to get an own goal off the Portland defense during one of the many periods where they held the ball in the Timber’s half. Lots of New York possession with few opportunities for Portland to get attacks in was a theme for the evening.

Gbenga Arokoyo tried to pass the ball out of the back but New York intercepted and continued to press forward. They sent a cross in and it deflected off Rennico Clarke’s chest and into the net for the first goal.

After the own goal Portland continued to struggle getting into the attack for most of the 30 minutes.They had a good minute or so of possession that culminated with their best chance, a 25th minute Zemanski strike, but New York blocked the shot with a last ditch tackle from Collin.

The second 30 minute period saw mostly T2 guys take the field. For the first few minutes they continued to struggle to get or keep the ball for long periods of time, rarely venturing into the attacking third. After a significant injury delay the Timbers began to make it more of a game as they increased time spent in the opponent’s half. Despite the improvement upon where they played with the ball, there was no improvement in the scoreline. New York got a penalty and converted the kick in extra time of the second period. Outside of the penalty, Kendall McIntosh was one of the better players of the period producing a hand full of impressive saves.

The third group for the final 30 minutes was mostly unsigned players and trialists with T2 players mixed in. New York continued to see the lion’s share of possession but the trialists did hold New York scoreless to have it end 2-0. In the end, Chara was the one bright spot in the first 30, McIntosh in the second 30, and no further goals were scored in the third 30. There is a lot of preseason left to work out the rust, build chemistry, and improve the team.