The first match of 2021 for the Portland Timbers has officially come and gone, and it was ... interesting. It was interesting because the result felt like the kind of thing you would see from last year’s squad: Portland played well, couldn’t capitalize during some key moments, let their opponent — this time CD Marathon — back into the game at inopportune times, but still ended up with a pretty decent result. A very 2020 Timbers game.
As noted earlier, though, a 2-2 draw isn’t too bad, all things considered. Coming back to Portland with two away goals after playing on a field with less-than-ideal conditions? All in all, that’s actually not half bad. The Timbers’ head coach, Giovanni Savarese, felt the same way, noting it was a pretty strong performance for this game. But he still left with the feeling that they should be leaving Honduras with a win.
“Nevertheless, we felt that we could have found a win,” Savarese said. “We felt that we did many good things, and we approached the game in a very smart and mature way, and unfortunately, we were not able to get the win we were looking for, but overall a great game for our guys.”
It was an overall solid performance from Portland. They started to tire in the second half, but in the first half they completely dominated Marathon. They outpossessed them 60–40, got off nine shots to their three, and probably should’ve been up by two as opposed to tied at one after the first. Felipe Mora — who scored the first goal of the year for Portland — said as much himself, lauding his team’s performance and looking forward to a return home.
“We did good, solid performance,” Mora said. “We weren’t able to score more on them, but we did a good job, and we’re very strong as a home team.”
Savarese agreed, saying the Timbers did what was asked of them and did it well.
“The players executed everything that we worked on in order to prepare for this match,” Savarese said. “We wanted to open them in the first few minutes of the game, and we did that. We were able to get in behind them, we were able to stretch them out, and then we found the moments to keep the ball.”
There were a other big takeaways from this game. Eryk Williamson in the first half of the match showed that he was every bit deserving of the contract extension he signed this offseason, absolutely flying everywhere on the field. Josecarlos Van Rankin got his first assist with the Timbers and was also just everywhere on the field. Even Diego Valeri showed that he’s still got it at 35, which hopefully no one was questioning. But if anyone was, that goal in the 59th minute (which should belong to him, not count as an own goal!) showed he’s still got something in the tank.
All of this happened, once again, with less-than-ideal conditions on the road. They also did this without Sebastian Blanco and Jeremy Ebobisse, something that should make Timbers fans even more excited. All of these things are good, but the Timbers aren’t fully pleased yet. They’re looking for a win next week when these two teams face off again.
“In the end, a couple moments that looked favorable, but we’re not satisfied,” Savarese said. “We wanted to get a win, and we’re going to continue to prepare for the match now that we’re going to play in Portland.”