The Portland Timbers will face off against Croatian side NK Istra 1961 today in their second preseason match of 2017, but the match will not be available for viewing to the general public.
Of course, having a closed second match is not a surprise; the Timbers regularly hold closed scrimmages and matches during the preseason. Talking to the media during a conference call on Monday, Caleb Porter clarified that the match was closer to a training session and that it was still early going for the Timbers, whose preseason plans were accelerated this season in anticipation of entering the CONCACAF Champions League knockout rounds.
Still, Porter did give some insight as to what the Timbers will look to do in this morning’s match.
The Timbers, Porter said, will play two groups for 45 minutes each, rather than the three groups for 30 that they featured in their first preseason match. Additionally, Fanendo Adi, Liam Ridgewell, and David Guzman should all make their 2017 debuts. It seems likely that Adi and Guzman will each play a full 45’, while Ridgewell will only play 30’, according to Porter.
Knowing that those three players will hit the pitch, the Timbers should see something closer to their projected lineup for 2017, although still missing Darlington Nagbe while he is away on international duty and now short a center back due to the injury suffered by Gbenga Arokoyo in training yesterday.
We do know who will fill Arokoyo’s spot on the back line for the time being, as Porter confirmed that Rennico Clarke will need to step up for today’s match during yesterday’s conference call.
The wings remain largely a mystery for the Timbers as they wait on the return of Nagbe and the signing of their long sought after new designated player. In this match, however, we will see Darren Mattocks on the left, according to Porter, leaving the right flank to be filled by a player like Dairon Asprilla, Jack Barmby, or Victor Arboleda.
Watch it on: No stream for this one. Check Jamie Goldberg’s Twitter feed for on-the-ground updates. Due to some unfortunate circumstances Stumptown Footy is not able to have anyone at this match.
When: Tuesday, January 10:00 a.m. PT
Where: Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, AZ