With Alvas Powell and George Fochive both recovering from injuries, the only Timbers players still with Sacramento over the last three matches were Jake Gleeson and Steven Evans. Gleeson started in goal against Orlando and West Brom, while Evans only started against Rangers. He was on the bench for the other two matches but did not get substituted in.
Gleeson played very well in what was the Republic's most important match this season against undefeated Orlando city. His 4 saves helped him to become the first goalkeeper this season to post a shutout against the Lions and just the 4th to earn a point off them.
His best save of the night came early in the second half, a time when Sacramento has traditionally been susceptible to conceding goals.
Adama Mbengue's header seemed destined for the back of the net. It was uncontested and well struck, down and across the goal. Gleeson was able to make a fantastic reaction save and pawed the ball up and away from the net with just his right hand. The New Zealand international preserved the shutout, his third of the season, and helped to earn a draw against a very good Orlando team
Gleeson played well against West Brom as well, aside from an early penalty kick. Center back Nemanja Vukovic conceded the penalty when he fouled Victor Anichebe in the box. Graham Dorrans stepped up for the visitors and slotted home the penalty, sending Gleeson the wrong direction.
Aside from the penalty kick he put in a good performance, although not Man of the Match quality like against Orlando. He made 4 saves against the Baggies and did not concede any goals from the run of play.
Steven Evans did not appear in either of the matches that Gleeson did, ending up as an unused substitute in both the Orlando and West Brom matches. However, he was in the starting XI against Rangers on the 19th, playing center back.
Like George Fochive before him, Evans proved to be adept at filling in for Sacramento at different spots when needed. Against Rangers alone he played center back and right back in addition to his usual spot in central midfield.
He played fairly well at center back during the first half. He was calmer on the ball than his partner Harrison Delbridge for the most part and was able to help retain possession of the ball with calm passing out of the back. In the second half he moved to right back and again played well for an unfamiliar position, although he was not as comfortable as either Powell or Fochive.
It was not until the final 30 or so minutes that Evans returned to his usual spot in central midfield. While he played well, keeping the ball and making accurate passes, he was not really able to make a difference in his natural spot.
Sacramento would go on to lose to Rangers 2-1 after a goal in the 91st minute.
The Republic's next match is a second friendly against West Brom on Friday the 25th. It is likely that Evans will be in the starting XI for that match, since there is a league game just two days later against Pittsburgh and Preki will want to save the starters for the match that is worth points.
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