The Portland Timbers struggled with Minnesota United in the first half of tonight’s preseason match, going down 2-0 to the visitors before storming back in the second half to salvage a 2-2 draw.
Things started out looking promising for the Timbers in the first half thanks to a series of speedy attacks down the left flank through youngsters Victor Arboleda, 19, and Marco Farfan, 18.
In the flurry of early-game chances that the Timbers created, the closest came in the 5th minute as Arboleda slipped a ball through the United box to Dairon Asprilla at the back post, only for the sprawl of keeper John Alvbage to block away his first time attempt.
As the Timbers pressed forward in the attack, however, the opened themselves up to the counter and in the 25th minute United struck. With the Timbers committed down the pitch, Minnesota broke out and got the ball to Kevin Molina wide on the Timbers’ left. With the ball on his foot, Molina broke into the Timbers’ box and fired off a shot that keeper Jeff Attinella was able to put a hand to for the save only to see the rebound fall to the head of United striker Johan Venegas, who out-jumped Chance Myers and nodded the ball home.
Venegas would strike again in the 32nd minute and again the chance would come down the Timbers’ left as Bashkim Kadrii flicked the ball into space for the run of Venegas, coming off the wing. One on one with the keeper, Venegas slipped a low shot through the legs of the onrushing Attinella to make the score 2-0.
The Timbers would answer back early in the second half, cutting United’s lead in half in the 51st minute. After a move in the midfield, Jack McInerney got on the ball in space outside the United box and unloaded a knuckling shot that forced Alvbage to punch the ball away. With the defense spinning, McInerney was able to bring the ball down on his chest and burst into the box, pushing past a defender before hitting a low-angle shot that the keeper could only swipe at as it hit the back of the net, bringing the Timbers back within a goal.
Once the Timbers made wholesale changes to their lineup in the 59th minute, the chances began to come in earnest as they kept the pressure on Minnesota.
The tying goal would finally come in the 85th minute as Sebastian Blanco played Alvas Powell to the end line on the right flank. With Fanendo Adi crashing the goal, Powell played a low cross to the back foot of the big striker and Adi was able to get a back heel flick on the ball with his back to the net, sending the ball past Alvbage for the tying goal.
The Timbers wrap up the Rose City Invitational on Wednesday with a match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.