The Timbers opted for a 3-5-2 for this match, once again choosing to go heavy on defenders and defensive midfielders. After starting on the bench in Wednesday’s match, Dos Diegos made the start against Minnesota as well as Steve Clark. Sebastian Blanco was also not available for tonight’s match.
Things did not start great for Portland. Just two minutes into the match, Reynoso played a perfect through ball to Franco Fragapane, who dumped it off to Adrien Hunou. Hunou put it right past Steve Clark to give the Loons an early 1-0 lead.
Minnesota remained aggressive in the final third, finding several opportunities in the box early. Portland was eventually able to shore up a little more defensively, but once again, the Timbers had been caught off guard to start the match.
After that early flub, however, Portland started to play stronger. The Timbers found most of their success in transition, quickly counterattacking after stymieing Minnesota’s offense. While the results didn’t always show, the process was sound from Portland.
As the half progressed, more and more opportunities presented themselves in the attacking third, culminating in a few real scoring chances for Diego Valeri in particular. But unfortunately for Portland, no goals would come of it, as the Loons led 1-0 after the first 45 minutes.
The Timbers came out hotter than the weather in Portland on Saturday (well, maybe not that hot). They wasted no time bum-rushing Minnesota in the attacking third, launching shot after shot and putting the pressure on United. It was a stark contrast from the slow start the Timbers got off to in the first half.
As the half progressed, both teams started to generate chances for themselves. The Timbers continued to attack hard and fast while the Loons were methodical in their approach, playing cheeky passes through the middle of the defense. If Steve Clark hadn’t been there to make some key stops, it could’ve easily been 2-0 or 3-0 Minnesota.
The Timbers continued to get chances, but the quality of each shot varied. During the middle of the half, Portland really struggled to put together quality looks, but as we reached the end of the half, the Timbers finally started to get shots on target. Dairon Asprilla’s insertion into the game brought some more life to Portland’s offense while Claudio Bravo remained an energetic force on both ends.
But it was not meant to be this time. The Timbers would fall 1-0 to Minnesota.
Next up, the Timbers will have a midweek match against Austin FC. They’ll play on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Pacific.