Facing off against FC Dallas today, the Portland Timbers were clearly the side still shaking off the rust of the offseason as they fell 2-1 to the Hoops. After a first half brace from former Timber Maximiliano Urruti, new arrival Samuel Armenteros scored in his debut* for the side after coming on as a second half substitute.
The Timbers started the match with most of their first-choice starters on the field, missing only Diego Chara who made the bench for the first time since breaking his foot last year. Facing off against a Dallas side that are only a week away from making their CONCACAF Champions League debut, the Timbers immediately put their Western Conference foes under high pressure.
Despite their strong start, the first save of the match came from the Timbers as Urruti let rip with a long-range attempt in the 14th minute. Urruti’s shot looked destined to sneak in under the bar until Jeff Attinella swatted the ball away.
The shot galvanized Dallas and just two minutes later, the Hoops pounced on a moment of weakness from the Timbers back line and opened the scoring. As the Timbers looked to play the ball out of the back following a goal kick, Dallas put the back line under pressure and it was Urruti who popped up to dispossess Liam Ridgewell deep in the Timbers’ end. As the Timbers’ defense scrambled to recover, Urruti dribbled toward goal before roofing a point blank shot past Attinella for the goal.
As the Timbers looked to get back into the match, it was clear that some rust from the offseason remained with missed passes and rough touches interrupting the side’s regular breaks down the pitch.
The more precise play from Dallas payed off in the 37th minute as they worked the ball down the pitch following a handful of Timbers chances. Speedster Michael Barrios squared up with Timbers homegrown Marco Farfan out wide before breaking to the end line and cutting a ball toward the center of the box and into the path of Urruti. Crashing the net, the former Timber put a cheeky flick on the ball, knocking it past Attinella and giving Dallas the 2-0 lead.
Coming out of the locker room at the half, the Timbers brought on Vytas for Farfan and Cristhian Paredes for David Guzman; Dallas brought on their reserves.
The Dallas reserves came close to making their mark in just the 51st minute when Tesho Akindele was played in on goal. From a tight angle, Akindele clipped in a shot that had the Timbers keeper beat but only pinged off the post and out for a goal kick.
The Timbers nearly pulled one back in the 58th minute as Diego Valeri played Sebastian Blanco into the box. With only a sliver of net in front of him, Blanco slipped a tantalizing ball toward the back post, looking to pick out the run of Fanendo Adi. His ball split the difference, rolling just wide of goal, but just out of reach for Adi to tap home.
The Timbers would not be held scoreless, however, and in the 71st minute new arrival Samuel Armenteros pulled the side back within one. On the break down the pitch, Diego Valeri found Adi and Armenteros — brought on to give the team a new look and a new 4-4-2 diamond formation — on the run and picked out the new guy. Armenteros took a touch toward goal and hit a side-footed shot that skipped cleanly past Dallas keeper Jimmy Maurer to improve the scoreline to 2-1.
Although they would keep pressure on Dallas for the remainder of the match, the Timbers were unable to find their second.
The Timbers continue their preseason on Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls.
*Does a closed friendly with the reserves count? Nah.